Medea: Guilty or Not Guilty?

Prompt Description:

Imagine that Medea did not escape from Corinth (one of her dragons broke down—broken wings) and she is now on trial for murder.  You must defend or prosecute her.  Write a 750-1000 word essay supporting the defense or prosecution.  Include an introduction that summarizes the situation and end with a thesis that states your plea.  The conclusion must sum up the evidence (main points) and make some final statement about how this case reflects on the state of our society today (exigency).  In your argument, you must use specific quotes with page numbers for support.


Possible plea options:  For full credit, you cannot simply state that she is insane because she killed her kids--you must support your claims using specific details from the text to show your "jury" how the chain of events unfolded.  Then argue, according to your "proof" that she is either guilty or innocent.  Below are a few ways in which you may plead for Medea.

·        Guilty and ask for mercy from the court

·        Manslaughter

·        Not guilty for reasons of insanity

·        Not guilty

·        Guilty (premeditated murder) and ask for harsh punishment from court


Layout of the paper:



1.  Opening sentence:  Attention getter—quote, question, statistic, shocker, etc.

2.  Summarize the facts leading up to the murders of the princess, Creon, and  
Medea’s children.

3.  Thesis statement: Medea is guilty / not guilty based on the facts you will present.


Body paragraphs:

1.  Include a description of Jason’s actions.  Explain how Jason is responsible for provoking Medea.  Use quotes from the text.

2.  Include a description of Medea’s reaction.  Use quotes from the text.

3.  Argue whether her action is justified or not.

4.  Prove to the court her actions warrant the punishment you think she deserves.



1.  Summarize your main arguments.  This does not mean that you restate each one in detail.  Provide a global summary (descriptive summary).

2.  Provide a global justification for your plea.  Again, do not provide a word for word justification from your body; make a generalized statement.

3.  Conclude with:

a.  A sentencing:  what her punishment should be based on your plea.

b.  An exigency:  what society can learn about revenge, promises, relationships, etc. as a result of this case.