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by Euripides

Medea Third Episode & Third Choral Ode Summary

  • Aegeus enters.
  • He greets Medea warmly.
  • She asks him where he's coming from.
  • He says that he's just come from the oracle at Delphi, where he went to ask Apollo why he can't have children.
  • No children, says Medea, aren't you married?
  • Yep, Aegeus tells her, but we haven't had any kids yet.
  • The Oracle gave him advice that he didn't understand, saying that he shouldn't unstopper his wineskin until he gets back home.
  • Aegeus doesn't understand what the prophecy means, so he's swinging through Corinth on his way to see some dude name Pittheus who knows about this kind of stuff.
  • Medea tells him that she hopes everything works out.
  • Aegeus asks Medea what's wrong with her.
  • She tells him all her woes, and begs him to let her come and stay with him in Athens, promising that she'll use her expertise to help him have children.
  • Aegeus is down with this.
  • He tells Medea that she has to get to Athens on her own, though. If he took her with him, he would risk pissing off Creon, and that's something he doesn't want to do.
  • Medea says that he must swear an oath to protect her when she gets to Athens. She's got a lot of enemies out there, and she wants to make sure Aegeus doesn't sell her out.
  • Aegeus agrees and swears on the Earth and the Sun that he'll never drive her from his land.
  • Aegeus exits.
  • The Chorus Leader wishes Medea a good journey to Athens.
  • Medea isn't quite ready to go yet though. Now that she's got somewhere to retreat to, she can carry out her revenge.
  • She lays out her plans.
  • First, she'll convince Jason that's she's now OK with the marriage.
  • Then, she'll beg him to convince Creon to let her sons stay in Corinth.
  • Next, she'll send her sons to the princess with some deadly gifts: a gossamer gown and a golden diadem, both doused in poison.
  • Then, regretfully, she'll have to kill her own sons.
  • After Jason's life and legacy are totally decimated, she'll make her retreat to Athens.
  • Medea declares that no man will ever think she's weak.
  • The Chorus Leader begs Medea to reconsider her bloody plan, especially the part about killing the boys.
  • Medea says there's no use trying to talk her out of it. Killing Jason's sons is way to hurt him the most.
  • The Nurse conveniently enters, and Medea asks her to go get Jason.

Third Choral Ode

  • The Chorus sings about how blessed and sacred Athens is.
  • They ask Medea whether she really thinks such a wonderful place will want a lady who killed her own kids hanging around.
  • The Chorus says they don't think Medea is cruel enough to actually kill her sons.

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