Are There Topics that Cannot Be Treated in Literature

Rather than limiting the types of topics that can be addressed, or attempting to classify topics into a hierarchy of worthiness, it is important to appreciate the utter truth that both Euripides and Catullus attempt to express, each in their own way, regarding the human condition.

In ‘Medea’, the character Medea, a descendent of the sun god Helios, forsakes her father, her country and her heritage in order to marry Jason. After she has given him two sons, Jason decides he would rather be married to the princess Glauce, daughter of Creon. Although she has been banished from the kingdom by Creon so that she might do no further harm to his daughter, Medea is able to convince the king to allow her to stay just one more day. She then sends her sons to the new bride with poisonous gifts that kill her. Then Medea kills her own two sons in order that no one else might harm them and whisks their bodies off “to Hera’s domain” in a chariot pulled by a dragon so that Jason will not even have the comfort of seeing them properly buried. In this play, Medea is portrayed as a violent woman, subject to inappropriate fits of temper even for the time period in which she lives. “The inconsistency of Medea’s character, and her fluctuation between conflicting motives, were censured by some ancient critics. but it is a striking proof of their narrowness and insensibility, that they should have selected for criticism what is now generally regarded as the finest portion of the work” (Haigh, 1896).

Despite the fact that Medea was an ancient traditional tale, Euripides brought new light on the subject by causing the mother to deliberately commit the murders of her sons. Although infanticide had been a common practice at many times throughout history, it was rarely featured as a primary feature of literature. When the topic of infanticide was featured in stories, such as in the stories of&nbsp.Abraham and Isaac or in Agamemnon and Iphigenia, it was not done so with the primary purpose of illustrating the psychology of the main character as it is used by Euripedes.&nbsp.