Medea and Job


1. Madea is a woman, but Euripides has presented her as a figure previously thought of as exclusively male–a hero. Analyze her character in the play with that of Achilles, and conclude with a judgement on whether or not you think Medea is a hero and why.

Like Achilles, Madea has supernatural ancestry and supernatural ability. They are both able to call upon their supernatural ancestry and supernatural abilities in the pursuit of preserving their own honor and defeating those they perceive as their enemies. I do think Medea is a hero because, after being the subject of the work she is victorious, even though she has experienced significant loss. I wouldn’t say she is noble or righteous in her actions. By our standards even the sense of revenge that fuels her murderous rage is sinful, but she states that things have been tragically unfair for her and she is going to do something about it, and she does. So that’s whats up in terms of how we are discussing heros in this class.

2. Job (in chapter 31) makes the claim that his life has been virtuous and devoted to the worship of God, and so he does not deserve the calamities that have fallen on him. He asks God for an answer, but the voice from the whirlwind does not deal with his question at all. Why does Job accept God’s assertion of divine power (42) and not press for an answer to his question? Why is he satisfied with what he is given? Do you find the end of the dialogue satisfactory?

I do not find the end of the dialogue between God and Job satisfactory at all, but that is because of my perspective on the whole matter which is a perspective trained to be in constant question and struggle with biblical issues and with what the Old Testament offers us. I do not find it satisfactory because God did not answer Job’s question truthfully, although he did answer the question indirectly by basically daring Job to continue to question God’s authority. Job accepts God’s assertion because of the powerful nature of it, a surely overwhelming encounter with the divine essentially saying, “there is so much you don’t know why in the world do you think you deserve to know this?”. I think Job, as a man who had faith before proof, hears what is being said and decides to step back into his place as a reverent servant. Pressing God for a better answer would be disrespectful, even more so than struggling with his plight before the encounter.

One thought on “Medea and Job

  1. jwmaring

    I go along with what you had to say about Madea being heroic because she was victorious in her actions. I think what underlies all of these Greek tragedies if you will is that there is seldom a happy ending. Achilles essentially knows from his mother that he is destined to die soon once he picks up arms against his enemies again. And how could anyone want to be in Madea’s shoes after what she felt forced into doing? I would say both of these characters have a couple things in common: they proved to be victorious in their battles, yet both are in my opinion are undoubtedly “broken” as a result of their experiences and triumphs. They are both winners as well as losers when you take into account the circumstances of their respective situations.

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