April 6, 2014
Parallels Between Carter and Euripides In both Euripides’ “Medea,” and Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber,” there are several themes that shape the stories these writers created. These parallelisms include violence and revenge, and marriage and infidelity. While they both cover similar themes, the writers interpret them in their own ways. Euripides famous Greek tragedy “Medea,” contains some of the most graphic violence of its time. It includes a very descriptive reading from a messenger in the story: “Consumed by flames, she stood and ran, shaking her head as if to throw the fire off, but the crown tangled tighter in her hair and the blaze roared higher as she fell to the floor and rolled in the unquenchable flames” (Euripides 74). In this episode of madness, Medea has sent an enchanted dress and crown to Jason’s princess to enact revenge against the man she once loved. The descriptive torture and death of both the princess and King Creon hold its own meaning and symbolism. The fire in which they are consumed represents the destruction of Jason’s new family. Medea stole Jason’s love away just like he had done to her. The crown is a symbol for power. When the crown bursts into flames it shows again the destruction of Jason’s family, but also how Medea striped the power of this royal pair. There is such an irony in the gifts that Medea presents to the Princess of Corinth. These gifts, in an ordinary situation, would be seen as gifts of wealth and status. However, because these gifts have been convoluted by Medea’s Power, the dress and crown instead serve the purpose of taking away everything the princess desires.
The violence of this story did not stop here. Later in the story, Medea kills her two sons, which exemplify her role as a woman bent on revenge. She performs this murder by stabbing her two sons to death in her own house. She does this in order to finish off her master plan to ruin her ex-husband’s life. “Since Medea sees her two sons as the physical manifestation of her marital bond to Jason, by killing them she hopes to negate the hurt and humiliation induced by the loss of her relationship with her husband” (Cyrino 9). Medea is torn between feelings when Jason leaves her. She loves her sons very much but she also feels she could not live with the constant reminder of Jason that she sees within her own sons. “Vilest woman! Condemned, hated by the gods, by me, and every human creature. No one but you raised the knife that butchered your children. No one but you destroyed my life” (Euripides 79). This passage shows the agony Jason is going through when he finds that his children have been murdered by the hand of their own mother. This quote shows that Medea ends up getting everything she wants out of this situation. Jason’s claim that the gods hate her is completely false; the carriage that escorts Medea was sent by the god Helios, showing that the god’s favor her. Medea responds by saying that Jason’s betrayal is weighed more heavily by the god’s than the murders she had committed. This shows that the gods condoned the murders, as they were justified by Jason’s betrayal.
There are several instances in the collection of stories from “The Bloody Chamber” that exemplifies the role of violence as a major theme. In the first story, “The Bloody Chamber,” The Marquis is found to be responsible for the murders of his three former wives. “She was pierced, not by one but by a hundred spikes, this child of the land of the vampires who seemed so newly dead, so full of blood… oh God! How recently had he become a widower? How long had he kept her in this obscene cell” (Carter 29)? It is at this moment of the story where the most horrifying event occurs. The narrator finds the dead bodies of her husbands former wives, one of which seemed to have just occurred. This climatic scene also foreshadows what is to be expected of the narrator if