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[[caption-width-right:340:Sarah Bernhardt in the role of Medea in Catulle Mendès's eponymous play, based on Euripides'. (UsefulNotes/ArtNouveau poster c. 1898, by Creator/AlphonseMucha)]]
->"νῦν δ΄ ἐχθρὰ πάντα͵ καὶ νοσεῖ τὰ φίλτατα." [[labelnote:English]]But now all [of their love] is hostile, and the dearest things are ill.[[/labelnote]]
-->--'''Euripides''', ''Medea'', Line 16

MostWritersAreMale, and what male cannot understand the hardship and dangers of dealing with a jealous and angry ex-girlfriend? What makes Creator/{{Euripides}}' play so interesting is that the protagonist is not TheHero but the PsychoExGirlfriend--and she's {{justified|Trope}}.

Euripides' adaptation of the myth of Jason and Medea starts when the couple have returned to Corinth after all their adventures, quests, and battles. Medea, being not only a genius schemer but something of a sorceress, abandoned/betrayed her family and people to be with Jason and help him succeed, even when it required arranging her brother's death. Now they have two young sons together. She has [[LoveMartyr suffered horribly]] for love of him. So now that the adventure's over, it's time for TheHero and his MagicalGirlfriend to settle down and live HappilyEverAfter, right?

Wrong! It's time for Jason to dump the "barbarian" now that he has no more use for her and marry the beautiful princess Glauce. Nothing personal, he says. He's not even marrying her for love but for the money and power, which he'll use to keep Medea and the kids in their gilded cage. He tells Medea to accept this peacefully and be content as the [[TheMistress woman on the side]].

WhatAnIdiot! Jason has created the original WomanScorned, and for the GreekChorus, it's only a question of whom she intends to kill--herself, or Jason. She chooses -- [[TakeAThirdOption neither]]. Medea [[MurderTheHypotenuse kills the new girl]] and Glauce's father (King Creon, not be confused with Creon of the Thebes tetralogy), who arranged the marriage, but decides simply killing Jason would be too good for him. A conversation with the as-yet-childless Aegeus teaches her the cruelest, most painful, most unbearable punishment to inflict on a man--the death of his children. She takes their two children off-stage and kills them... but she struggles with it a bit first.

As was the standard for Greek {{Tragedy}}, all the deaths occur [[GoryDiscretionShot off-stage]] and are narrated on-stage by eyewitnesses. The play ends with Medea refusing Jason's request to at least give him his sons' bodies for burial before she takes the bodies and flees to Aegeus' kingdom, Athens (by way of a magical chariot, drawn by dragons). The chorus then marvels at the cruelty of the gods that such tragedies happen. [[KarmaHoudini Medea is not condemned for her actions]].

!!''Medea'' provides examples of:

