Medea and Job

1.   From the beginning of the story Medea’s personality is in contrast to the personalities of other women. The nurse is depicted as a worrier, unable to alter the course of events which she finds herself in; Jason’s new bride has no say in the marriage, merely bowing to the wishes of Jason and her father Kreon. Media, on the other hand, is portrayed as strong willed, motivated, and tenacious. She does not lean on any man, or wait for fate to sway events to her benefit, but instead schemes and acts of her own accord. Kreon sees past the fact that she is a woman and fears her, understanding her capability for strategic thought and revenge. Jason, although he has seen Media act slyly before, does not recognize her as a threat. Media is similar to Achilles in that they are both driven by a fierce desire to revenge the honor stolen from them. They are also both driven by rage and have few friends. Their allies fear them, but would rather not chance making them an enemy.

I think that Media is meant to be a hero figure in this play. It is interesting, however that although Euripides wrote Media’s character as a hero, he attributed to her “man-like’ qualities. Media is hard, violent, analytical, and does not possess any traits that would be thought characteristic of women such as insight, empathy, and sensitivity. I think it was a big step for Euripides to write a character of this sort; Media, although a woman, is shown as powerful. I do wish, however, that Media had been given some more womanly characteristics. Euripides writes as if a woman must possess the attributes of men if she is to be seen as a hero.

2.   Once God begins speaking, it is made plain to Job how little knowledge he, as a man, possesses. God speaks of putting the winds in their places, of storing up snow and hail, and setting the foundations of the earth. Job had previously believed that he could predict the ways of God. He believed that evil only came upon the evil, while the righteous received only good things. When God speaks to Job, the man realizes how wrong he is attempting to cage God’s power. Job cannot even remove the woes from upon himself, much less create and order the world. For this reason he accepts God’s divine power. He realizes that a God able to order the universe must know better than he why the sorrows have come. Were Job to have pressed for an answer he would have shown himself as arrogant, thinking his plans more important than those of God.

We are not told that Job ever finds out even about the dialog between God and Satan. He may have never found out that by his actions he was proved faithful. I think that if a person does not believe in God then this ending is not at all satisfactory because it does not fully answer why men suffer. If a person believed in God, however, the answer given in this story would bring them relief; God’s plans are higher than their own, and although they may suffer, he will not leave them in their suffering.

 

5 thoughts on “Medea and Job

  1. jtodd

    I find that your observations about Medea being portrayed with masculine attributes to be very true. Even her maternal instincts were lacking. I think her character would have benefited from some more feminine attributes being added to her character.

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  2. hkreutter

    I agree that if a person does not believe in God then they won’t know why men suffer. But, I also believe that even if a person doesn’t believe in God they have got to know that some things are out of their hands. Even if they don’t believe in a higher power of some sort maybe they believe in fate or something that things just happen for a reason. I don’t think it necessarily means they have to believe in God. I like your thinking though. It’s very interesting.

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  3. Michaela

    I agree as well that Medea could have used feminine characteristics. I think the only cues that tell use she is womanly is because of her children and she is Jason’s wife. I really love your last sentence. I don’t think it could have been put any better. I like how you addressed both sides of beliefs.

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  4. sehoyos

    I enjoyed your perspective on Medea exhibiting masculine traits. I personally think she exhibits both qualities, which is why she had so much sway with the women and men in her life. However I can see where her passionate love for Jason could also be associated with warriors and she has keen intelligence like that of Odysseus, allowing her to manipulate the people around her.

    I almost thought the author, Euripides, gave the play misogynistic undertones. Here is a strong independent women, who was well liked and influential. But these women are dangerous. Wrong her and she turns into a madwoman who isn’t actually reasonable, even though she is supposedly really smart and clever. Despite her cleverness her only option is to kill her own children and gruesomely kill the king and queen, she really can’t logically think of an alternative to get revenge on Jason and the king.

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  5. swhoke

    I like others have commented also enjoyed your take on Medea’s masculine traits, however I think that although she is lacking maternal instincts, or they are subsided by rage, that rage is a strong form of emotion and from my own experiences I have found as in William Congreve’s The Mourning Bride (1697) Zara in Act III, Scene VIII, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned”, more commonly stated as “Hell hath no fury like a women scorned”.

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