Examining Medea And Lady Macbeth English Literature Essay

Medea by Euripides and Macbeth by William Shakespeare are dramas renowned for their portraiture of scaring female characters, Medea and Lady Macbeth. Such female characters are peculiarly controversial as they contradict the societal outlooks of adult females. Society invariably attempts to model adult females into soft, soft and compassionate existences. Due to such a stereotype whereby adult females are perceived as weak, Medea and Lady Macbeth are found to be quiet overly intriguing. Strong, fierce, angry and evil adult females were non heard of when such dramas were written. Consequently the inquiry frequently asked is, “ are Lady Macbeth and Medea believable characters? ” This affair of whether or non Lady Macbeth and Medea can be appreciated as believable by the audience is perfectly critical to the drama ‘s accomplishment ; if they were merely seen as immorality, so the drama ‘s would be regarded as melodramatic and therefore neglect to be literature of deepness and quality.

At the clip of Medea, adult females in the Grecian society were mistreated, disrespected, deprived from their rights and expected to stay by their hubbies every word ; to drive a adult male was “ non possible. ”[ 1 ]Until today there remains many among us who believe that adult females are inferior to work forces. For this ground, it is argued that Lady Macbeth and Medea are melodramatic characters.

To many it is inexplicable for adult females to be driven by such an extent of aspiration, love and treachery as to name upon immorality. I argue that Medea and Lady Macbeth are doubtless believable characters. Medea was harshly betrayed by hubby, her “ whole life ”[ 2 ]; the audience can understand this motivation for naming upon immoralities and wanting retaliation. Lady Macbeth adored hubby and was ambitious for him to be king ; the audience can associate to this emotion and can understand why she would travel to extreme lengths to help him.

Contentss Page

Page 3: Introduction

Page 4: How are Medea and Lady Macbeth presented?

Page 8: Why do they follow an evil tract?

Page 13: What is their engagement with immorality?

Page 15: Decision

Page 16: Bibliography


Euripides Medea and Shakespeare ‘s Lady Macbeth are characters of rather similar features – they are ferocious, evil, strong and capable adult females. On the other manus, they do hold their fluctuation and each adult female is portrayed otherwise. Medea and Lady Macbeth are both outstanding female characters of authoritative literature. Medea is the supporter of the Euripides drama Medea whilst Macbeth ‘s Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare ‘s most high and terrorizing female characters. There is a myth that lingers upon world that suggests that females are soft, lovingness, weak existences and because the word picture of Lady Macbeth and Medea are quite the contrary, it is problematic whether they are in fact believable characters. To be believable agencies to be credible, comprehendible and encompass human features such as strengths and failings. This allows the audience to sympathize with the characters and make a shared sense of humanity with them. It is argued that Medea and Lady Macbeth could perchance be melodramatic characters proposing that they are overdone, two dimensional and therefore evil strictly for the interest of immorality. Such an accusal undermines the quality of the dramas. Melodramatic plants offer may temporally thrill an audience nevertheless they offer small penetration to the human status and no lasting, intellectually hearty impact. But if we can understand how characters can make evil workss and how the effect of this impact, on them, so we are run intoing literature of deepness and quality. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the two dramas in order to turn out that Lady Macbeth and Medea are so believable characters.

How are Medea and Lady Macbeth presented?

The opening scene of the drama “ Medea ” by Euripides commences with Medea non on phase. A strong sense of expectancy is developed as Nurse and Tutor discuss Jason ‘s treachery of his married woman. The audience is so introduced to Medea ‘s desperation ; she is heard off phase deploring her state of affairs, “ If merely I were dead ”[ 3 ]. The usage of sound without visually looking on phase is all portion of stagecraft. This adds accent to Medea ‘s brokenhearted tone of voice and allows the audience to concentrate on her address. The audience is foremost introduced to Lady Macbeth much further in the drama. However likewise to Medea, her first words are directed to herself ; she is reading aloud Macbeth ‘s missive. She is excited, dying and happy.

