In both the books Medea by Euripides and Beloved by Toni Morrison a mother commits what could be seen as justified infanticide.In both books we see these crimes denounced by the communities surrounding these women and we are also given however, arguments that could justify these actions in a sense.In fact, although it can be said that Sethe feels guilt over her actions neither woman truly consider what they did to be a crime.They both make arguments to themselves and to other people that essentially absolve themselves from any punishment for that crime because they were both in situations where they felt they were almost forced to commit infanticide.One thing we are never actually told directly in either novel is the author's views towards the crime of infanticide in situations such as these women find themselves in.In comparing both books, however, I hope to find evidence no matter how subtle that points to some difference between how Euripides wants us to see Medea and how Toni Morrison wants us to see Sethe.
In Medea we have a character whofirst of all is used to murder.From her background we know that she has killed members of her own family.On her way to Iolcus she kills her own brother and dumps his body overboard in order to slow down her pursuers.So from the beginning the audience already knows her capacity for cold blooded murder.In this sense then, Euripides cannot truly expect us to be surprised that her as a woman and mother would have the capacity to kill her own children.So considering her character before she got wronged by Jason the readers have no reason to sympathize with her.She is the daughter of a king already born of privilege.If there is one aspect of her character that is overly emphasized it would be her cleverness.Her part in the killing of Pelias shows what she will do for advancement and shows just how much she values life.So far, this gives the reader no reason at all t…


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