Study Guide

Medea Quotes

  • Women and Femininity


    Medea: Of all creatures that can feel and think,
    we women are the worst treated things alive. (31)

    Euripides boldly states the central theme of the play: the sorry state of the female in Greece. This theme popped up in many of his plays. He is noted for taking up the cause of women as well as the next lowest group on the totem pole: slaves.

    Medea: we [women] bid the highest price in dowries
    just to buy some man
    to be dictator of our bodies […]
    How that compounds the wrong! (31)

    This isn't necessarily accurate, as girls' fathers paid dowries. Still, though, Medea's outrage is more than justified. Women were basically bought and sold like cattle. Though they were above slaves on the social ladder, they were at times still treated like nothing more than property.

    Medea: Divorce is a disgrace
    (at least for women),
    to repudiate the man, not possible. (31)

    Women were in some ways prisoners. If they got sold off to a man who mistreated them, there was really no good escape route. The rest of society would reject them if they left their husband.

    Medea: I had rather stand my ground three times among
    the shields
    than face a childbirth once. (31)

    Is Medea by some standards a "masculine" woman? Here she says she'd rather do battle than give birth. In some ways, this is a rejection of the foundation of the traditional role of women.

    Medea: Well, suppose they are dead: […]
    will any man afford me home in a country safe
    for living […]? (57)

    Even a woman as powerful as Medea feels the need to be protected by a man. You'd think that she be all right on her own. She does have a couple of dragons at her disposal. The fact that she still wants a man around, even after her last one dissed her so badly, seems to show just how deeply entrenched patriarchy was in Greek society.

    Chorus: One day the story will change:
    then shall the glory
    of women resound […]
    Reversing at last the sad
    reputation of ladies. (58)

    The Chorus seems to be almost sounding a battle cry for a feminist revolution. We wonder how this would've been received by the all-male audience that attended the plays in ancient Athens. Of course, it would've been performed by male actors as well.

    Chorus: If only Apollo,
    Prince of the lyric, had put
    in our hearts the invention
    Of music and songs for the lyre
    Wouldn't I then have raised
    up a feminine paean
    To answer the epic of men? (58)

    The Chorus is pointing out that their culture's depictions of women have all been created by men. This idea, that their entire culture is male centered, wouldn't pop up again until the twentieth century. Medea was in many ways ahead of its time.

    Chorus: Woman of stone, heart of iron,
    Disconsolate woman, ready to kill
    The seed of your hands with the hand that
    tilled. (193)

    Is the play damaging to women in some way? It's definitely revolutionary in its blatantly pro-woman themes. We have to question, though: if you're trying to champion the feminine cause, why make your heroine a serial killer? Aristophanes, Euripides's comic contemporary, would later satirize Medea for that very reason.

    Jason: Oh, I married a tigress,
    not a woman, not a wife,
    and yoked myself to a hater and destroyer (204)

    Could it be argued that Jason and the patriarchal (male-run) society that he represents turned Medea into this monster? Perhaps the lack of respect for her in part drove her to her horrendous actions.

    Jason: You think it right to murder
    just for a thwarted bed.
    Medea: And do you think that a thwarted bed
    is trifling to a woman? (212-213)

    In Greek society women mostly only had power through their husbands. The loss of his bed would've been bad news.

  • Revenge

    Nurse: [Medea] hates her sons […] I dread to think of what is hatching in her mind. (1)

    Euripides doesn't shy away from some pretty obvious foreshadowing here. Medea's path of revenge is pretty clear even from the opening moments of the play. Of course, the Athenian audience the play was written for would've already know the Medea myth quite well.

