Saturday, April 12, 2008

'Medea' in Form V

Form V are currently studying Medea by Euripides, a story of love gone bad and the terrible revenge taken by the jilted lover, who kills her own children to hurt their father. Here, two pupils give their impressions of the play:

Allen Crampton writes: The play deals with many themes, mainly the suffering of women and how they seek revenge. It is set in Corinth, where Jason has brought Medea after all his travels. He met her on his quest for the Golden Fleece. She helped him, fell in love and had two sons with him. But in Corinth, Jason left her to marry Glauce, who was the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Jason was a social climber.

The play is about how Medea gets her revenge and it is scary to see the lengths she will go to just to get back at him. Throughout, there is a chorus of Corinthian women who set the scene and fill us in on the feelings of the characters as the plot unravels.

Euripides wrote the play for an Athenian audience and it has a note of caution for them. It is about how they should treat women. At that time they were treated badly and had no say in how society was run. Euripides uses Jason and Medea as an example to show what can happen if women are treated badly. Medea is probably one of the first works of feminism. Euripides felt that times were changing and that the rights of women needed to be reviewed.

I particularly liked this play as it showed me what life was like in Greece at the time. It was my first ancient Greek play on the LC course and I felt that it was very accessible and easy to understand. There are many relevant themes that are easily recognisable and I would highly recommend this short work to anyone interested in the classical world.

Katie Murphy writes: Medea is a dramatic and fast-paced play. It tells the story of Medea and Jason and the wrath of a woman jilted in love. Medea was a witch. She married Jason, the old-style Greek hero of the Golden Fleece legend, who in this play is shown as beyond his peak and trying desperately to keep his social status. He has married the king of Corinth's daughter. Medea was not trusted by the people of Corinth as she was a foreigner.

Jason was aware of what Medea was like before he left her. She had murdered her own brother for him in the past. But in his blind stupidity, he ignored this. She is a very proud woman and she hurts very deeply and wants to hurt Jason as he has hurt her. At the very start of the play we hear that she is mad with love for Jason and will hurt him no matter what it does to her - even if it leaves her childless.

The play has very strong themes: the pain of exile, children and the blindness of arrogance. It shows how in ancient Greece men were seen as infinitely superior to women. So. strong women were often overlooked. As in this case, this can lead to disaster. No one feared Medea as they should, so they underestimated how far she would go in order not to lose face.

The play is a perfect picture of the power of love and how strong hate can be when love goes wrong.

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