ADVANTAGES

Continuing the examination of oaths in tragedy, Arlene Allan turns to Euripides' and argues that Medea's claim that Jason had given her a sworn pledge of loyalty should be regarded as a fabrication. Allan notes that as a result of an increased appreciation of the role of oaths in the "the form Medea's vengeance takes becomes understandable in terms of a generally held Greek belief that oath-breakers, along with their property and progeny, should be and would be wholly destroyed" (113). However, Allan argues that Euripides' use of oaths in the play is not straightforward, and that Jason's alleged promise to Medea is meant to be read as yet another in a long line of fabrications and manipulations of the truth that Medea employs throughout the action of the play. Allan demonstrates that the audience is given no reason to accept the validity of Medea's claim "except through appeal to the theatrical convention which requires that the audience willingly suspend their disbelief and take what a character says at face-value" (123). We therefore cannot conclude with any degree of certainty that Jason is an oath-breaker who deserves the loss of his children as punishment.

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