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Is Medea responsible for her actions?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 578 times Debate No: 75046
Debate Rounds (4)
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1. Responsible is defined as having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one's job or role.
2. Medea had a responsibility of taking care of her children, but could not.
3. Medea was not in the right mindset when she thought of taking away the lives of her children.
4. She recognized that was she was planning to do was wrong, but could not help it.
5. Anger was the "master" of her plans.
6. She recognized that anger was the source of troubles of humankind.
7. The feeling of anger that is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility, that Medea could not control, is mainly what caused her to do such a terrible act.
8. If she could see and think clearly, she would not have done what she did.
9. When a person is angry, that feeling tends to take over and leads them to doing things they wouldn't normally do.
10. Medea questions what is going on with herself, which shows that she cannot think clearly and so her judgement is not well.
11. She acknowledged that her heart was sad which clouded her thoughts. She was letting her emotions get to her, but not on purpose.
13. Therefore, Medea is not responsible for her actions.

Non-controversial premises:
Premise 1 is a definition, 3, Premise 5 and 6 are details from the story and premise 7 (first part) is a definition.

Controversial premises:
Premises 2, 4, 8, and 9, 10, and 11 are controversial because another person may disagree with them or think the opposite.


1. I agree with the definition of, "responsible".
2. Medea did have the responsibility of taking care for her children, and she could, but choose not to.
3. I agree that Medea was not in the right mindset while planning to murder her children, however, an altered or distressed emotional state does not justify premeditated murder.
4. She knew what she was doing was wrong, and she could have helped it because the murder of her children were premeditated, not spontaneous.
5. Anger was indeed the "master" of her plans, however, many people in the world have been just as angry as Medea if not angrier and they do not murder, especially their children.
6. Agreed
7. Agree with the definition of anger. I believe again that she could control her actions of murder since it was planned.
8. She may have been furious, but she was thinking clearly. She was thinking clearly enough to plot such meticulous and cold revenge on her former husband indicates she had the capacity to think clearly, but choose not to.
9. I agree that emotion of anger makes people lapse in judgement, however that doesn't and should not justify that action promoted by anger, especially and action as serious as murder.
10. If she was thinking clearly enough to realize something was going on, then she had the ability to recognize it and fix it.
11. I"m sure deep down she didn't want to kill her children, and acknowledged her heart was sad, but in no way does someone being sad make them incapable or not responsible for such a serious action that bears such heavy consequences.
12. Therefore, Medea was thinking clearly enough to stop herself from murdering her children.
13. Therefore, Medea is responsible for murdering her children.

Non-controversial premise- 1 is a definition, bother agreed upon. 6 was also agreed upon.
Controversial premise- 2,3,4,5,7,8, & 9 because others may disagree based on personal experience or altered opinion of the story.
Debate Round No. 1


2. Agreed that Medea did have the responsibility to take care of her children, but she chose not to do so properly not because she wanted to but because she was not in the right state of mind. If she had been thinking clearly she would have realized that she did not need to do what she did.

3. An altered or distressed emotional state does not justify premeditated murder, but she cannot be held responsible for her actions because of her emotional state. It is clear that she needed help or counseling which would have prevented her from killing her children.

4. She knew what she was doing, but that does not mean she had control over it. The killings may have not been spontaneous but this doesn't mean she wanted to do them. She felt she had no other choice. If she had spoken to someone about it she could have been convinced that there are other ways to deal with her dilemma.

5. Anger has different effects on people. No two people react exactly the same when they are angered. Medea's way of acting was an extreme one which took over her mind and other feelings. She could not have tried to think of a way out of her problem because the anger was consuming her.

8. She may have been able to think clearly about her plan, but this was only because of the anger she felt. Her anger motivated her plans to kill her children but it also clouded her judgement.

11. Her emotional state made her incapable of making the right judgements. There is a strong possibility that there was something more to her emotional state, such as an illness.


