Humanities › Literature Medea's Monologue by Euripides Share Flipboard Email Print PD Courtesy of Wikipedia. Literature Plays & Drama Monologues Basics & Advice Playwrights Play & Drama Reviews Improvisation Games and Activities Best Sellers Classic Literature Poetry Quotations Shakespeare Short Stories Children's Books By Wade Bradford Theater Expert M.A., Literature, California State University - Northridge B.A., Creative Writing, California State University - Northridge Wade Bradford, M.A., is an award-winning playwright and theater director. He wrote and directed seven productions for Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera's youth theater. our editorial process Wade Bradford Updated May 20, 2019 In one of the most chilling monologues in all of Greek Mythology, Medea seeks revenge against the heroic yet callous Jason (the father of her children) by killing her own offspring. Found in the play "Medea" by the Greek writer Euripides, this monologue offers an alternative to the traditional female monologues found in classic literature. In the play, Medea kills her children (offstage) and then flies away on the chariot of Helios, and while many have argued that this play demonizes women, others contend that Medea represents literature’s first feminist heroine, a woman who chooses her own destiny despite the hand she was dealt by the gods. Although not the typical mother character monologue, Madea's monologue is deeply expressive of the difficulty and multiplicity of the emotions love, loss, and revenge, making it a truly excellent audition piece for female actors who want to convey their ability to portray a depth of complex emotions. Full Text of Medea's Monologue Taken from an English translation of the Greek play by Shelley Dean Milman found in The Plays of Euripides in English, vol ii, the following monologue is delivered by Medea upon discovering Jason has left her for the princess of Corinth. Upon this realization that she's been left alone, Madea attempts to take control of her own life and says: O my sons!My sons! ye have a city and a houseWhere, leaving hapless me behind, withoutA mother ye for ever shall reside.But I to other realms an exile go,Ere any help from you I could derive,Or see you blest; the hymeneal pomp,The bride, the genial couch, for you adorn,And in these hands the kindled torch sustain.How wretched am I through my own perverseness!You, O my sons, I then in vain have nurtured,In vain have toiled, and, wasted with fatigue,Suffered the pregnant matron's grievous throes.On you, in my afflictions, many hopesI founded erst: that ye with pious careWould foster my old age, and on the bierExtend me after death—much envied lotOf mortals; but these pleasing anxious thoughtsAre vanished now; for, losing you, a lifeOf bitterness and anguish shall I lead.But as for you, my sons, with those dear eyesFated no more your mother to behold,Hence are ye hastening to a world unknown.Why do ye gaze on me with such a lookOf tenderness, or wherefore smile? for theseAre your last smiles. Ah wretched, wretched me!What shall I do? My resolution fails.Sparkling with joy now I their looks have seen,My friends, I can no more. To those past schemesI bid adieu, and with me from this landMy children will convey. Why should I causeA twofold portion of distress to fallOn my own head, that I may grieve the sireBy punishing his sons? This shall not be:Such counsels I dismiss. But in my purposeWhat means this change? Can I prefer derision,And with impunity permit the foeTo 'scape? My utmost courage I must rouse:For the suggestion of these tender thoughtsProceeds from an enervate heart. My sons,Enter the regal mansion. [Exuent SONS.] As for thoseWho deem that to be present were unholyWhile I the destined victims offer up,Let them see to it. This uplifted armShall never shrink. Alas! alas! my soulCommit not such a deed. Unhappy woman,Desist and spare thy children; we will liveTogether, they in foreign realms shall cheerThy exile. No, by those avenging fiendsWho dwell with Pluto in the realms beneath,This shall not be, nor will I ever leaveMy sons to be insulted by their foes.They certainly must die; since then they must,I bore and I will slay them: 'tis a deedResolved on, nor my purpose will I change.Full well I know that now the royal brideWears on her head the magic diadem,And in the variegated robe expires:But, hurried on by fate, I tread a pathOf utter wretchedness, and them will plungeInto one yet more wretched. To my sonsFain would I say: "O stretch forth your right handsYe children, for your mother to embrace.O dearest hands, ye lips to me most dear,Engaging features and ingenuous looks,May ye be blest, but in another world;For by the treacherous conduct of your sireAre ye bereft of all this earth bestowed.Farewell, sweet kisses—tender limbs, farewell!And fragrant breath! I never more can bearTo look on you, my children." My afflictionsHave conquered me; I now am well awareWhat crimes I venture on: but rage, the causeOf woes most grievous to the human race,Over my better reason hath prevailed. Even Euripides contemporaries found the monologue and play to be shocking to the Athenian audiences at the time, though this may have stemmed more from the artistic liberties Euripides took in retelling Medea's story—the children historically were said to have been killed by the Corinthians, not by Medea—and the play itself was ranked third of three at the Dionysia Festival where it premiered in 431 B.C.