Lady Macbeth and Medea profoundly love their hubbies and this sense of devotedness adds to their characters credibleness. Love is the nucleus component which helps construct their character. Lady Macbeth is wholly loyal to her hubby throughout the full drama. She is ambitious for Macbeth, traveling to great lengths in order to guarantee his rapid sequence to the throne and ne’er indicates a pursuit for personal glorification ; she is his “ dearest spouse of illustriousness. ”[ 4 ]In fact, it is her love for Macbeth which leads to her perpetrating immorality. At first she encourages Macbeth to transgress, she so plans out slayings for him before transporting out the slaying herself ; all for her hubby to be crowned king. Medea is besides perfectly faithful to her hubby Jason and besides assists him to be king in respects to the gaining control of the Golden Fleece. However despite such trueness, Jason betrays Medea for a royal bed and this is the minute where a different side to Medea ‘s character is unleashed and devastation commences. It was her love for her hubby which leads to perpetrating immorality ; she creates a strategy to slay her hubby ‘s kept woman before killing her ain kids.

Once both adult females are on the tract of immorality they begin to pull strings their hubbies with singular effectivity. When Lady Macbeth ‘s hubby hesitates to slay Duncan the male monarch of Scotland, she gives a chillingly distressing statement stressing her sense of finding and pride, she would hold “ dashed the encephalons out ”[ 5 ]of her ain babe instead than travel back on her word. She so attempts to sabotage his manhood by mentioning to him as a “ coward ”[ 6 ]in order to act upon his determination. Medea besides manipulates her hubby Jason. Medea engages in artifice as she pretends to sympathise with her hubby in order to convey him into her assurance, “ First I ‘ll direct a slave to Jason, inquiring him to come to me ; and so I ‘ll give him a soft talk. ”[ 7 ]Medea besides uses gifts to interrupt the ice between her and Jason ‘s new bride ; apparently the gifts are intended to convert that the kids stay in Corinth, but due to Medea ‘s manipulative ways, small do Jason, Glauce and her male parent know that the coronet and frock are in fact poisoned and will do decease to whoever touches them. Medea says to Jason, “ You were mistaken if you thought you could dishonor my bed and live a pleasant life and laugh at me. ”[ 8 ]It is clear that both adult females know how to carry their hubbies and have a immense sense of pride.

In add-on both Lady Macbeth and Medea are violent and at times they appear wholly given over to evil. The aggression of these female characters is peculiarly dramatic because it goes against predominating outlooks of how adult females ought to act. Womans are by and large tender human existences nevertheless Lady Macbeth and Medea represent vengefulness and finding ; general features of adult male. Our first feeling of Medea allows us to bond with her. When betrayed she is awfully devastated, shouting and walking in her place ; this is genuinely believable. As clip elapses our feeling of Medea alters as we bit by bit observe beds of her malignity shed to uncover a anguished human psyche. It is universally accepted that adult females are compassionate and soft hearted due to their motherly nature nevertheless Medea is spectacularly said to be rock and Fe as she is determined to kill her boies as they urgently cry. It is really hard to grok a female parent to hold killed her kids. Consequently Medea is portrayed as an evil individual. Although Medea ne’er felt guilty for the evil actions she committed, she did nevertheless waver somewhat before perpetrating infanticide, and “ I ca n’t make it ”[ 9 ]she cried. Medea looks to her sense of pride for strength, “ Are my enemies to laugh at me? aˆ¦I must steel myself ”[ 10 ], later she rapidly gets over such pother and returns with the violent deaths of her two boies. Witnessing Jason suffer brought Medea great satisfaction prevailed over her ain compunction at killing them, “ But my hurting ‘s a just monetary value, to take away your smiling ”[ 11 ]. Despite being informed of her yesteryear, it was non expected that Medea would kill her kids. This is the minute where the bond between Medea and the audience begins to stultify. Despite sing adversities and being emotionally torn, the audience can non look past the ferociousness of such a scene.

