Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Medea Character Analysis

Medea—the daughter of a king who hopes to prevent Jason and his army of Argonauts from taking a golden ram—is a girl with magical powers. Medea falls in love with Jason and decides to help him win the golden ram, betraying her father. She helps Jason by giving him some magical herbs, then returns to Greece with him as his wife. There, she magically restores some youth to Jason’s elderly father Aeson. After this act of kindness, however, she starts to use her magical powers for evil. Pretending that she and Jason are divorced, she travels to Pelias’s kingdom and, on pretense of reviving his youth, tricks his daughters into helping her kill him. Medea then returns home, kills her children, and flies her chariot to Athens where she marries king Aegeus. When Aegeus’s son Theseus returns from war, Medea tries to murder him, but Aegeus stops her.
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Medea Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Medea appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 7: Medea and Jason
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Aeetes’s daughter Medea falls in love with Jason. She is unable to fight against her desire for him,... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Medea wants to help Jason win the games, but she fears that he’ll leave her afterwards... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
After resolving to resist her passion, Medea goes to an altar to pray and runs into Jason. Jason looks more handsome than... (full context)
Humanity vs. Nature  Theme Icon
The new army points their spears at Jason. Medea shakes with fear, worried that the herbs she gave Jason won’t be strong enough to... (full context)
Book 7: The Rejuvenation of Aeson
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
...for their sons’ return. Jason’s father Aeson, however, is too old to participate. Jason entreats Medea to take a few years off his life to add to his father’s life. Medea... (full context)
Humanity vs. Nature  Theme Icon
The next full moon, Medea walks out barefoot. She turns around three times and sprinkles her head three times with... (full context)
Humanity vs. Nature  Theme Icon
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
When Medea returns, she builds altars to Hecate, goddess of magic, and to the goddess of Youth.... (full context)
Book 7: The Punishment of Pelias
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
After reviving Aeson, Medea does something wicked. She pretends that she and Jason are separated and goes to the... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Four nights later, Medea drugs king Pelias and his guards. She fills a cauldron with plain water and herbs... (full context)
Book 7: Medea’s Flight
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Before king Pelias’s daughters can punish Medea for killing their father, Medea flies off in her chariot. She flies over many fields... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
When Medea arrives home, she kills all her children with her sword. Avoiding Jason’s rage, she flies... (full context)
Book 7: Theseus and Aegeus
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
Shortly after Medea marries King Aegeus, Aegeus’s son Theseus returns from his heroic voyages. However, Aegeus doesn’t know... (full context)