Euripides: Medea

(1888 words)

Euripides’ Medea 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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Kovacs, David. "Medea". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2009
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Revenge Tragedy