Who is Medea?

Medea

by Euripides

A Tragedy of Epic Jealousy and Revenge. There are no better words to describe Medea’s story…

The play shocked its Greek audience when it was first performed at the Dionysian Festival in 431 BCE. In the opening scene, the nurse/narrator tells us that Medea and Jason have lived together for some time as husband and wife in Corinth, but theirs is a troubled union.

Medea was the daughter of the king of Colchis, and was also a priestess of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. When Jason came to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece, she used her magic to help him through the three tasks the king made him do.

In exchange for her help, Jason took her back to Greece and married her, but in time his ambitions to become a king, led him to announce his plans to marry Princess Glauce, the daughter of Creon (king of Corinth). Medea was instructed to flee the country and to leave her two boys with Jason. The betrayal by her husband and Medea’s revenge dominate the play.

In the end, Medea kills Glauce and King Creon with a robe that is stained with poison. She then, most tragically, slaughters both of her children to cause the most pain she could to Jason.

Top left: The Golden Fleece by Herbert James Draper, 1864-1920. 1904. Oil on canvas, 155 x 272.5 cm. Courtesy of Bradford Museums, Galleries & Heritage (Cartwright Hall). Scenes from Medea (1969) directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Thessalus & Medea

by Jan Hendrik Verstraten

An original short story that brings the character Medea resolution by way of another betrayal…

It was quite common in Ancient Greece that stories would know multiple versions, and it’s no surprise that there are many different accounts as to what truly happened to Jason & Medea’s children. One version tells us that Thessalus, was the son of Jason and Medea and the twin of Alcimenes, who escaped being murdered by his mother. This idea is the inspiration behind Thessalus & Medea.

The story begins with two Greek warriors entering Medea’s house. One of them is Thessalus.

Medea, an oracle and exiled queen, defiant and regal, will have to face her son. He has come to kill her, but in this story, the truth about what really happened in her past is left unanswered.

Medea appears ice cold and yet still shows a compassion for her only living child. When facing each other, Thessalus challenges her about what truly happened in the past.

Medea’s life up to this point, had come to a standstill – like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations; however, it now takes a new turn, which brings a resolution to both characters…

Medea (1969) directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, starring the beautifully talented Maria Callas.

 

 

 



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