Madea is a play that is like an octopus. It has may have one central theme, but it has many other small themes that are all connected like tentacles to the head. The main theme of the play is revenge. Madea is so consumed with the pain of losing Jason that she can focus on nothing but the revenge she feels she needs to survive. Even in the first moments of the play the Nurse foreshadows the events that we hope will not come to pass when she says, “When they are near [the children], her eyes are fierce, savage like a bull as if she’d trample them with anger”. This is the first moment we get to see that not only is Madea revengeful but also evil in her actions. As the play unfolds we can see that Madea has lost sight of everything but the revenge she seeks to inflict on Jason and his new brides family. She is filled with rage and hatred to the point that she can’t let go of the idea that Jason must suffer at all costs. In addition to the main theme of revenge there are also many other themes that are occurring at the same time.
The first that is obvious is the theme of loyalty. This is the idea that Madea uses as justification of her actions. In Greek society anything that was considered an oath between men or between the gods was taken very seriously. An oath was something that was strong enough for a man to lose his life over if he were to break it. She says several times that Jason has broken an oath between the gods by taking a new wife and leaving her. This theme is strong again when she asks Aegeus to take an oath to protect her when she is exiled. Even at the end of the play she uses this as the reason that her sons are dead. She tells Jason that the reason they are dead is due to the fact that he broke is oath by leaving their marriage.
Another theme that is explored in this play is Manipulation. Madea is able to manipulate several people throughout the play. The first time we see her manipulation is in the scene with Creon. She is able to manipulate him into letting her prepare for her exile and successfully buying herself another day to plot against Jason and Creon’s family. We see this same type of manipulation again when she convinces Jason to allow the sons to give gifts to his wife as a way to save them from exile. As an audience we know she is manipulating him, but each time she is successful.
In addition, this play also has a lot to do with Pride. Several of the characters act in a prideful way and in a way are all punished for their pride. Jason is so proud that he even says for him it is all about the “fame”. He says he married the princess for the name it would give him. He tries to spin this fact to say that he is only doing it to provide for her and their sons better. Later we see him pay for this pride with the loss of his new wife and his sons. Creon is also very prideful and also loses his daughter and his own life to the treachery of Medea.
Madea is a play that reaches a timelessness that any writer would hope to achieve. There is something in the story that grabs you right from the start. The language is…