medea (play)


  • While Medea is considered one of the great plays of the Western canon, Euripides’ place in the competition suggests that his first audience might not have responded so favorably.

  • His version also aims to analyze ideas such as the love that develops from the initial passion, problems in the marriage, and the “final hour” of the love between Jason and
    Medea • Kristina Leach adapted the story for her play The Medea Project, which had its world premiere at the Hunger Artists Theatre Company in 2004 and placed the story in a modern-day setting.

  • [46] • In some editions of the theatrical play, Medea would be played as a man instead of a woman to show a unique and perhaps more culturally accepted point of view.

  • The play is also the only Greek tragedy in which a kin-killer makes it unpunished to the end of the play, and the only one about child-killing in which the deed is performed
    in cold blood as opposed to in a state of temporary madness.

  • It is based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and was first produced in 431 BC as part of a trilogy; the two other plays have not survived.

  • Since Jason brought shame upon her for trying to start a new family, Medea resolves to destroy the family he was willing to give up by killing their sons.

  • Her rebellion tells of her past history, the goddess-like figure denigrated and ultimately dethroned gives lead to why she would act the way she does.

  • And yet, if we see events through Medea’s eyes, we view a wife intent on vengeance and a mother concerned about her children’s safety and the life they can be expected to

  • A scholium to line 264 of the play suggests that Medea’s children were traditionally killed by the Corinthians after her escape;[7] so Euripides’ apparent invention of the
    filicide might have offended, as his first treatment of the Hippolytus myth did.

  • This deliberate murder of her children by Medea appears to be Euripides’ invention, although some scholars believe Neophron created this alternate tradition.

  • [42] • Tom Lanoye (2001) used the story of Medea to bring up modern problems (such as migration and man vs. woman), resulting in a modernized version of Medea.

  • [16] Although, Medea is not the only character in the play to use deception; other characters, such as Jason and Creon, also use lies and manipulation.

  • [24] Pausanias, writing in the late 2nd century AD, records five different versions of what happened to Medea’s children after reporting that he has seen a monument for them
    while traveling in Corinth.

  • Perhaps […] you’ve made a match you’ll one day have cause to lament.

  • [32][33] • The 1990 play Pecong, by Steve Carter, is a retelling of Medea set on a fictional Caribbean island around the turn of the 20th century • The play was staged at
    the Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End, in a translation by Alistair Elliot.

  • Medea takes vengeance on Jason by murdering his new wife and her own two sons, after which she escapes to Athens to start a new life.

  • He explains that he could not pass up the opportunity to marry a royal princess, as Medea is only a barbarian woman, but hopes to someday join the two families and keep Medea
    as his mistress.

  • The plot centers on the actions of Medea, a former princess of the kingdom of Colchis, and the wife of Jason; she finds her position in the Greek world threatened as Jason
    leaves her for a Greek princess of Corinth.

  • One interviewee revealed that the writers for the ITV police drama series The Bill had consciously and directly drawn on Medea in writing an episode for the series.

  • Medea’s unexpected power of persuasion or even of fascination lies in her change of attitude: instead of preaching to Creon about the unpopularity of the sophoi she plays
    the role of a desperate mother, needing one day to prepare for exile.

  • Medea resolves to kill her own children as well, not because the children have done anything wrong, but because she feels it is the best way to hurt Jason.

  • While Medea is pleased with her current success she decides to take it one step further.

  • Some believe that this indicates a poor reception,[2][3] but “the competition that year was extraordinarily keen”;[3] Sophocles, often winning first prize, came second.

  • [3] The play was rediscovered with Rome’s Augustan drama; again in the 16th-century; then remained part of the tragedic repertoire, becoming a classic of the Western canon,
    and the most frequently performed Greek tragedy in the 20th century.

  • When this play was put on, this scene was accomplished using the mechane device usually reserved for the appearance of a god or goddess.

  • As Bernard Knox points out, Medea’s last scene with concluding appearances parallels that of a number of indisputably divine beings in other plays by Euripides.

  • • US Latina playwright Caridad Svich’s 2009 play Wreckage, which premiered at Crowded Fire Theatre in San Francisco, tells the story of Medea from the sons’ point of view,
    in the afterlife.

  • [clarification needed] But the violent and powerful character of Medea, and her double nature — both loving and destructive — became a standard for later periods of antiquity.

  • The production was noted (by Nehad Selaiha of the weekly Al-Ahram) not only for its unexpected change of plot at the very end but also for its chorus of one hundred who alternated
    their speech between Arabic and English.