    Medea: Oh, what misery! […] Cursed sons, and a mother for cursing! Death take you all – you and your father […]
    Nurse: Why make the sons share in their father's guilt? (20-21)

    The Nurse points out the irrationality of Medea's rage. This lady is so out of control that she plots to annihilate all products of she and Jason's union. The boys' innocence is no defense against the irate Medea

    Medea: [Creon] lets me stay one extra day, to make three enemies corpses:
    ha! father, daughter, and my husband. (57)

    There's an incongruity here. Medea does end up killing Creon and his daughter, but doesn't make any attempt to kill Jason. Also, she makes no mention here that she plans to kill her sons. It's unclear if she just changes her mind somewhere along the way, or if she's lying about her exact plans. Of course, it could also be sloppy plot-making on the part of Euripides.

    Jason: Anything you or the children want in exile,
    let me know; I'll gladly furnish it […]
    Medea: The presents of the wicked are pure poison. (58)

    Jason seems to feel guilty about the way everything is going down. By denying his help in exile, Medea keeps him from easing his conscience. It's yet another way that she gets revenge on her husband.

    Leader: But, my lady, to kill your own two
    sons […]?
    Medea: It is the supreme way to hurt my husband. (140-141)

    Medea's hatred for Jason is so fierce that she'll go to any lengths to hurt him. She feels that her revenge wouldn't be complete if the boys are left to live. By the end of the play, Jason is destroyed.

    Jason: But, Medea, what is this --
    these dewy eyes, these tears; […]
    Medea: It is nothing.
    I was just thinking of our sons. (150-151)

    It's open to interpretation as to exactly why Medea is crying here. They could be fake tears, meant to convince Jason of her sincerity. She could also be lamenting the fact that she's going to murder her sons in a very short period of time.

    Medea: how I bless you both […]
    not here—beyond […]
    every blessing here you father has despoiled. (173)

    Some scholars claim that this is Medea's best argument for the murder of her sons. They represent her marriage, which has been tainted by Jason. Therefore, they must be destroyed.

    Medea: My heart dissolves
    When I gaze into their [her son's] bright irises […]
    Why damage them in trying to hurt their
    and only hurt myself twice over? (173)

    Here Medea seems to sincerely waver in her resolve. She is touched by the closeness of her sons. This softer moment reveals a tender side of the character, which is often overlooked.

    Messenger: A king's home a charnel house –
    and you rejoice? […]

    Medea seems to sincerely enjoy all the gruesome details of that the messenger relates. Her revenge satisfies her greatly. She differs from most tragic protagonists because she doesn't end up regretting her actions. Ultimately, she's OK with how everything turns out.

    Jason: Murder is punished, and you'll be destroyed
    by the avenging phantoms of you children. (224)

    If Medea were like most Greek tragedies, Jason would be right about this. However, Medea, gets off scot free. Nobody takes out any revenge on her and, though she shows some regret about murdering her children earlier in the play, she doesn't seem all that bummed out as flies away on her dragon chariot.

  • Betrayal

    Nurse: Jason has betrayed his sons and [Medea], takes to bed a royal bride. (22-23)

    This is the inciting incident of the play. Jason's betrayal of Medea's bed causes all of the horrific things that follow. How much accountability does he have in the deaths at the end of the play?

    Medea: Woman, on the whole, is a timid thing:
    […] but, wronged in love,
    there is no heart more murderous. (31)

    Jason's betrayal has unleashed a primal rage in Medea. Here she suggests that all women get just as vengeful when wronged by their man. Though there are many Jerry Springer episodes to support this statement, it seems like a bit of a stereotype to us.

    Medea: I can unload some venom from my heart
    and you can smart to hear it.
    To begin at the beginning, […]
    I saved your life (60)

    Medea's rage at Jason's betrayal is deepened by the fact that she's done so much for him. If it wasn't for her, he never would've gotten the Golden Fleece and would never have achieved epic hero status. Ironically, it's this status that made him a worthy mate for Creon's daughter.

