The Psychology of Medea and Dido
An attempt to understand the minds of Euripides’ character, Medea and Vergil’s character, Aneid.
The paper analyzes how the authors approach the representation of the two women’s characters and actions by considering their social and psychological makeups and how that impacts upon their deeds. The characters are compared and contrasted in depth and their many similarities portrayed.
In an effort to understand Euripides’ representation of Medea and Vergil’s representation of Dido, it is useful to clarify the central issues and themes of the works in which these characters appear. Both Medea, and the story of Dido in The Aeneid portray patterns of human behavior in situations of stress. In both cases said stress is caused by a similar factor: passion. Violent passion tends to cause people to behave differently from how they would normally act. This is so regardless of whether the passion is love or hate. Indeed, there is a relationship of unity between these apparent opposites and a person may oscillate between the two feelings as, for example, Amnon did when in his passion for Tamar in the biblical story: the hate with which he hated her [became] greater than the love with which he loved her (Samuel 2 13:15). In both of the stories we are discussing, a particular event serves as the catalyst that triggers this stark reversal of feelings. However, each of the female protagonists to whom this happens deals with her pain in a unique manner, befitting her psychological makeup.