world lit readers responds 2
Directions: The reader’s response can be critical, analytical, interpretative, or speculative readings of the primary material. The length of each response should be at least 300 words, but you are encouraged to go the extra mile. The reader’s responses are not formal essays, but should address adequately and clearly the issues in question. They should include brief quotations and internal citations given in support of your comments. Your responses should serve as a good store of ideas for your term paper. You may pick any piece we have covered so far and discuss any aspect that is of interest to you. Please attach your reader’s response before you submit. The two sample papers below were written by students who took this course in the past, and they are posted here for demonstration purposes only.
You will write three (3) reader’s responses throughout the semester.
From Love to Hate in Relationships
“There’s a thin line between love and hate,” so went the Lyrics of a famous Motown song. This statement could not be proven any truer than in the story of Medea.
Love, as defined by Webster, is an intense attraction to another person based mainly on sexual desire. Along these same lines, hate is defined as an intense dislike or animosity. So, is it the intenseness that the two emotions share that causes a person to cross the thin line that caused Medea to cross the thin line?
The intense love Medea had for Jason is described as “her heart on fire with passionate Love for Jason,” by the Nurse in the opening of the story. Throughout the story the reader is given an idea of the intenseness of Medea’s love for Jason through details of the sacrifices she made for him. When Medea is rejected by Jason for another woman, the same intenseness that is described in her love for him is also described in her hate for him when she exclaims, “If I can find the means or devise any scheme to pay my husband back for what he has done to me. . . For in other ways a woman is full of fear, defenseless, dreads the sight of cold steel; but, when once she is wronged in the matter of love, no other soul can hold so many thoughts of blood.”
The intensity of her love caused her to manipulate, to lie, to deceive, to become exiled from her home, and to murder. The intensity of her hate caused her to manipulate, to lie, to deceive, to become exiled from her home, and to murder. So, was it the shared intensity of the two emotions that caused Medea to cross the thin line? The answer is no!
The human reaction, when faced with being hurt, is to fight or flight. The story opens with Medea leaning towards the choice of flight when she cries, “Ah wretch! Ah, lost in my sufferings, I wish, I wish I might die. I would find my release in death and leave hateful existence behind me.” The thought of giving up, to die, to flee the hurt, is apparent in several of her statements in the opening of the story. The choice to fight isn’t truly made until after her confrontation with Kreon. The sustained hurt Medea endures by Jason and Kreon becomes so strong that she feels her only defense is to fight, to right the wrongs against her. Thus, the line is crossed and hate takes over.
The rest of the story unfolds with Medea carrying out her fight plan and exacting her revenge. The intensity of her hate is shown to be just as strong as the intensity of her love. However, it’s not the intensity that causes her to cross the line from love to hate; it is the hurt.
The rules of love state that if you truly love someone you don’t hurt him. These rules are vowed one to the other upon the wedding day. These were the same vows that Jason made to Medea and the same vows that we make to each other today. The hurt brought on by breaking these rules and vows is the accelerant to the switch in emotion from love to hate, as best described in the story by the chorus’ statement, “It is a strange form of anger, difficult to cure when two friends turn upon each other in hatred.” The thin line that separates love and hate is hurt. It was true in the times of Medea, and it is still true today.
Medea: Unstable or Mentally Ill?
In Euripides’ Medea, some would argue that the princess of Colchis and wife of Jason was unstable or even mentally ill. I, on the other hand, totally disagree. I don’t believe Medea was justified in the things she did but I do believe that she was driven to do those things. There were several things that contributed to Medea’s outrage and madness. From helping rescue Jason and giving up her home and family, to just being a woman and never having as much as a man.
To begin, Medea put a lot into her relationship with Jason. After falling in love with him, she helped Jason take the Golden Fleece away from her own country. She gave up a lot just to be with him. Medea killed her own brother, killed Pelias at his own daughters’ hands, and betrayed her father and home when she left with Jason. All of these things she did for love and Jason shows his appreciation by taking a royal wife to his bed.
He then leaves Medea to be driven out of the land of Kreon. Her passion of love drives her to hurt even more people. Because of Jason, the same two kids she gave life are the same two kids she kills in the end.
I believe another reason for Medea’s insanity is the fact that she is going through this misery alone. At one point in the play, Medea finally realized what her life had become. She realizes she has no one to help her because she has hurt so many people. She questions Jason about where she should go. She can’t go to her father whom she betrayed. She can’t go to Pelias’ daughters whose father she killed. She also realizes that she even made enemies of others whom there was no need to have injured (705; line 495). Left without one friend in the world, Medea is driven by the need to get revenge.
Lastly, the play mentioned that women really didn’t have much power. There are several moments in the play where Medea compares men to women. She complains that men could seek outside companionship while women could have only one husband. Medea also states that she would rather fight in a war than bear one child (700; line 24). I also believe Medea has turned against men in general. She feels betrayed and used. Medea says that God should have maybe engraved a mark upon man’s bodies, so women could know the true ones from the false ones (706; line 505).
In the end, I believe Medea was a bitter woman driven insane by her husband’s infidelities. Medea had given so much in the beginning of her and Jason’s marriage that in the end there was nothing to lose. I absolutely loved Euripides’ Medea. It showed the roles of women through one woman’s eyes. It even makes me wonder whether or not more women felt the same way as Medea did back in those times.
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