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Irony in The Medea

Irony Examples in The Medea:

The Medea

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"I myself, when princely wrath Was hot against thee, strove with all good will To appease the wrath, and wished to keep thee still Beside me. ..."   (The Medea)

Jason reproaches Medea for her openly threatening speech against the rulers of Corinth, most likely because his own self-image is still tied to that of his ex-wife. He attempts to hold himself up as an example to Medea by explaining how he has appealed to Creon and Glauce on her behalf and thrown her at their mercy as she should do herself. The irony here lies in the fact that Jason is solely responsible for Medea’s situation, yet attempts to show sympathy for her plight.

"I am full of hidden horrors!..."   (The Medea)

By this Medea means that she is full of anger and hatred. She goes on to claim that she will relinquish this hatred and “forgive.” This is an instance of dramatic irony. While outwardly this sounds like a claim that Medea will change, the audience knows that this is in fact a reference to her murderous plot to kill Glauce, Creon, and her children.

"Which, ere yet it be too late, I sweep aside. ..."   (The Medea)

It may strike the reader as odd, or even ironic, that Creon expresses these worries after condoning the marriage between Jason and Glauce. If he knew about Medea’s power before the marriage, he must have known that she would seek “doom of vengeance” and might have chosen a different partner for his daughter. This ill-considered decision followed by the belief that he has the power to get rid of this sorceress reveals one of the main themes of the play: male hubris, or dangerous, arrogant pride. Creon believes he has more power than Medea, and it will cause his downfall and doom for his child.

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