What attitude toward the classical figure of Medea might Webster’s Victorian audience have been expected to hold?
What are some reasons for framing a monologue by a character well familiar to educated readers?
What is the poem’s opening situation? Why is this a good choice?
What does she first claim are her reactions to the news? What are some indications that we should doubt her word?
Who, if any, is the poem's internal auditor? Does this dramatic monologue resemble those of Robert and Elizabeth Browning?
What seem some traits of Medea's character? Are these all desirable? (deceptive, jealous)
What are we to make of the fact that her vision of Jason is conjured up through Hecate?
Under what circumstances has he died?
What does Medea imagine are Jason’s final emotions as he remembers her? His last words?
Is her vision accurate or a fantasy? Can the reader be certain? What features of her vision would make one suspect it is a fantasy?
For what does she reproach herself in ll. 130-135? With what does she not want to be associated? What does she claim is the reason she is weeping? (wants him to live to regret her)
Is Medea correct that hate is a form of love? What is revealed about her by this view?
What does she admit she has lost by his death? (ll. 134-161) What alternate fate would she have preferred?
What sudden change occurs in l. 177 and following? What emotions does she project on Jason’s ghost? What is the tone of her responses?
What had been her childhood emotions? What acts has she committed for his benefit, or in response to his actions?
For what does she most blame him? Whose loss does she suffer most? Has there been a progression in the inwardness of her thoughts? Her willingness to consider her own degeneration as well as his?
According to her, who or what has been responsible for her fate? Would the Victorian audience have agreed? Would Webster?
How do you think the reader is supposed to view her at the end? Robert Langbaum has suggested that certain dramatic monologues invite the reader to balance sympathy and judgment. Which of these do you think we are intended to feel most toward the Medea of this poem?
What are ways in which this poem is arranged to create a dramatic effect? (sense of unraveling an inner loss)
What do you make of Medea’s final claim, “I have forgotten thee.”
Do you find this an effective poem, and if so, in what ways?