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June 2, 2017

5

Medea

by N@ncy

 

Introduction:

Colchis on the Black Sea

  1. This is back round information not in the play:
  2. Medea is a woman in Greek mythology.
  3. She was the daughter of the king of Colchis,
  4. granddaughter of Heilios the sun god and later 
  5. …wife of the hero Jason.
  6. They had two children Mermeros and Pheres.
  7. Janson leaves Medea when Creon the king of Corinth
  8. …offers him his daughter Glauce.
  9. The play tells of a insanely jealous Medea
  10. …who gets her revenge on her husband for his betrayal.

Characters:

Medea, the princess of Colchis
Jason, Medea’s husband, a great hero
Glauce, Jason’s new wife, the princess of Corinth
Creon, Glauce’s father, the king of Corinth
Aegeus, the king of Athens
Medea’s nurse, who delivers the prologue of the play
Jason’s sons

 

  1. Theme:  revenge
  2. Timeline: 1 day
  3. Setting:   431 BC,  Corinth Greece

Structure:

  1. The play is short (31 pages) with no specific division into acts or scenes.
  2. Medea laments the cause of her grief and
  3. …shares her plot for revenge which foreshadows her actions.
  4. Prologue:  Nurse:  speaks  to the audience with backround information and
  5. …the central problem of the play.
  6. Parodos: enter of the chorus (sing, dance)
  7. Episodes: action of the drama alternated with spoken passages by the chorus (odes)
  8. Exodus:  at the end of the play, the chorus gives some piece of final wisdom.

The play begins…

  1. Medea and Jason settle in Corinth.
  2. They have lived together for some years and have 2 sons.
  3. The play starts
  4. ….the nurse and tutor whisper the gossip…
  5. Jason is  leaving his wife to marry Glauce.
  6. Medea wails with grief and hates the sight of her children!

Core of the play:

  1. Medea’s reaction to news of Jason’s marriage.
  2. — the terrible revenge she decides to take against Jason.
  3.  — the difficulties of women in ancient Greece.

Main focus of the play:

  1. Euripides stresses the horrifying details
  2. ….as Medea plans  to kill her two sons with her own hands.
    — her decision to kill the children
    — her following through on it
    — the result this has on Jason

Highlights of the play:

  1. Medea is portrayed as a ‘wronged wife’, a victim.
  2. Marriage is inevitable:
  3. — we women are among the most unfortunate creatures
  4. …to take for our bodies a master for not to take one is even worse.
  5. Women have an easy life:
  6. — how wrong they (men) are,
  7. I would very much rather stand three times in the
  8. …front of battle than bear one child.”

We must not forget Jason:

  1. In the great scene of confrontation
  2. Medea reminds Jason she saved him
  3. and now he has betrayed her.
  4. Jason says:
  5. yes she saved him but he…brought her to Greece, a civilized country.
  6. Jason says:
  7. he decided to marry Glauce …also to benefit Medea and their children.
  8. They would have had a ‘connection’
  9. …to the royal household and a protection for them.

Conclusion:

  1. Medea is a character without a home.
  2. She is cut off from her father by marrying Jason without permission.
  3. Then gets herself banished from Corinth by vowing revenge on Jason.
  4. With no home and no husband Medea’s life  in Greek society
  5. would be little better than that of a slave.
  6. There is a very thin line between love and hate in this play.
  7. Medea is a desperate woman pushed over the edge.
  8. She is even driven to kill her own children.
  9. Medea lives the rest of her days in an unhappy exile
  10. grieving for her murdered young boys.
  11. I read Medea on the Kindle
  12. …while listening to the audio book.
  13. Narrated by:  Judith Anderson and A. Quayle .
  14. Length: 1 hr and 8 mins 
  15. I choose the abridged audio book because the
  16. unabridged was awful to listen to.
  17. Always sample before you buy!
  18. The difference between both versions was 20 minutes.
  19. I compensated this by reading the play while listening.
  20. Once and a while a small bit of  ‘quick dialouge’ was omitted.

Last thoughts:

  1. This was one of the most depressing plays I’ve ever read.
  2. But this play is an iconic role for women!
  3. I wanted to see the play on DVD.
  4. Olivia Sutherland (2016) that has gotten rave reviews in Medea.
  5. I’ve seen a small 4 min clip on  You Tube.
  6. Unfortunately the actress is very young and did not have
  7. the gravitas for such an evil woman.
  8. I think if I could ever find the video ….
  9. Diana Rigg would be the best version.
  10. Broadway, Longacre Theater  appearance in Medea in 1994. (these 2 pictures)
  11. She won  1994 Tony Award for Best Performance for a leading actress.

1993 production of Medea at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Louise Minervino
    Jun 3 2017

    Thanks for the review. I didn’t know the story.

    Reply
    • Jun 3 2017

      The main character even has place in medical dictionaries: Medea complex!

      Reply
  2. This play is coming up soon in one of my Goodreads groups. The little I’ve read about Medea is rather appalling. Still, I’m looking forward to reading this play. Thanks for the excellent overview! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jun 4 2017

      The play is very good, taut, compact and chorus was pleading with Medea not to kill her children….just a I was!
      It is a great psychological study of a woman scorned!
      Quick read – great insights into tragedy.

      Reply

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