Lady Macbeth early in the drama of “ Macbeth ” by William Shakespeare appears to be stronger and more ruthless than her hubby as she appears to be in control of all evilness. This suggests that her sense of immorality is inevitable. However Lady Macbeth recognizes the demand to dissemble her muliebrity in order to happen aid for her programs. Evidence of such is how she yearns for her muliebrity to be taken off from her in order to kill King Duncan herself, “ unsex me ”[ 12 ]she cries. This statement is an extracted part from Lady Macbeth ‘s monologue whereby she calls on the dark liquors. This is a really powerful statement whereby Lady Macbeth acknowledges her muliebrity and it is recognized that Lady Macbeth lacks the complete capacity for immorality, in malice of being extremely driven towards ferociousness ; if one is genuinely evil there is no demand to be castrated. Such a powerful address besides high spots Lady Macbeth ‘s great degree of passion and the extraordinary lengths she would travel to guarantee Macbeth ‘s speedy sequence to King. Furthermore Lady Macbeth wants her female kernel to be replaced with toxicant, “ Come to my adult female ‘s chests and take my milk for saddle sore ”[ 13 ]. It is understood that she is familiar with faith as she realizes that she is contemplating a wickedness against God and accordingly wants to be hidden from “ heaven ” . Consequently, this opens room to observe that a cosmology which posits heaven above all besides allows for snake pit, for guilt, for penalty.

Why do they follow an evil tract?

Medea is human nevertheless she is besides related to the Gods and worships Queen Hecate. Obviously elements of phantasy propel her narrative but she appears before the audience as a adult female and must be understood as one. Medea ‘s love for Jason was all consuming. She was willing to make anything and everything for her beloved. Such passion is clearly apparent from Medea ‘s complete obeisance for her hubby ; she abides by his every word. As antecedently mentioned, all of the dramas events proceed from the initial quandary whereby a heartless hubby betrays his honorable married woman ; this is why Medea consequences to her evil ways. She feels shamed, trampled on and thankless as she had supported and did great trade for him. For illustration it was Medea who used her powers of black magic and influence in order to assist Jason procure the Golden Fleece and therefore crown him as King. Furthermore, she fled her place state and household to populate with her lover. Medea even murdered her ain brother for Jason. In add-on to such, whilst in Lolcus, Jason ‘s place town, Medea once more used her diabolic ways to pull strings the girls of the local male monarch and rival Pelias, into slaying their ain male parent. Medea ‘s workss were unselfish and self giving which is why Jason ‘s treachery drove her wild. Jason lacked the decency to merely halt for a minute before marrying his immature bride, to reminisce about all the great things Medea had done for him ; actions she took for his benefit alone and which he could ne’er refund her for.

Such a grade of infidelity obviously shreds Medea to pieces. The audience observes Medea ‘s character evolve before their very eyes. Such is understood through the employment of monologues which are an indispensable component of stagecraft. Soliloquies are addresss made to oneself which allow the audience to hear the interior ideas of a character. This permits the audience to be drawn into the character ‘s head and construct a bond between the character and the hearer. Soliloquies are of peculiar importance in Medea as it allows the audience to maintain up with Medea ‘s evolvement as a character. It is Medea ‘s ego directed addresss which allow the audience to understand her province of head and grok her ideas as clip elapses. Our first feeling of Medea is that she is perfectly overwrought and self-destructive, “ If merely I was dead ”[ 14 ]. This is an apprehensible and human response to such annihilating rejection. The audience can associate to being betrayed and can hence understand why Medea subsequently turns to evil ; this adds to the credibleness of her character. As clip progresses her strength and passion drives her to mad ; the first clip Medea appears in phase she is “ non shaken with crying, but cool and collected. ”[ 15 ]If it were non for her monologues prior to her visual aspect such as, ” Oh, how I hate populating! I want to stop my life, leave it behind, and dice ” , the audience could non perchance understand or admit her self-destructive province of head. Later Medea goes on to utilize her manipulative inventiveness to revenge Jason ‘s disloyalty with a series of slayings, “ I have in head so many waies of decease for them ”[ 16 ]. This is an illustration of a monologue. Prior to such a statement Medea was imploring Creon for her and her boies to remain the state for one more dark. If it were non for the proceeding monologue it would non be understood that Medea had manipulated Creon. The monologue reveals her true feelings ; she will “ strike dead ”[ 17 ]her enemies. Medea is a descendent of the Sun God and is capable of passions of far greater strength than mere persons. All she wanted was to watch Jason suffer and was willing to make perfectly anything to accomplish merely that. Medea is a proud adult female, accordingly when Jason trampled over such pride, compacting her self-importance and ego construct, she was to revenge him, “ you were mistaken if you thought you could disgrace my bed and live a pleasant life and laugh at me ”[ 18 ]. Medea ‘s rage bubbled and boiled to the terrible extent whereby it began to take over her bosom, head and organic structure. She is wholly overwhelmed with choler, determined to convey Jason down to his articulatio genuss and willing to even harm herself in order to pass over the smiling off his face, “ my hurting ‘s a just monetary value, to take away your smiling ”[ 19 ]she says. Medea manages to stultify Jason by killing her ain flesh and blood, her two boies despite the grief it would do her, merely to torture Jason. The manner in which Medea easy, measure by measure follows an evil tract alternatively of a sudden alteration of character makes her credible as it shows the passage of character.

