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The most controversial of the Greek tragedians, Euripedes is also the most modern in his sympathies, a dramatist who handles the complex emotions of his characters with extraordinary depth and insight.
Euripedes’s play is based on the myth of Jason and Medea, but gives it a decidedly feminist slant. Many critics have read the play as the first example of feminist theatre, seeing Medea as a feminist heroine. Others have argued that Euripedes is showing us how a woman shouldn’t behave. All the action of the play takes place in Corinth, and Jason has left Medea in order to marry King Creon’s daughter Glauce, despite the sacrifices that Medea originally made to marry Jason and her protection of him henceforth. Medea plots to murder Glauce and her father by sending them poisoned golden robes which they won’t be able to resist wearing. After she receives the news that Glauce has been poisoned and her father through trying to save her, Medea then decides to murder her children (offstage) to hurt Jason. She is seen at the end in the skies in a chariot, emphasizing her successful revenge. Both a fierce and sympathetic portrayal, the character of Medea is an example of a person’s desire for revenge and justice as a result of being personally wronged.
A student edition of this challenging and popular tragedy with notes and commentary.
Translated by J.Michael Walton.