  • • John Fisher wrote a camp musical version of Medea entitled Medea the Musical that re-interpreted the play in light of gay culture.

  • Medea as a mother thinks that her children will be better off killed by her kind hand than left to suffer at the hands of an enemy, intent on vengeance.

  • [23] Her filicide would go on to become the standard for later writers.

  • She was unwilling to let her enemies, in this case Jason and his new wife, be happy or look down upon her.

  • The play’s influence can be seen in the works of later playwrights, such as William Shakespeare.

  • Another staging, produced and directed by Guthrie McClintic at the City Center, premiered on May 2, 1949, and closed, after 16 performances, on May 21.

  • Just like these gods, Medea “interrupts and puts a stop to the violent action of the human being on the lower level, … justifies her savage revenge on the grounds that she
    has been treated with disrespect and mockery, … takes measures and gives orders for the burial of the dead, prophesies the future,” and “announces the foundation of a cult.

  • Jason promises to support her after his new marriage (“If you wish me to give you or the children extra money for your trip into exile, tell me; I’m ready to give it with
    a lavish hand”),[20] but Medea spurns him: “Go on, play the bridegroom!

  • Euripides’ play has been explored and interpreted by playwrights across the centuries and the world in a variety of ways, offering political, psychoanalytical, feminist, among
    many other original readings of Medea, Jason and the core themes of the play.

  • [25] The play’s popularity in ancient Greece may have been due in part to its portrayal of a strong, independent woman who defies patriarchal norms.

  • Crouching at Creon’s feet, she begs him in the name of her children to allow her only one day.

  • • The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea by Cherríe Moraga takes elements of Medea and of other works[45] • 14 July – 4 September 2014 London Royal National Theatre staging of
    Euripides in a new version by Ben Power, starring Helen McCrory as Medea, directed by Carrie Cracknell, music by Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp.

  • The play is set in Corinth some time after Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, where he met Medea.

  • [40] • Neil Labute wrote Medea Redux, a modern retelling, first performed in 1999 starring Calista Flockhart as part of his one act trilogy entitled Bash: Latter-Day Plays.

  • He reveals to her that despite his marriage he is still without children.

  • Medea then appears above the stage with the bodies of her children in a chariot given to her by the sun god Helios.

  • / Many a hopeless matter gods arrange / What we expected never came to pass / What we did not expect the gods brought to bear / So have things gone, this whole experience

  • Determined to stop Medea, the chorus runs after her only to hear the children scream.

  • The play begins with Medea in a blind rage towards Jason for arranging to marry Glauce, the daughter of king Creon.

  • Several times revived, including a 2016/2017 production starring Laila Garin (celebrated for her title role in the highly regarded musical biography of Elis Regina, staged
    in Brasil in 2015).

  • McDonald portrayed the title role, and the show was set in 1890s New Orleans and Chicago respectively.

  • [6] Medea has survived the transplants of culture and time and continues to captivate audiences with its riveting power (Tessitore).

  • She confronts Jason, reveling in his pain at being unable to ever hold his children again: I do not leave my children’s bodies with thee; I take them with me that I may bury
    them in Hera’s precinct.

  • • Jean Anouilh adapted the Medea story in his French drama Médée in 1946 • Robinson Jeffers adapted Medea into a hit Broadway play in 1947, in a famous production starring
    Judith Anderson, the first of three actresses to win a Tony Award for the role.

  • [18] Medea is aware of the humiliating quality of this tactic, but she justifies it on the grounds of a gain and of her need to remain in Corinth: “Do you think that I would
    ever have flattered that man unless I had some gain to make or some device to execute?

  • [15] It can be argued that in the play Euripides portrays Medea out to be an enraged woman who kills her children to get revenge on her husband Jason because of his betrayal
    of their marriage.

  • She married Jason and used her magic powers and advice to help him find and retrieve the golden fleece.

  • [8] That Euripides and others took liberties with Medea’s story may be inferred from the 1st century BC historian Diodorus Siculus: “Speaking generally, it is because of the
    desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out.

  • [1] Medea, along with three other plays,[a] earned Euripides third prize in the City Dionysia.

  • [4] It experienced renewed interest in the feminist movement of the late 20th century,[5] being interpreted as a nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of Medea’s struggle to take
    charge of her own life in a male-dominated world.

