Similarities of Medea, Oedipus, and the Aeneid


Among other ideas, Medea, Oedipus, and the Aeneid have a common line of death that was as a result of a conflict between a man and a woman, and an attempt to change destiny. The tragedy similarities revolve mainly around death, betrayal, guilt and failure to change the predetermined destiny.

The women of these tales could not see life beyond the pain that had been afflicted on them. They chose death as their solution and easier way to deal with the devastation. They were moved by a love gone sour and an inner conflict to choose love over pain. Dido and Medea could not see life beyond being abandoned by their lovers. Life had no meaning without them. It was easier to die than to live with emptiness and a constant reminder that the lives they had cherished with their spouses were just but memories, a flower here today and gone tomorrow. In the play Medea by Euripides, Medea is betrayed by Jason, who leaves Medea and decides to settle with his wife. This happens despite Medea’s dedication and devotion towards Jason to a point of killing her own brother (Lusching 5). This betrayal breaks Medea and fills her with anger and decides to take revenge on Jason by killing Jason’s new wife, and her own children (Lusching 20) all in a bid to end Jason’s family line.

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Dido gives up her duties as the queen and lost her integrity and good reputation by falling madly in love and giving her full attention to Aeneas only for him betray her and focus on his quest (Marlowe and Nash). She became filled with madness and anger and killed herself for she could not live without Aeneas (Marlowe and Nash)

There is a conflict of guilt in knowing their belief system had been faulted. Jocasta had been constantly warned by many fates and prophecies that floated around her from the time she was married to King Laius and even in her union with Oedipus. She always advised Oedipus that such things were just tales that never came true. When she finally understands the twists and turns of life, she cannot find it in her to forgive herself for missing the signs (Ewans 122).

Jocasta’s and Dido’s acts are seen to be of a lesser evil than Medea, who takes the lives of innocent children (Lusching). However, the same atmosphere of doom lingers around the three women, who satisfy the society’s outlook of women as weak, inferior and dependent on their emotions.

Conclusively, the three plays are characterized by death of surrounding women. The women resort to death when the men in their lives become a source of torture, devastation and turmoil.


Works Cited

Ewans, Michael. Opera from the Greek: Studies in the Poetics in Appropriation. Routledge, 2007.

Lusching, C.A.E. “Euripides’ Medea.” The Stoa Consortium (2006): 1-39. Document. 09 03 2018. <>.

Marlowe, Christopher and Thomas Nash. Dido, queen of Carthage : A Tragedy. London: HURST, ROBINSON, AND CO., 1594. <>.