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by Euripides

Medea Fifth Episode & Fifth Choral Ode Summary

  • The Tutor enters with the boys and tells Medea the good news: the princess has agreed to let the boys stay in Corinth.
  • Medea emits a wail of pain.
  • The Tutor doesn't get what she's so sad about; he thought he was bringing good news.
  • Medea tells him not to worry about it.
  • She hugs the boys close to her and laments the fact that she won't see them grow up.
  • Suddenly, Medea has a change of heart, telling the Chorus that she'll take the boys away with her instead of killing them.
  • She changes her minds again, saying they must die.
  • Medea goes back and forth a couple more times and finally decides that murdering her sons is necessary.
  • She says that she knows she's doing evil, but that her passionate desire for revenge is stronger than her will.

Fifth Choral Ode

  • The Chorus sings about the perils of parenthood.
  • They talk about how wearying it is raising a child and how people without offspring are happier overall.
  • They end by recognizing how terrible it is when a full grown child dies and question whether the joys of parenting are worth the potential for grief.

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