    Jason: were you [Medea] living at the world's ends,
    your name would not be known. […]
    Oh, to me, houses crammed with gold, […]
    are nothing with no name. (62)

    Jason seems to think that his having made Medea famous somehow makes his betrayal OK. However, Medea never demonstrates the same need for fame that Jason finds so valuable. This weakens his argument greatly

    Jason: I wanted above all
    to let us live in comfort, not be poor (62)

    Jason doesn't seem to see his actions as a betrayal at all. He contends that the only reason he married Creon's daughter, was to provide his family, including Medea, with a better life. This is probably his most credible argument, though the idea is alien to most modern audiences.

    Medea: Go, my sons, into the halls of wealth;
    down on your knees and beg her –
    this new wife of our father's (161)

    Medea could be seen as a traitor as well. She's purposely involving her sons in a plot which will make everybody in Corinth want to kill them. You might say that her betrayal is far worse than Jason's.

    Medea: My heart dissolves
    When I gaze into their [her son's] bright irises […]
    Why damage them in trying to hurt their
    and only hurt myself twice over? (173)

    Besides betraying her sons, might Medea also be betraying her self in some way? Though she's doesn't seem too upset about killing her sons, she does a good bit of crying about it beforehand. You could look at it like her destructive side is betraying the gentler side of her nature.

    Medea: What power or divine one is ready to hear you [Jason]:
    perjurer, liar, treacherous guest? (225)

    Medea feels that the gods are on her side. In her mind, she's only bringing justice to the situation. Jason betrayed her and he deserves what he gets. The play seems to support this idea. Medea receives no divine punishment for her actions. In fact, she gets away on a chariot once given to her by her grandfather Helios, the sun god.

    Jason: I'd rather they'd never been born to me
    Than have lived to see you destroy them this
    day. (238)

    To the end, Jason is completely unrepentant of his betrayal. Notice that he doesn't say he wishes he'd never taken another wife. Instead he says that he wishes his children had never been born.

    Chorus: Wide is the range of Zeus on Olympus,
    Wide the surprise which the gods can bring (239)

    Euripides is often thought to have been an atheist. There is some debate about this, but it's pretty hard to deny that he often depicts gods as uncaring or cruel. If Zeus allowed all these things to happen, could that be interpreted as a betrayal? Or has man betrayed him by doing all these terrible things?

  • Exile

    Nurse: [Medea] might be a rock or wave or the sea, for all she heeds of sympathy from friends, except sometimes to […] moan to herself about her father--whom she loved--and her country and the home she sacrificed (1)

    Medea gave up everything to help Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece. She made herself an exile out of love for Jason. Ironically, his betrayal has made her an exile once more.

    Nurse: She never would have baited Pelias' daughters
    to the murder of their father. (1)

    Pelias was the king of Iolcus and Jason's uncle. Medea tricked his daughters into chopping him up, hoping to help Jason gain the throne. The people of the city didn't take it so well and chased Medea and Jason from the city. In effect, both Medea and Jason have been exiles the entire time they've lived in Corinth

    Nurse: Ah, she [Medea] has merited this city's good opinion,
    exile though she came (1)

    It says a lot that Corinth previously thought well of Medea. Especially after the mischief she got up to in Iolcus. We wonder what exactly made the Corinthians accept her. Maybe, it was all her smarts and skills. Probably, though, they just accepted her because Jason was a famous hero, and it was widely known that she was instrumental in his quest.

    Medea: O Father, my country, the land I abandoned,
    Flagrantly killing my brother (26)

    The violence of Medea's exit from her homeland has made her a permanent exile. This fact heightens the stakes of the entire play. Medea is backed into a corner with nowhere to turn, making her all the more dangerous.

    Creon: Go, Medea. Remove yourself.
    Get packing from this land. […]
    it is reported that you threaten me […]
    and of course the bride and groom. (35)

    It's hard to deny that Creon has a pretty good reason for kicking Medea out of Corinth. What else is he supposed to do? She's going around saying that she's going to kill everybody.