2. I agree that she was not thinking clearly, however, that reason alone isnt proper justification for murdering her children.
3. You stated clearly yourself that, "an altered or distressed emotional state does not justify murder." Which I agree with. Unfortunately, people get their hearts broken everyday but they do not kill their children to seek revenage against their former spouse.
4. I agree that sometimes people know what they are doing is wrong, but cannot control it. However, in the instance of Medea, I don't agree, because in the beginning of the story she says, "I cannot, goodbye plans!" She was well aware that was she was planning to do was evil, and had the power once to recant, which tells me she could have again.
5. It is quite obvious that her problem was consuming her and everyone does react differently to their emotions and rage. This does not exempt her from responsibility. It seems she has no past of mental illness or insanity, she was just extremely hurt and was looking for anyway to ease that hurt even at the expense of her own children's lives.
8. Her anger most certainly clouded her judgement, and that is my point. Anger clouds most people's judgement, but that is not a true reason to be exempt of responsibility of murder. Majority of the time people commit murder is because they are angry for one reason or another.
11. There was nothing stated about a previous mental disorder so I cannot find any validity in that.
Debate Round No. 2


3. Her state does not justify what she did. Her actions were wrong, but she clearly needed to be helped. Her actions were not the actions she would've made if she was herself. She clearly was not herself and resorted to what she thought was the only choice. Having her held responsible would not be just because she could not understand fully what she was doing.

4. She planned to do what she did but this does not mean she would do it again. If she were to do it again then it would be even more clear that there is something going on in her head that would require help from a psychologist or such.

5. She may not have a history of mental illness but this can also be because it has only now taken effect. She was so hurt that she could not bear it and felt she needed to do what she did. Anyone in their right mind would take time to evaluate their own feelings and think of the consequences. She did not plan this out with anyone but herself, which made her feel she was in it alone. These feelings clearly had a negative effect on her. It would not be just for her to bear the consequences of her actions without first being evaluated or talked to.

8. Anger played a big role in all of this. It is almost similar to getting drunk and doing things one wouldn't normally do if they were in the right mind. In this situation the being drunk part is replaced with anger. There was a buildup of feelings that caused her to do something she wouldn't do.

11. Illness should be taken into account because one does not simply do such a terrible thing consciously just because they are angry. When people are on trial they usually look to see if the person is actually mentally ill because it would not be just to put them on trial if they are.


3. Regardless if her actions were not the same if she was in her normal state of mind doesn't really matter because you just stated previously that, "her state does not justify what she did." If it cannot justify her actions, how is she not responsible?
4. We can't know if she would do it again, but since she already did it once she needs to be held responsible for it so it cannot happen again being that she clearly seems capable of repeating the same actions.
5. I agree its possible that she may have been suffering from a mental illness, and if that was the case, depending on which illness, she may not have been responsible. Though, since we do not know this for a fact, we can only make assumptions.
8. I agree that being that angry is as powerful as being drunk and having extremely poor judgment. However, when people drive drunk and kill someone, they are still held responsible for their crime.
11. People do commit horrible crimes when they are just purely angry. Some do have mental illness, and if the illness is properly diagnosed and true, then I agree she may not have been responsible for her actions.
Debate Round No. 3


1. We have agreed that being responsible means having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone.
2. Medea had a responsibility and failed to not because she wanted to be cruel but because she was struggling with her emotions and that caused her to act wrongly.
3. Her state of emotion does not change the fact that what she did was wrong but it comes into play with regards to her capability of being responsible for what she did. What she did was wrong but being that she was obviously incapable of making right decisions she should not be held responsible.
4. Making her responsible would not be mean that she could not or would not commit such terrible wrong doings again.
5. Agreed that we can only make assumptions but in this case this assumption of mental illness should be taken into consideration seriously.
6. Anyone who feels this troubled and consumed by such a feeling should be helped and for Medea that did not seem like an option so it wouldn't be just making her responsible without knowing what is really going on with her and her emotions.
7. Again, anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility, that Medea could not control, is mainly what caused her to do such a terrible act.
8. In the case of driving drunk the person knew that they would drink and then have to drive. They decided to make that decision before hand which would make it reasonable to make them responsible for their choices.
9. Therefore, Medea should not be held responsible for her actions.

I have restated my premises where needed and I still stand by my argument that Medea should not be held responsible for her actions


1. We have agreed that being responsible means having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone.
2. Medea conscientiously chose to murder her children because the murders were premeditated.
3. Medea openly admits that what she is doing is wrong, but did it anyway.
4. If Medea was mentally ill with a disorder that could scientifically justify her actions then I would consider her to not be responsible for the murder of her children.
5. Anger doesn't justify Medea's actions or make her any less responsible for murder.
6. We agreed on the definition of anger.
7. Therefore, Medea should be help responsible for her actions.
Debate Round No. 4
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