Study Guide

Medea Foreignness and 'The Other'

By Euripides

Foreignness and 'The Other'

Ancient Greeks had a deep suspicion of foreigners, thinking of them all as "barbarians." With Medea, Euripides seems to confront this prejudice by choosing to honor a foreigner with the role of tragic heroine and by making her the most intelligent character in the play. However, the playwright also confirms many Greek stereotypes of foreigners by making Medea wild, overly passionate, and vengeful.

Questions About Foreignness and 'The Other'

  1. Does Medea confirm or refute Greek prejudices toward foreigners?
  2. In what ways is Medea prejudiced against Greeks?
  3. How do Medea's foreign origins affect her social status?
  4. How can Medea be seen as a "typical Asian" in the eyes of the Greeks?

Chew on This

Medea defies Greek conceptions of uncultured foreigners by making its heroine the most intelligent character in the play.

Medea confirms Greek notions of barbarous foreigners by depicting its heroine as violent and vengeful.