Lady Macbeth ‘s love for Macbeth was besides all devouring nevertheless non of the strength of Medea ‘s. She was besides keen on making everything and anything for the interest of her beloved. When Lady Macbeth sees that her hubby “ ecstatic withal ”[ 20 ]after he is informed of the prognostication, she is determined to procure his place as King. Lady Macbeth begins to take control ; she analyses Macbeth ‘s personality and considers him excessively directly frontward and honest to be involved with immorality, “ Yet do I fear thy nature, It is excessively full o’th’milk of human kindness, T’catch the nearest manner ” . Lady Macbeth was so fascinated by the prognostication that she wanted it sooner instead than subsequently because she wanted the best for Macbeth. She saw that her hubby Macbeth had the desire and aspiration to be king yet he required her strong words to motivate him and so Lady Macbeth uses her influence to promote him. From this minute Lady Macbeth ‘s evil desires escalate. Lady Macbeth so begins to take farther control and programs King Duncan ‘s slaying. Using a metaphor of lip service she says, “ look like the guiltless flower, but be the serpret under’t. ” This statement is used in order to mask her purposes to harm Duncan. This peculiar metaphor is highly outstanding. From this a great trade of Lady Macbeth ‘s character is revealed ; we begin to detect her strength of spirit and place her opposite mentality to Macbeth and her willingness to be associated with immorality.

The fact that Lady Macbeth becomes ferocious and challenges her hubby ‘s bravery and award when he has serious 2nd ideas about killing Duncan indicates that she is so more barbarous than he at this phase of the drama. It is one thing to state something and another thing to make it. Lady Macbeth prepares the slaying scene but was unable to kill Duncan herself. She claims that the King “ resembled my male parent ”[ 21 ]as he slept. This shows that she is non every bit ruthless as she appears and that she is vulnerable and compassionate. This peculiar statement adds to the credibleness of Lady Macbeth ‘s character ; even though one might transport out evil actions, certain things dear to them will expose their exposure. Lady Macbeth returns with bloody custodies after smearing the Chamberlain ‘s with blood in order to mask herself and Macbeth of the title. At the clip the image of her bloody hands has no affect on her and she bluffly says, “ a small H2O clears us of the title. ”[ 22 ]However in clip, the memory of her bloody custodies, which is a important portion of stagecraft typifying guilt, hangouts and tortures Lady Macbeth ‘s head. As antecedently mentioned Lady Macbeth is cognizant of God and believes in Eden and snake pit. She acknowledges that she has sinned ; accordingly her guilty scruples begins to upset her slumber. In clip Lady Macbeth begins to see the regular happening of somnambulating whilst executing monologues ; “ Wash your custodies ; put on your nightie ; look non so paleaˆ¦ what ‘s done can non be undone. ”[ 23 ]She speaks such whilst rubbing her custodies in a washing gesture, this is obviously the manus rinsing modus operandi is obsessional compulsive behaviour. The component of monologues is outstanding in respects to understanding and appreciating Lady Macbeth ‘s alteration of idea and attitude throughout the continuance of the drama. They help uncover the terrible extent of her hurt and disturb. Along with monologues, symbolism is another signifier of stagecraft which is apparent in the drama for illustration ; Lady Macbeth ‘s somnambulism is a mark of her great degree of guilt. It is peculiarly dry how earlier in the drama Lady Macbeth calls upon darkness in order to conceal her title, “ Come, thick dark ”[ 24 ]and how she now fears the dark ; “ she has light by her continually ”[ 25 ]. Lady Macbeth ‘s sense of guilt and exposure towards the terminal of the drama helps make her credibleness ; it allows the audience to understand, sympathize and link with her. It besides shows us that Lady Macbeth is human and that unlike Medea, her actions did affected her scruples. The audience is able to associate to her and appreciate her credibleness. Her guilty scruples affects her terribly and drives her to contemplate decease and finally perpetrate self-destruction. Gradually the audience tickers Lady Macbeth physically and mentally breakdown. This demonstrates her human kernel and hence doing her character believable and realistic to the audience.