  • The Scotsman • In 2000, Wesley Enoch wrote and directed a modern adaptation titled Black Medea, which was first produced by Sydney Theatre Company’s Blueprint at the Wharf
    2 Theatre, Sydney, on 19 August 2000.

  • At this time in myth and history, helping one’s friends and hurting one’s enemies was considered a virtue.

  • [18] In the next scene Jason arrives to explain his rationale for his apparent betrayal.

  • In this version, the main character is seduced by her middle school teacher.


Works Cited

[‘Macintosh, Fiona; Kenward, Claire; Wrobel, Tom (2016). Medea, a performance history. Oxford: APGRD.
o ^ Gregory (2005), p. 3
o ^ Jump up to:a b c Euripides (2001). “Medea”, in Euripides I. David Kovacs (ed. & tr.). Cambridge, MA; London, England:
Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press. p. 277. ISBN 9780674995604.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Helene P. Foley. Reimagining Greek Tragedy on the American Stage. University of California Press, 1 Sep 2012, p. 190
o ^ Jump up to:a b See (e.g.)
Rabinowitz (1993), pp. 125–54; McDonald (1997), p. 307; Mastronarde (2002), pp. 26–8; Griffiths (2006), pp. 74–5; Mitchell-Boyask (2008), p. xx
o ^ Jump up to:a b Allan, William (2002). Euripides: Medea. Duckworth. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781472539779.
o ^
Ewans (2007), p. 55
o ^ This theory of Euripides’ invention has gained wide acceptance. See (e.g.) McDermott (1989), p. 12; Powell (1990), p. 35; Sommerstein (2002), p. 16; Griffiths (2006), p. 81; Ewans (2007), p. 55.
o ^ Diodorus Siculus 4.56
o ^
“Korinthian Women and the Plot Against Medea”. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Hall, Edith. 1997. “Introduction” in Medea: Hippolytus; Electra; Helen Oxford University Press. pp. ix–xxxv.
o ^ Jump up to:a b c
Lootens, Barbara J. (1986). “Images of Women in Greek Drama”. Feminist Teacher. 2 (1): 24–28. ISSN 0882-4843. JSTOR 25680553.
o ^ Macintosh, Fiona (2007). “Oedipus and Medea on the Modern Stage”. In Brown, Sarah Annes; Silverstone, Catherine (eds.).
Tragedy in Transition. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-40-513546-7. [Medea] has successfully negotiated her path through very diverse cultural and political contexts: either by being radically recast as ‘exemplary’ mother and wife,
or by being seen as proto-feminist wrongly abandoned by a treacherous husband.
o ^ Williamson, Margaret (1990). “A Woman’s Place in Euripides’ Medea”. In Powell, Anton (ed.). Euripides, Women, and Sexuality (1st ed.). London, UK: Routledge. pp.
16–31. ISBN 0-415-01025-X.
o ^ DuBois (1991), pp. 115–24; Hall (1991), passim; Saïd (2002), pp. 62–100
o ^ Haralu, L. (2017). Madwomen and Mad Women: An Analysis of the Use of Female Insanity and Anger in Narrative Fiction, From Vilification to
Validation. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. (Accession No. 10643100)
o ^ [Carrie E. Cowherd. “The Ending of the ‘Medea.'” The Classical World, vol. 76, no. 3, 1983, pp. 129–35. JSTOR, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.]
o ^
Jump up to:a b Pucci, Pietro (1980). The Violence of Pity In Euripides’ “Medea”. Vol. 41. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-1190-8. JSTOR 10.7591/j.cttq44w0.
o ^ Medea. 476, 483, 502, trans. Esposito, S. 2004
o ^ Med. 610-12
o ^ Med.
o ^ B.M.W. Knox. Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theatre. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979, p. 303.
o ^ See McDermott 1985, 10-15.
o ^ Hyginus Fabulae 25; Ovid Met. 7.391ff.; Seneca Medea; Bibliotheca 1.9.28
favors Euripides’ version of events, but also records the variant that the Corinthians killed Medea’s children in retaliation for her crimes.
o ^ Pausanias 2.3.6-11
o ^ “Electric Medea holds the stage”. The Globe and Mail, 3 July 1978.
o ^
Dunning, Jennifer (31 August 1986). “KABUKI AND NOH FLAVOR A ‘MEDEA’ IN CENTRAL PARK”. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ “Medea (1982) | APGRD”. University of Oxford.
o ^ “Press File:Medea Theatro Technis 1982 reviews”.
o ^ Chaillet,
Ned (21 January 1982). “Medea”. The Times.
o ^ “Shozo Sato”. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ “Chicago Tribune – Historical Newspapers”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Brown, Joe (19 July 1985). “‘Kabuki Medea’:
