Medea and Antigone


Essay #2 ENG 1100

Compare and contrast Medea and Antigone as two ancient women similar in courage but different in character.

In Euripides Medea and Sophocles Antigone we saw the two leading women having similar and very different at the same time personalities. They are similar in their stoic courage, strong will and defiance but their differences are what made the one repulsive and the other admirable.

From the very beginning we can tell that Antigone acts out of love and love alone for Polynices. This is best described with the verse “I was made for fellowship in love, Not fellowship in hatred.” (pp.20, Antigone) Even though Medea started out with a passionate love for Jason, it then turned into a passionate hatred making her thirsty for revenge. Love and high ideals come to play here against hatred and self interest.

Although both Medea and Antigone defy human laws, each one does it with different motives at heart. Antigone defies Creon’s laws in order to obey the divine laws of proper burial, even though this means her own death. This shows her faithfulness to the gods. Medea tries to take justice into her own hands thinking that in this way she’s acting according to divine laws and that she will have the gods’ support. At the end all she accomplishes is to fulfill her own ego and pride.

Antigone defies, in a way, her female nature by acting against Creon’s orders, something unheard of at the time. As a result, Antigone is very straight forward burying Polyneices out in the open. Medea might also be defiant but her sky female nature will manipulate the means she is most familiar with: deceitfulness and witchcraft.