    Medea: Well, suppose they are dead:
    will any city take me in, […]
    and shield me from reprisals? (57)

    Medea has to find another city-state to retreat to, after she commits the murders. This will help protect her from the inevitable retribution from Corinth, but there's more to it than that. To the ancient Greeks, their city-states were there worlds. The thought of roaming the land without a civilized place to call home was horrifying.

    Jason: I should like you to remain.
    But you, Madam,
    obstinate in folly,
    have continuously reviled our royalty,
    And so you are banished. (59)

    Jason blames Medea for her exile from Corinth. Is his argument in anyway credible? Yeah, she has been going around threatening the royal family, which isn't the best move. It seems, however, that Jason would've been able to predict such a reaction from his spouse. It's likely that he would've known exactly how Medea would react, when he took another wife.

    Jason: When I came here from the land of Iolcus, […]
    I, a wretched fugitive (59)

    It's important to note that Jason is an exile as well. He's originally from Iolcus, not Corinth. He's actually heir to the throne of Iolcus, but was exiled from the city after he and Medea conspired to have King Pelias, Jason's uncle, killed by his daughters. Jason's desperate desire to regain royal status undoubtedly motivates his marriage to Creon's daughter.

    Chorus: Death: I would bargain with death,
    To die such a day to a finish.
    For nothing is like the sorrow […]
    Of losing your native land. (80)

    Here the Chorus expresses the depth to which ancient Greeks felt an affinity towards their native city. Many Athenians would've have totally agreed with the sentiment that death is better than exile.

    Medea: I have no father, home, defense from danger.
    Oh, the mistake I made was when I left his house (137)

    Often in the play, Medea expresses deep regret at having made herself an exile. She seems especially regretful about severing ties from her father. This distance from her dad is, perhaps, the worst exile she's had to endure.

  • Foreignness and 'The Other'

    Nurse: Ah, she [Medea] has merited this city's good opinion,
    exile though she came (1)

    Medea was accepted into Corinthian society when she first showed up. She was treated like any Greek woman. Now that her husband has dumped her, however, she's treated as a foreigner. The Greeks are very suspicious of her because she's a foreigner.

    Nurse: her [Medea's] home she sacrificed
    to journey here
    with a man – oh – who disdains her now. (1)

    Medea betrayed her father to help Jason capture the Golden Fleece. Doing so was a great sacrifice. She doomed herself to forever being a foreigner at a time in history when being foreign could be a very dangerous thing.

    Nurse: Yes, now [Medea] knows at a terrible first hand what it is to miss one's native land. (1)

    Though Medea has lived in Corinth for a while, she is still seen as an outsider. The fact that she has a Greek husband and has given him sons does little to stem the prejudice against her. Could this distrust on the part of the Greeks contribute to her rage?

    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.

    Jason: So […] this is not the first time
    I have seen irrevocable damage done
    by a barbarous rage. (59)

    When Jason uses the word "barbarous" he's making a direct reference to the fact that Medea is not Greek. The word comes from the Greek barbaros which simply means foreign. Now, of course, the word is associated with wild and unruly behavior. It's highly likely that the modern connotations come directly from Greek prejudice towards outsiders. With the line above, Jason seems to be blaming Medea's fury on the fact that she's a foreigner. (59)

    Jason: you [Medea] have a home in Hellas [Greece]
    instead of some barbarian land.
    You have known justice (62)

    Jason is under the impression that Medea should be grateful for the time she's spent in with him in Greece. He views himself as having rescued her from a dark and savage land. There would've most likely been some Athenians in the audience who agreed with Jason on this front. We wonder, however, if Euripides is trying to show his audience that they might be just a little bit full of themselves. After all, Medea is by far the most intelligent person in the play. She moves all the "enlightened" Greeks around her as easily as chess pieces. Would a stupid barbarian be able to do this?

    Medea: Oh, the mistake I made was […]
    trusting the word of a man from Greece (137)

    Medea is showing some prejudice of her own here. She seems to imply that all Greeks are just as untrustworthy as Jason. Medea, like all tragic heroines, is definitely not free from flaws.

