was produced in the early spring of 431 BCE, just before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. It is a play of searing domestic violence in which a wife, abandoned by her husband for a marriage that promised social advancement, goes so far in her revenge as to kill not only her husband’s new bride and father-in-law, but also her husband’s children, who are also her own. The play came in third (i.e. last) in the competition, and it is often thought that the subject was too shocking for the judges. But that year the phenomenally successful Sophocles, who rarely came in second and must often have defeated Euripides, was beaten by Euphorion, Aeschylus’ son, so the competition was unusually stiff. And


was only one of four plays Euripides presented at this…

1888 words

Citation: Kovacs, David. "Medea". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2009 [, accessed 23 June 2024.]

13370 Medea 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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