Medea Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used Paul Roche's translation.
Nurse: she glares with a bull-mad glaze
(Or is it a lioness with her whelps)
When anyone comes or speaks of helps. (29)
Greeks were of the opinion that all Asians, like Medea, were wild and emotional, especially the Persians, who they'd once defeated in war. Comments like this reflect this stereotype. It's almost like the Nurse is saying, "Well, you know how those people are."
Medea: I agree, of course,
that a foreigner should conform,
adapt to his society (31)
Medea recognizes her status as an outsider and concedes that she ought to act more Greek. Of course, her extreme grief and need for revenge doesn't seem particularly un-Greek to us. There's a ton of other tragedies that show Greeks behaving just as badly.
Medea: I am alone, […]
uprooted from a foreign land. […]
So, please, I ask you [Chorus] this:
if I can find a way to pay my husband back –
your silence. (31)
Here Medea uses her status as a foreigner to appeal to the Chorus. She plays on their sympathies, by emphasizing how isolated she is. It works pretty well, too. Medea manages to convince these Corinthian women to stand idly by while she assassinates their royal family.