    Jason: At last I understand
    what I never understood before,
    when I took you from your foreign home to live
    in Greece, […]
    No woman in the whole of Hellas [Greece]
    would have dared so much (204)

    Jason again reveals his Greek prejudice to outsiders with this statement. Of course, it's pretty understandable, since Medea has just slaughtered four people, including her own children. It's probably safe to say that the play didn't go a long way toward changing Athenians' opinions of foreigners.

  • Marriage

    Nurse: [Medea] was in everything Jason's perfect foil, being in marriage that saving thing: a wife who does not go against her man. (1)

    These lines reflect the ancient Greek idea that in a healthy marriage, men had all the control. As long as women behaved and did what they were told, everything was cool. Euripides's Medea could be seen as a cautionary tale, warning its Athenian audience of the dangers of such an imbalance of marital power.

    Tutor: The father does not love his sons, but –
    his new wedding bed. (16)

    Check it out: Medea isn't the only one who thinks Jason's second marriage is messed up. Even the slaves think it's not a nice move. Of course, the Tutor's whole position in life is threatened by the new marriage. If Medea and the boys get exiled, what will happen to him?

    Chorus: your husband has gone to adore
    A new bride in his bed, why, this
    Has often happened before. (25)

    The Chorus begins the play by trying to talk some sense into Medea. You shouldn't be freaking out so much, they say. It's not like Medea is the first person to get dumped. Over the course of the play, however, Medea seems to win the Chorus over to her side.

    Chorus: Deep is her sobbing from depths of pain:
    Shrill the news her suffering brings
    Of marriage betrayed (30)

    Jason rips a hole in Medea's soul when he takes another wife. The severing of her marriage creates an unholy rage in Medea. You'd think he'd know better than to mess with her after the bloody deeds he's already witnessed her do.

    Jason: I should like you to remain.
    But you, Madam,
    obstinate in folly,
    have continuously reviled our royalty,
    And so you are banished. (59)

    Jason's claim here that he was hoping that Medea would stay, even though he'd taken a new wife, isn't as crazy as it sounds. It was totally respectable for a Greek man to have a wife and a concubine. Today, he seems like a total jerk, but to an Athenian audience his argument would've been a lot more credible.

    Medea: I even bore you [Jason] sons […]
    just to be discarded for a new bride.
    Had you been childless,
    this craving for another bedmate
    might have been forgiven. (60)

    Part of a woman's perceived duty in marriage was to provide her husband with sons. Medea feels extra cheated because she fulfilled her end of the bargain. Jason has what many men, like Aegeus, crave, yet he throws it all away.

    Medea: What a charming record for our new
    bridegroom this:
    "His own sons and the wife who saved him
    are wayside beggars." (60)

    Medea seems to have a good point here. If Jason would ditch his current family to gain social status, isn't he likely to do something similar in the future? This theory never gets a chance to be tested, of course, because Medea kills his new wife.

    Medea: Aegeus, I beg you, […]
    by these knees I clasp, […]
    let me come to Athens, shelter me,
    accept me in your home. (123)

    In some myths, Medea went on to marry Aegeus once she got to Athens, evidently giving his wife the boot. Medea eventually gave Aegeus a son named Medus, though there was some speculation as to whether Medus was really the son of Jason. Once again though, Medea gets kicked out of a Greek city. When Aegeus' long-lost illegitimate son Theseus shows up, Medea tries to poison him. Aegeus figures out who Theseus is just in time and Medea is kicked out of Athens.

    Jason: I did not blame you [Medea]
    It is natural for a woman to be enraged
    when her husband goes off making second
    marriages. (150)

    Jason's statement shows that he's not totally devoid of sympathy. After Medea tricks him into thinking that she's sorry for her behavior, he concedes that maybe he was a little insensitive. It's too little too late, for Medea, who relentlessly proceeds with her revenge.

