Fate in Medea

Fate in Medea
Observation and Interpretation: Throughout the text, fate and the gods
are blamed for the cause of the problems, however subsequent choices
made later on by the characters appear to be free will, however are
actually influenced by fate and the gods.

So what?: This makes the audience blame the gods for the overall out
come, but still blame the main character for her choices.

P48 l. 1014-1015 ?The gods/ And my evil-hearted plots have led to

P39 l. 717 ?What good luck chance has brought you.?

P61 l. 1416-1419 ?Many matters the gods bring to surprising ends./ The
things we thought would happen do not happen;/ The unexpected God
makes possible;/ And such is the conclusion of this story.?

To an ancient Greek, fate was thought of as the power that determined
all of our destinies, although a person could make choices along their
life to change small outcomes, which was the extent of free will. In
the play Medea, fate is used as a scapegoat to blame some of the
problems happening to the characters, despite the fact that most of
the characters had free will. In some instances the characters are not
even aware of the causes behind the causes of their problems.
Therefore, throughout the text, fate and the gods are blamed for the
cause of the problems, however subsequent choices made later on by the
characters appear to be free will, however are actually influenced by
fate and the gods.

The characters in the play make many references to the gods as the
cause of the conflict, this is not only by religion, but by fact as
well. One line in said by Medea that is most arresting is, ?The gods/
And my evil-hearted plots have led to this.? (1014-1015) The ?gods?
that Medea references to, are the gods detailed in the myth of Jason
and the Golden Fleece. In the myth Eros, Aphrodite and Hera are the
gods that are behind Medea?s love for Jason, love which was
artificially induced. Medea also explicitly blames the gods of the
outcome of the play, since her evil-hearted plans stem from her love
for Jason. However, the choices made in her throughout the book,
appear to be free will.

The most prominent section of the play that is associated with free
will is when Medea makes the choice to murder her children. At this
part, Medea is torn between the decision to kill her children or take
them away with her. The mere presence of her indecision shows that it
is free will which will determine the outcome. Her original plan was
to kill the children, yet at one point she says, ?Why should I hurt
them?Myself? I won?t do it.? (1044,1046) However at the end she
responds to herself with, ?The thing?s done now.? which affirms that
the children?s fates are sealed. (1062) Her circumlocution shows that
despite her efforts to consider an alternative, she still arrives at
the same ending; killing her children. Her children will die because
they delivered the gifts that killed Glauce, and Medea wanted Glauce
killed because Jason betrayed her love, love which was induced by
artificial means, therefore her final decision is influenced by the

In Jason?s reasoning of his actions, he references another action by
Medea that he points out was free will. ?But in return for saving me
you got far more/ Than you gave. Allow me, in the first place, to
point out/ That you left a barbarous land to become a resident/ Of
Hellas.?(533-536) This implies that it was her own choice that she
left Colchis, and that she was rewarded for that choice. However, it
was her love that made her sail with him, an unfortunate side effect,
thus the rewards she reaped was not of her own choice. In this
situation, fate is the cause of the problem, since if she had not been
shot by Eros, she would not have sailed with Jason, and therefore
never faced the current conflict.

One of the more obvious parts of the play that can be seen as more
fate, than free will, is Aegeus?s arrival in Corinth. On the free will
side, Aegeus did not have to come to Corinth seeking help about the
oracle. However, if the oracle was not so confusing, Aegeus would not
have needed to come to Corinth, leaving Medea with nowhere to go.
Medea supports this by saying, ?What good luck chance has brought
you.? (717) The ?chance? that Medea is talking about is the oracle
itself, and the situation around it. Therefore fate, in this case, is
more prominent than the free will.

Fate, it appears to be lurking behind every choice, every action, and
every event that takes place in the play. For the audience, this makes
them blame the gods for the overall outcome of the play, however the
audience still sees the individual choices made by the character, to
be the fault of the character. Although, through much thinking, the
audience will start to see the fate behind the actions, therefore the
whole play is just fate.

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