Tempest and Medea

1418 Words6 Pages
Moral Ambiguity Morality, a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do, is a foundation to one’s character. Passed down through different time eras, morals have adapted while ultimately containing the same basic function of judgment between right from wrong. Euripides’ Medea and Shakespeare’s The Tempest come from explicitly different time periods, yet a common theme of a dearth of morality is expressed in both stories. Medea ravaged by a desire of revenge on her ex-husband and Prospero who, “by foul play, as thou say’st, were we heav’d thence” (76), desired to seek revenge on those who ousted him from power nearly twelve years ago. Prospero using a tempest to shipwreck is previous offenders and plotting to sabotage them, and Medea plotting to kill Jason’s new female interest and her kids to avenge her husband’s mistreatment, are both using unjust acts to retaliate their offenders. Their actions, though enacted through anger, are a clear violation of basic moral reasoning, and are a driving theme between both works. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Euripides’ Medea the dearth of morality manifested in both main characters, is a prevalent theme similarly expressed through the author’s use of a sympathetic figure and the characters illusion of justice they strive for, yet is differentiated greatly by Medea and Prospero’s concluding acts upon their schemes for vengeance. Medea’s foremost introduction is the details of her husband, Jason’s, betrayal, “but now their love is all turned to hate …For Jason hath betrayed his own children and my mistress dear for the love of a royal bride” (17). A moral breach in marriage is the perfect beginning to a sympathetic figure, as Medea, “lies fasting, yielding her body to her grief, wasting away in tears” (17), Euripides keenly draws upon her devastation and grief towards
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