    Medea: For I must go in exile to another land:
    never have my joy in you,
    or see your bright young progress;
    never deck your brides, your marriage bed,
    or light you radiant to your wedding day. (173)

    Medea becomes moved when she imagines the boys' nonexistent futures. It's interesting that she focuses on marriage here, since hers has turned out so badly. Could she be longing in a way for the purity of love that her marriage once had?

  • Cunning and Cleverness

    Nurse: Ruthless is the temper of royalty: […]
    How much better to live among equals. […]
    Let me decline in a safe old age.
    The very name of the "middle way" (21)

    Wise words. You could argue that the Nurse's simplistic logic makes her the smartest cookie on stage. Euripides was not only famous for taking up the cause of women but slaves as well. With his dignified portrayal of the Nurse, he's doing both at the same time.

    Creon: You [Medea] are a woman of some knowledge,
    versed in many an unsavory skill. (35)

    This is one of the first recognitions in the play that Medea is a skilled woman. Her knowledge of drugs and witchcraft give her power. This makes everybody around her nervous, especially since she has a bit of a temper.

    Medea: Because I have a little knowledge,
    some are filled with jealousy,
    others think me secretive, and crazy. (36)

    Here Medea says that she's discriminated against just because she's smart. This is undoubtedly true. Of course, she certainly doesn't help eliminate these prejudices when she uses her skills and cleverness to murder four people.

    Medea: In point of fact, my knowledge
    does not amount to much. (36)

    Medea plays down her knowledge in an attempt to seem less threatening to Creon. The king, however, doesn't buy this argument at first. Medea's skills are well known, as is her cunning.

    Creon: You are dangerous.
    All your cleverness
    shall not keep you here. (37)

    It's amazing that Creon is so aware of Medea's craftiness yet he still allows her to stay in Athens for a day. This could be seen as some rather dubious plotting on the part of Euripides. His plays have often been accused of having sub-par plots, causing some scholars to place him below his contemporary, Sophocles.

    Medea: Plot, Medea, devise you recipes:
    advance to the deadly act that tests your
    courage. (57)

    Much like modern superheroes, tragic heroes and heroines are usually extraordinary in some way. Medea's "super power" is her intelligence and skills at witchcraft. When she is threatened, she turns to these abilities for protection.

    Medea: you are a born woman:
    feeble when it comes to the sublime,
    marvelously inventive over crime. (57)

    It's interesting that the word "crime" is used here. The word seems like a bit out of a contradiction as Medea says elsewhere that her devilish plan is just. Perhaps, we're to view Medea's actions as both just and unjust at the same time. This kind of paradox is typical of many tragedies.

    Medea: Swear by every god and godhead. […]
    Never yourself to drive me from your land,
    and if an enemy of mine tries to drag me off,
    never while you live to let go.
    Aegeus: I swear by the Earth and sacred light of the Sun (132-133)

    Medea's cunning is on full display when she makes Aegeus swear this oath. She knows that the Corinthians will hunt her no matter where she goes after she takes her revenge. Aegeus would never consent to harboring her if he knew what she planned. Now, however, he is bound by the gods to protect her no matter what.

    Medea: Now I can unfold to you [Chorus] my whole design:
    there is nothing sweet in it, as you will see (137)

    Medea unveils her crafty plan to the Chorus, reminding us very much of a comic book super villain. The strategy of revealing one's diabolical scheme seems dubious. Doesn't it make it a lot easier for the hero to unravel the plan? Indeed, it never works out for Dr. Octopus. Spiderman always foils his wicked plots. Of course, Medea is the heroine of this play, not the villain, and her cunning scheme goes off without a hitch.

    Medea: Jason please forgive me for all the things I
    said. […]
    I have been out of my mind, hysterical. […]
    Jason: I praise you now,
    and I did not blame you (150)

    Medea is apparently the cleverest person in Corinth. She's easily able to manipulate Jason into believing that she's no longer mad at him, even though she's ranting and raving for days. It's sort of amazing that he falls for this so easily. The play would have a lot more dramatic tension if Medea had at least one worthy adversary.

