Ms. Gokturk


Study Questions for Medea


Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper using specific evidence from the play to support your response.


Episode 1

  1. Describe Medea’s initial state of mind at the very beginning of the play.
  2. Why does Creon fear Medea?
  3. Why is Creon no match for Medea?
  4. What method of murder does she decide to use and why?


Episode 2

  1. Compare/contrast the emotional level of Medea and Jason throughout the episode.
  2. Jason refuses to accept any blame for Medea’s exile. Instead he puts blame explicitly on Medea and implicitly on Creon. Explain.
  3. How else does Jason rationalize to maintain a sense of guiltlessness?


Episode 3

  1. Who is Aegeus and what is his relationship to Medea?
  2. What is the purpose of his visit to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi?
  3. What is the attitude of Aegeus towards Jason’s treatment of Medea?
  4. What condition does Aegeus put on Medea for granting her asylum and why?
  5. Why do you think Medea makes Aegeus take an oath that he will never retract his promise to her of protection?
  6. After the departure of Aegeus, upon what new form of revenge does Medea decide? Why?
  7. What are her reasons for wanting to kill her children?


Episode 4

  1. Compare the behaviors of Medea and Jason at the beginning of this episode.
  2. Why does Medea begin to weep?
  3. What does her weeping demonstrate about her?
  4. What makes the reader feel a certain amount of pity for Jason in this episode?
  5. What is the purpose of Medea’s request that Jason persuade Creon to allow the children to remain in Corinth, in light of her decision to murder them?

Episode 5

  1. This episode, rather than the murder of the children in the exodus, is usually considered to be the climax of the play. Why?


At the end of the play, Medea appears both victorious and full of glory as she is seen above in the chariot drawn by winged dragons which the Sun, her grandfather, has given her. This miraculous deus ex machina conclusion was criticized by Aristotle in his Poetics: “Hence it is clear that the denouement also should arise from the plot itself and not depend upon a mechanical contrivance, as in Medea…” There are definitely aspects of this conclusion which are unsettling, but does this mean that Euripides boxed his tragic heroine into a situation from which he could find no believable solution? Analyze the denouement by answering the following questions with specifics from the play to support your response.


  1. Explain how Aristotle’s assessment of the conclusion of Medea may be correct?
  2. On a dramatic level, why does the deus ex machina ending seem unsatisfactory?
  3. Considering that Medea is a tragedy, why is the ending such a surprise?
  4. On the surface, Medea exits completely victorious Jason and her enemies. Beneath the surface, however, there are indications that Medea is not completely removed from the fate of the conventional tragic hero. Explain how she is a tragic hero.
  5. How should the play have ended? Create a more satisfying result.