A victim is a person who has suffered an injustice or someone who is the object of an attack. In Euripides’s play, as in most tragedies, disorder is brought and maintained by the actions and reactions of the major characters. This disorder is eventually stabilized with the play’s denouement. After instability, the perpetual nutrient of the tragedy, victims ultimately bringbalance and order in the play which prepares the order at the end of the tragedy.
The foremost disorder in the play which triggers the entire tragedy is Jason’s marriage with Glauce, princess of Corinth. As Jason was married to Medea, his decision broke the natural order of marriage by violating his promises. Indeed, Medea “invokes the promises he made” (v.20) in her despair, as Glauce “steppedinto [her] place” (v.440) in Jason’s heart, a place that was bound to be her own by the oaths of marriage. The shared happiness of the two lovers is shattered as well. Their former bliss turned into unabashed hatred from Medea and disdain from Jason. Insults continuously flow out of Medea’s mouth during their first confrontation (p.42), as she calls him “heart-rotten” (v.470), the “basest of men”(v.490) and a scoundrel (p.580). Meanwhile, Jason has no regard for Medea’s troubles, and declares it is “her own choice” (v.600) which brought her concerns. These diverging aggressive attitudes reflect the irrevocable fracture between Medea and Jason which symbolizes the tempestuous discord reigning between the two former lovers.
But despite her hostile and resolute assaults towards Jason,Medea’s feelings were extremely troubled by Jason’s decision. At the beginning of the play, she is said to be “prostrated” (v.20) and to not have “turned her face from the floor” (v.25). Her stance conveys her misery and the hopelessness of her situation, as opposed to the ending of the play, where she dominates Jason both physically and mentally as she escapes on her flying chariot. The languageshe uses is also elegiac and mournful. In her lamentations on her misfortune, she uses Os and exclamation marks after the first intervention of the chorus to communicate her mental trouble and despair, because she does not know what to do. This despair reveals Medea’s emotional and mental disorder provoked by Jason’s treason.
Motivated by revenge, Medea will however overcome her emotionalcrumble and take revenge against Jason without regard to consequences. This blind vendetta will have disastrous consequences for Corinth: made kingless, the balance of political power is disturbed. Furthermore, the royal lineage is in peril: Jason’s two sons and the princess have been killed. Male domination is endangered as well by Medea’s audacity: in the Greek patriarchal society, women had hardlyany rights or power: Medea says herself that “women are the unhappiest species” (v.230) to underline male domination. A woman committing a regicide and deceiving men was considered a dangerous threat to men’s authority. Medea therefore makes the balance of gender domination shift in favor of women after the political turmoil she has produced.
On the other hand, the disorder and unbalance in thegender order that Medea provoked a balance in power overall. Jason had offended her and made her miserable by marrying Glauce; Medea killed the ones Jason loved to make him suffer as well. The situation has therefore reached a state of balance, as the two contenders have both done harm to the other. Response to attacks is indeed the main factor of balance in Medea: the situation was indeedharmonious before Jason stirred it with his decision, and the resulting constant attacks and shifts of power are followed by replies from the victims and a return to a stable system. Medea, the victim of men’s offenses, responding revengefully to these attacks therefore brings a balance in power.
In parallel, Medea’s response to Jason’s treachery is also a sign of her determined, defiant...