* AudienceMonologue: Opens with one from the Nurse explaining what's happened. [[{{Lampshading}} Lampshaded]] when the children's tutor comes and asks why she's talking to herself.
%%* BlackMagicianGirl: Medea.
* [[{{Bowdlerise}} Bowdlerization]]: Apparently, there are versions where it wasn't her killing her kids, it was angry townsfolk, who later bribed the guy who wrote the play. After that it wasn't okay to sacrifice children to gods anymore. [[http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/medeahyposcholia.shtml Here]] are some infobits.
%%* CharacterTitle
* CruelMercy: At one point, Jason begs her to kill him and she refuses, letting him live to suffer the pain for the rest of his life.
* DeadpanSnarker: Medea when talking to Aigeus - and that is when she speaks to the closest she ever gets to a ''friend''.
* DeusExMachina: Medea carries the bodies of her sons away with her in a flying chariot drawn by golden dragons given to her by the Sun God Helios, her grandfather.
** In Seneca the Younger's version of the play, there is no chariot carrying Medea away and, correspondingly, no deus ex machina. The play ends just after she kills her children laughing in Jason's face. Because, really, if you're going the whole nine yards like she is, how much do you care about getting out?
* DontYouDarePityMe: Medea would rather have revenge instead.
%%* DownerEnding
* FateWorseThanDeath: At the end Jason lives, but his children are slaughtered along with his prospective family. Medea [[CruelMercy lets him live on purpose]].
%%* GreekChorus
* [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen God Save Us from the Princess!]]: Not likely since the gods think she's right.
* GoryDiscretionShot: None of the ancient versions of the play have Medea kill her children on stage, instead the details are given via the GreekChorus.
* HorseOfADifferentColor: Dragon chariot! [[SpecialEffectsFailure Gotta wonder how performances represent that]].
* IGaveMyWord: Not that Jason keeps it. Medea points out throughout the play that he has broken his marriage oath to her.
* InMediasRes: The drama starts when Jason has already dumped Medea and is going to marry Glauce.
* KarmaHoudini: While contextually, Medea was justified, she still killed four people, two of whom were [[MoralEventHorizon her own]] [[OffingTheOffspring children]] and hurt her husband horribly, and in the end flies away in a magical chariot with no consequences for her actions other than her own guilt.
* KilledOffScreen: Most of the deaths, though Medea's children are notable in that you can hear them [[ScreamDiscretionShot screaming and begging offstage]]
* LoveHurts: Oh Medea, you wouldn't have thought it could end up like this the day you left your family behind?
* LoveMartyr: In Medea's backstory; she sacrificed ''everything'' so she could be with Jason, which is why his betrayal of her is so awful.
* MagicalGirlfriend: Deconstructed, showing just what happens when she gets mad.
* MamaBear: Medea can't see any way to protect her children other than killing them... so that's what she does.
* MercyKill: It tends to get lost due to ValuesDissonance, but this is one reason Medea kills her own children, since as a foreign-born woman her children lost their Greek citizenship, and therefore their inheritance, when Jason remarries. It's also very likely that they would have been sold into slavery.
* MurderTheHypotenuse: Medea murders Glauce, although at that point she wasn't even considering getting back with Jaso - she did it for {{revenge}}.
* OffingTheOffspring: Arguably the TropeCodifier, at least for women killing their own children.
** Hence the term the Medea Complex.
* OriginalGeneration: Jason and Medea were new characters created for a MassiveMultiplayerCrossover. This play is an OriginalGeneration sequel that drops the crossover characters and focuses on the new characters.
* {{Pride}}: Jason full stop. He's extremely condescending the whole play, talking down to Medea and dismissing her feelings and arguments because she's a barbarian and a woman.
* PsychoExGirlfriend: Ladies and gentlemen, we have found the UrExample. Jason ''would rue'' the day he dumped Medea, since she went to the extremes of kill his new girl, his new dad, and his old kids.
* SecondHandStorytelling: In keeping with most deaths in Greek plays, the demise of Creon and Glauce is described by a messenger who is equally horrified by the poison that killed the two and Medea's joy upon hearing these ill tidings.
* SmugSnake:
** Jason is depicted here as being a big one of these. The first thing he says when Medea (lyingly) claims that she has decided he was right all along is 'I am glad, Medea, that you have changed your mind'. That's just [[TemptingFate asking for it.]]
** Creon, whose EstablishingCharacterMoment involves him gloating about sending Medea into exile, soon finds himself dead at the hands of the very woman he mocked.
* TooDumbToLive: Oh, Jason, you tosser. Of course, in the end, she decides that death is ''too good'' for him. Glauce and Creon count as well.
* TragicMistake: Jason's pride and machismo lead to his downfall and the deaths of his bride and children.
* TheUnfettered: Medea is willing to kill anyone -- even her own children -- to gain her revenge.
* TheWarOnStraw: There have doubtlessly been many essays written on whether Medea and Jason's representation of each other is accurate or not. On the whole, though, this is actually subverted.
* WhatTheHellHero: Medea gives one to Jason. A well-reasoned one, given that not only he has dumped the woman who sacrificed everything for him and whom without he wouldn't even succeed in his mission, but also it makes uncertain the future of their sons.
* WomanScorned: And how. She's probably along with [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Hera]] the UrExample.
* {{Yandere}}: Medea, according to modern interpretations, and therefore, [[UrExample the original]]. Boy, is she NotGoodWithRejection.
* YourCheatingHeart: All the madness starts with Jason's ill-fated idea of marrying Corinthian princess Glauce and keeping his MagicalGirlfriend Medea and the mother of his children as a mere [[TheMistress concubine]].