  • Love

    Nurse: My mistress, Medea, then would never have […] been struck to the heart with love of Jason. (1)

    It's important to remember that the root of all Medea's anger is love. She fell for Jason hard back in their Golden Fleece days. This deep affection is the fuel for her almost inhuman need for revenge.

    Nurse: Oh, what an enemy [Jason's] proved to those he should have loved!
    Tutor: What human being is not? (15-16)

    The Tutor here expresses a pretty cynical view of love. The play seems to back this theory of humanity. Everyone from Jason to Medea act only with themselves in mind.

    Medea: Love, did you say?
    It is a mighty curse. (44)

    Love is often depicted as a force of destruction in Euripides's plays. Frequently his characters' passion is the cause of their undoing. Hippolytus is another play where this occurs. In that piece Phaedra falls in love with her stepson, Hippolytus, and tragedy ensues.

    Leader: How frightening is resentment
    how difficult to cure,
    When lovers hurl past love
    at one another's hate. (61)

    Here again we see love depicted as the seed for the worst kind of hatred. Jason and Medea's venom for each other is so intense, because their love was just as passionate.

    Jason: Well, as far as I'm concerned
    it was Aphrodite and no one else in heaven or earth
    who save me on my voyage, […]
    it was […] sheer shooting passion,
    that drove you [Medea] to save my life. (62)

    This seems like a pretty flimsy argument to us. Why does the fact that Medea helped Jason out of love negate the fact that she helped him? What does Jason think would be a better motivation for Medea's assistance? Power? Personal gain? Jason, it seems like you're just digging yourself a deeper hole.

    Chorus: Love is a dangerous thing: […]
    But, oh, if the goddess should visit
    A love that is modest and right,
    No god is so exquisite. (80)

    Here again we have a very cynical view of love. The Chorus seems to be saying a healthy relationship is impossible. From the perspective of the play all love inevitably leads to tragedy.

    Medea: So sweet […] the mere touch of you:
    the bloom of children's skin--so soft […]
    their breath--a perfect balm. (173)

    This is one of the few places in the play where we see that Medea is capable of real maternal love. This sweet moment is goes a long way towards humanizing Medea. It shows that even though she is capable monstrous actions, she is also capable of gentle affection.

    Messenger: But her father, [Creon] unawares, poor man,
    rushed headlong through the room,
    flung himself lamenting on the body,
    hugged and kissed it, sobbing out: […]
    "O god's […] let me die with my daughter." (182)

    The Messenger relates to us one of the most touching (and grotesque) scenes in the play. Creon shows true paternal love when he discovers his daughter's body. He's so overcome with emotion he doesn't stop to think that maybe it's a bad idea to throw yourself onto a flaming corpse. Once again in the play we see love as a destroyer.

    Medea: My own hands shall them, they shall be
    to the sanctuary of Hera on the Cape,
    where no enemy shall ever do them harm of violate their sepulchre.
    Here in Corinth, […]
    I shall inaugurate a solemn festival (233)

    Medea's intention to honor her dead sons seems to show that her maternal love is still intact somewhere inside her. Of course, a couple questions come to mind. 1) Wouldn't it have been a greater honor not kill them in the first place? 2) How is Medea going to start a festival in Corinth, when she can never go back there again?

    Jason: Dearest children!
    Medea: Dear to their mother.
    Jason: And so she slew them.
    Medea: To get at your heart.
    Jason: You did! You did! How I long to press
    my little children's lips to mine! (230-234)

    In the end, Medea sacrifices her love for the sake of revenge. Unlike most tragic protagonists she seems to feel all right with her decisions. Once again this seems to support the view that the play has a very cynical view of love. Medea is a lot happier and self satisfied now that she's completely destroyed all traces of it from her life.