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HorkosThe Oath in Greek Society$
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Alan Sommerstein and Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Masters of Manipulation

Masters of Manipulation

Euripides' (and Medea's) Use of Oaths in Medea

(p.113) 10 Masters of Manipulation

Arlene Allan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter analyses the use of oaths in Medea, a play by Euripides. It argues that a crucial feature of the prehistory to the action – the sworn pledge of loyalty which Medea claims that Jason gave her – ought to be perceived as a fabrication by Medea. The chapter shows that Jason did not give such an oath; if he did, his breach of faith would be unforgivable (and inevitably disastrous). It begins with a brief overview of the bond-making rituals used and/or assumed in Medea before turning to a discussion of two important scenes: the agōn between Jason and Medea; and Medea's supplication of Aigeus. Finally, the chapter considers whether Jason is an oath-breaker and raises the possibility that he may have defaulted on the terms of a pistis.

Keywords:   oaths, Medea, Euripides, loyalty, supplication, rituals, agōn, pistis, Aigeus

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