In Medea by Euripides, a desire for revenge and a determination to redress a moral wrong are both used in a way which conflicts with moral duty. It is in this way that Euripides creates a protagonist in which a maniacal, almost evil aura can be seen. The actions of the antagonist, Jason, drive Medea to a truly gruesome act of revenge, thus making this play the tragedy that it is.
As the play begins, it is revealed that Jason has left Medea for another woman—Glauce, the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Fearing a possible plot of revenge, Creon banishes Medea and her children from the city. Medea pleads for mercy and is granted one more day before she must leave, because, after all, what could Medea do in one day? She could exact her revenge on Jason and Glauce and Creon, which mainly centers on the murder of Jason. The end result is far worse than death for Jason, however, as he is left with nothing after the murder of his wife and her father.
The actions of Jason drive Medea to this deed. She feels as though she has been completely abandoned. Therefore, her first thoughts are to get her revenge; get justice for an act in which she felt wronged or betrayed. At first, her thoughts for revenge included the murder of all three involved. Later on in the play, however, her thoughts begin to narrow as she realizes that the cruelest thing she could do would not be to kill Jason, but rather to leave him with absolutely nothing—the pain their loss would bring her would not equal the satisfaction she would feel in making Jason suffer.
Jason, trying to partially correct his wrongs, convinces Creon to allow the children to remain in Corinth. While he is away, however, Medea secures a sanctuary in the court of Aegeus, the king of Athens. In agreeing to this, Aegeus signs the fate of the children and of Glauce and her father. Medea sends gifts with Jason to Glauce—gifts laced with poison, which, in turn, bring about th...