In Euripides’ Medea, the main character of the same name is a controversial heroine. Medea takes whatever steps necessary to achieve what she believes is right and fair. She lived in a time when women were expected to sit in the shadows and take the hand that life dealt them without a blink of their eye. Medea took very radical steps to liberate herself and destroys the life of the man who ruined hers. She refused to accept the boundaries that a patriarchal society set upon her. Medea was a very wise and calculated woman who was brave enough to leave her homeland, along with everything she knew and loved, in order to follow her heart down the path of what she expected to be eternal happiness.
Medea, a princess and sorceress, was from a small island in the Black Sea called Colchis. She met her husband Jason when she used her powers to help him secure the Golden Fleece. It was during this time that she fell in love with him and decided to leave her family and home so that she could be with Jason. The fact that Medea was willing to leave all that she knew for Jason is very brave. Women in Medea’s time were normally given away to the men that they married. Medea, on the other hand, married Jason because she wanted to. That was a large risk for her to take and many women probably looked at it as a liberating and heroic act.
When Jason left Medea to marry Glauce, Medea was plagued with sadness and then with anger. The man she loved, the man that she gave up her life for, had betrayed her. In the patriarchal society that Medea lived in, it was not acceptable for a woman to protest any decision made by her husband. Medea went against all social standards and took revenge on Jason for the wrongs that he had committed. She was willing to take any chance and sacrifice even her most valued possessions. Medea knew that the best way to avenge the wrongs of Jason was to kill Glauce and the children. It was a huge sacrifice for Medea to kill the children that she loved, but she allowed herself to look past that love and only see her hate and contempt for Jason. Medea was willing to go against every rule that society set, so that her husband wouldn’t get away with leaving her for political reasons. Medea is once again a heroine.
If Medea were alive today, many people would not consider her a heroine. She found a way to satisfy her own needs, which were supposed to be secondary to her husband’s. Medea was a leader of women, and although the men may not have appreciated it, it was an act that was guaranteed to catch the attention of every oppressed woman alive at the time. Medea was a heroine ahead of her time.