Furious Fusion”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Jump up to:a b From the programme and publicity materials for this production.
o ^ Kaggelaris, N. (2016). “Sophocles’ Oedipus in Mentis Bostantzoglou’s”. Κοράλλι: 74–81. Retrieved
1 June 2018. Medea” [in Greek] in Mastrapas, A. N. – Stergioulis, M. M. (eds.) Seminar 42: Sophocles the great classic of tragedy, Athens: Koralli
o ^ Kaggelaris, N. (2017). “”Euripides in Mentis Bostantzoglou’s Medea”, [in Greek] Carpe Diem 2″.
Carpe Diem 2: 379–417. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ David Littlejohn (26 December 1996). “John Fisher: The Drama of Gender”. The Wall Street Journal.
o ^ Archive of the National Theatre of Greece, Euripides’ Medea – Worldwide tour dates and venues
(in Greek).
o ^ Archive of the National Theatre of Greece, Photo of Kostas Triantafyllopoulos as Creon in Euripides’ Medea at the State Theatre of Sydney, Australia on 22 – 24 May 1998″].
o ^ Medea: Anguish, Freeze-Dried and Served With Precision
– New York Times review on Medea accompanied with a picture of Karyofyllia Karambeti (Medea) with Kostas Triantafyllopoulos (Creon) from the opening night at City Center Theatre, Manhattan, New York on 23 September 1998. Peter Marks (picture by Michael
Quan), The New York Times, 25 September 1998. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
o ^ “Theatre Loans – Logbook Loans Provider”. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Lahrissa Behrendt, Contemporary Indigenous Plays Currency Press (2007)
o ^
“‘Medea Project’ in Santa Ana Brings Greek Tragedy to Today”. Orange County Register. 3 August 2016.
o ^ “paperStrangers Performance Group”. 22 August 2012. Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Eschen, Nicole
(University of California, Los Angeles). “The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea (review).” Theatre Journal. Volume 58, Number 1, March 2006 pp. 103–106 | 10.1353/tj.2006.0070 – At: Project MUSE, p. 103
o ^ “이혜영 “‘메디아’는 일생일대의 도전…신화 아닌 오늘날 이야기”” (in
Korean). Asiae. 13 February 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
o ^ “Medea”. IMDb. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Christian Science Monitor Zoe Caldwell’s ‘Medea,’ a theatrical mountaintop; Medea Tragedy by Euripides, freely adapted by Robinson Jeffers.
Directed by Robert Whitehead
o ^ Medea: Freely adapted from the Medea of Euripides (1948) Robinson Jeffers (translator)
o ^ “Medea”. IMDb. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ “OedipusEnders – BBC Radio 4”. BBC. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ “The plot
of Doctor Foster is actually 2,500 years old, reveals writer Mike Bartlett”. Radio Times. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
o ^ de Chantilly, Marc Vaulbert. “Wodhull, Michael”. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press.
doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29818. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
o ^ “The Internet Classics Archive – Medea by Euripides”. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Euripides, 480? BCE-406 BCE (16 February 2005). The Tragedies
of Euripides, Volume I. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Euripides; Murray, Gilbert (1 June 2018). “The Medea. Translated into English rhyming verse with explanatory notes by Gilbert Murray”. New York Oxford University Press – via Internet
o ^ Lucas, F. L., Euripides: Medea; verse translation, with introduction and notes (Oxford University Press, 1924)
o ^ “Medea and Other Plays”. Penguin Classics. 30 August 1963. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ “Medea Μήδεια”.
25 February 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Esposito, S. Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae (2004) ISBN 9781585100484, Focus Publishing
o ^ “Medea by Joseph Goodrich – Playscripts Inc”. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^
“Euripides, Medea (English Text)”.
o ^ “Medea, adapted from Euripides | Playwrights’ Center”. 18 January 2015.
o ^ Fisher, Mark (3 October 2012). “Medea – review”. The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
o ^ Stuttard,
David, Looking at Medea: Essays and a translation of Euripides’ tragedy (Bloomsbury Academic 2014)
o ^ Ewans, Michael ‘Euripides’ Medea; translation and theatrical commentary’ (Routledge 2022)
o ^ Philoctetes, Dictys, and Theristai, all three
of which are now lost
Photo credit:’]