Medea Study Guide:
Adapted From:
Dunkel, Roger. “Medea.” Classics Technology Center. 2001. 30 March 2004.


Prologue (1-130) - Nurse, Tutor, Medea

1.     What is the dramatic purpose of the Nurse's speech (1-48)?

2.     The Nurse begins by referring to Jason's ship Argo which brought Medea to Greece from her home in Colchis (Black Sea area). According to the Nurse, why did Medea sail with Jason (8)?

3.     What did Medea do upon arriving in Greece at Iolcus (9-10)?

4.     What is the present situation in Corinth (17-25)?

5.     What is Medea's attitude toward her children and what does the Nurse fear she might do (36-43)?

6.     What rumor has the Tutor heard (70-71)?

7.     What is the Nurse's view of Jason's behavior (82-84)? The Tutor's (85-88)?

8.     What feelings does Medea herself express (111-114)?

9.     What moral does the Nurse draw from the situation (119-130)?

(131-212) - Chorus, Medea and Nurse

10. How does the Chorus of Corinthian women feel toward Medea (176-183)?

First Episode (214-409) - Medea, Chorus, Creon

11. How does Medea view her situation in Corinth (214-224)? Her 
 situation as a married woman and mother (228-251)? As a
 foreigner (252-258)?

12. What request does Medea make of the Chorus (259-266)?

13. What order does Creon give to Medea (272-276)?

14. Why does he do this (282-291)?

15. How does Medea reply to Creon's concerns (306-315)?

16. How does Creon react to Medea's reply (316-323)?

17. What request does Medea make of Creon (340-343)?

18. What appeal does she make in support of her request (344-

19. What is Creon's reaction to her request (348-356)?

20. After Creon's departure, how does Medea explain her behavior

21. What does Medea intend to do (373-385)?

22. What problem is a concern to Medea (386-390)?

23. How determined is Medea to put her plan into action (390-

24. What is Medea's motivation (395-398; 404-405)?

25. Medea's reference to her planning and contriving (401) would
 remind the audience of the meaning of the name Medea ‘the
 cunning contriver'. Her mention of her grandfather Helius, the
 sun god, calls attention to her divine ancestry (406). What is
 Medea's view of the female sex (408-409)?



26. What is the Chorus's reaction to the last two lines (408-409) of
 Medea's speech (410-420)?


27. What answer does the Chorus give to the ancient poets'
 depiction of female faithlessness (421-430)?

28. What is their view of Medea's situation (431-445)?

29. To what is the Chorus referring when they mention the lack of
 respect for oaths and of shame in Greece (439-440)?

Second Episode (446-626) - Jason, Chorus and Medea

30. What criticism does Jason make of Medea (446-458)? 

31. What does he intend to do for her and his children (459-464)?

32. What answer does Medea give to Jason's offer (465-472)?

33.     What had Medea done for Jason (476-487)?

34. What accusation does Medea make against Jason (492-495;

35. What is Medea's predicament (502-515)?

36. Pelias, fearing because of a prophecy that Jason would bring
 about his death, was hostile to the hero and had tried to bring
 about Jason's death by sending him on the quest for the Golden

37. What is Jason's view of why Medea had helped him (527-533)?

38. According to Jason what advantages did Medea derive from
 coming to Greece with him (535-544)?

39. What are the reasons that Jason gives for marrying the
 Corinthian princess (548-567)?

40. What criticism does Jason make of women in general (569-

41. What criticism does Medea make of Jason's arguments (580-

42. What help does Jason offer Medea (610-614)?

43. What is Medea's reaction to this offer (616-618)?


44. What view of love does the Chorus present in the first stanza

45. What prayer does the Chorus make in reference to Cypris in
 the second stanza (635-641)?

46. To whom is the Chorus referring in the third and fourth stanzas

Third Episode (663-823) - Aegeus, Medea and Chorus

47. What question did Aegeus ask of the Delphic Oracle (669)?

48. What was the oracle's answer (679-681)?

49. What request does Medea make of Aegeus (710-713)?

50. What does Medea offer to do in return for Aegeus (715-718)?

51. What is Aegeus's reply (723-724)?

52. What is the only condition under which Aegeus will receive
 Medea into his land (Athens) (727-730)?

53. What does Medea require Aegeus to do (731-732)? Why (734-

54. What is Aegeus's reaction to this requirement (741-745)?

55. By whom does Medea make Aegeus swear (746)?

56. After Aegeus's departure why does Medea rejoice (764-771)?

57. What will Medea do now with regard to Jason's intended bride

58. What does she plan to do next (792-793)?

59. What will she achieve through this action (794-806; 817)?

60. What is her motivation in this action (797; 807-810)?

61. Why at this point in the play has Medea decided on this form
 of revenge?


62. What has occasioned this choral ode in praise of Athens
 ("descendants of Erechtheus" = Athenians)?

63. What does the Chorus specifically praise in reference to Athens
 (824 845)?

64. What does the Chorus ask Medea in the second half of the ode
 (846 865)?

Fourth Episode (866-975) - Jason, Medea, and Chorus

65. What general attitude does Medea now present to Jason (869-

66. What is Jason's reaction to Medea's apparent change of mind

67. How are lines 916-921 ironic?

68. What does Medea want Jason to do (939-940)?

69. How does Medea suggest Jason should go about this (942-

70. What will Medea do to help Jason in this endeavor (947-955)?

71. What does Jason think of this help (959-963)?



72. What does the Chorus predict for Jason's intended bride, Jason,
 and Medea?


Fifth Episode (1002-1250)

73. What news does the Tutor report to Medea (1002-1004)?

74. What is Medea's reaction to this news (1005-1016)?  Why does
 she react in this way?

75. What reasons does Medea give why she should kill her c

76. Explain how Medea is ambivalent with regard to what she is
 considering (1021-1080)?

77. What is the Chorus's view of the parent-child relationship

78. What specific relevance do these general comments have for
 the immediate situation of the play?

79. The Messenger reports the deaths of the princess and Creon
 himself to Medea. How were their deaths accomplished (1168-

80. What general comments does the Messenger make on what has
 just happened (1224-1230)?

81. What does Medea intend to do now (1236-1250)?



82. What prayer does the Chorus make to the Earth and the Sun

83. What warning does the Chorus give to Medea (1261-1270)?


Exodos (1293-end) - Jason, Chorus and Medea

84. What concern does Jason express upon hearing of his
 children's deaths (1326)?

85. What assumption does Jason make about the attitude of the
 Sun (Helius) toward Medea's action (1327)?

86. Is he correct in this assumption? Explain your answer.

87. According to Jason, why did Medea kill her children (1338)?

88. What plans does Medea have for her children (1378-1383)?
 For herself (1384-1385)?

89. What does she predict for Jason (1386-1388)?

90. What reason does Medea give for having killed her children

91. What comment does the Chorus make on the events of the play