What is their engagement with immorality?

The audience is introduced to action from the minute the dramas commence. The gap scenes of Macbeth introduce the audience to the chance of Macbeth being king. Our first feeling of Lady Macbeth is that she is a loving married woman and aroused and happy for him ; the ambiance is blissful. On the manus, the gap scenes of Medea introduce the audience to an ambiance of wretchedness. Jason has betrayed his married woman for a royal bed and we foremost see Medea as a hurt, brokenhearted adult females. The audience is subsequently informed of Medea ‘s yesteryear ; we understand that she has antecedently committed Acts of the Apostless of evil including slaying nevertheless such actions were driven by her love for Jason. On the other manus, the audience is non informed of Lady Macbeth ‘s yesteryear ; it is presumed that she has had no anterior engagement of immorality.

Medea has committed several deceases before the drama commences. She has murdered her brother and manipulated the girls of a King to kill their male parent. From such inside informations it understood that Medea is capable of perpetrating dismaying workss and that it was her love for Jason which finally suppressed her sense of immorality throughout the class of their matrimony. Consequently it was expected that one time Jason injury Medea, the palpebra enveloping her evil would open and she would return to her old ego. After being rejected Medea lays out a craft program, she manipulates Jason into swearing her and sends her boies off with a gift to Jason ‘s new bride beggary for her kids non to be banished. The gifts have been poisoned and princess Glauce dies a atrocious decease, “ The material was eating her flesh. Her eyes, her face, were one grotesque disfiguration ; down from her caput dripped blood mingled with fire ; her flesh, attacked by the unseeable Fangs of toxicant, melted from the bare bone, like gum-drops from pine-tree ‘s bark- a ghastly sight. ”[ 26 ]When Medea ‘s glees, “ You ‘ll give me dual pleasance if their decease was atrocious ” ,[ 27 ]she is near to being considered melodramatic nevertheless we see plenty of her humanity to salve this. This statement highlights how deeply Jason ‘s treachery scarred Medea. Medea wavered before killing her ain kids which illustrates her sense of humanity nevertheless she is non struck by guilt after perpetrating such.

Lady Macbeth merely called upon immorality after she was informed of her hubby ‘s prognostication. However she did so with her hubby ‘s best involvements at bosom. She was ambitious for him to be King and desired to portion such a royal position with him. She begins her evil tract by utilizing her influence to pull strings Macbeth into killing Duncan and she finally becomes his anchor. Unlike Medea, Lady Macbeth did n’t hesitate when transgressing nevertheless her bad actions impacted on her and finally her scruples and sense of guilt drove her to her ain grave.


In decision, it is clear that Euripides Medea and Shakespeare ‘s Lady Macbeth are believable characters. At peculiar minutes in the drama the adult females may be near to being melodramatic nevertheless the audience sees their sense of humanity. Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare ‘s most celebrated and awful female characters ; nevertheless after profoundly analyzing her character, one can non keep himself from experiencing empathy for her. It is understood that although she reaches out to evil and commits awful Acts of the Apostless, Lady Macbeth ‘s sense of religion, guilty scruples and feminine kernel restrains her from being a slayer with no scruples ; she is a condemnable whose actions and guilt deeply affect her. It is her sense of humanity and failing which finally leads to her devastation ; such neglects her as a awful character and emphasizes her credibleness. Medea is besides said to be a awful female character. Although her actions were dismaying and barbarian, Medea ‘s scruples and exposure allows her to hesitate before killing her kids ; a genuinely evil character would non hesitate before perpetrating evil nor would their actions cause them any guilt. Medea was heartbroken, scared, bruised and battered which was her ultimate thrust for devastation. Consequently, the audience besides empathizes with Medea after understanding and admiting her sense of humanity and connects with her emotions. Therefore, despite the fact that Lady Macbeth and Medea ‘s female functions travel against the ordinary word picture of adult females, they are by no agencies melodramatic evil characters. If Lady Macbeth and Medea were melodramatically evil, the audience will experience that the dramas are weak and such would decrease the dramatist ‘s accomplishments.