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In the footsteps of Medea : a thematic exploration from Euripides to Magnuson Lloyd, Ingeborg Elisabeth 1975

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"  '  IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MEDEA  (A THEMATIC EXPLORATION FROM EURIPIDES TO MAGNUSON)  Ingehorg.rElisabeth Lloyd B.A. University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1971  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL .^FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  ;"  i n the d i v i s i o n of Comparative L i t e r a t u r e  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1975  In  presenting this  thesis  an advanced degree at the I  Library shall  f u r t h e r agree  for  this  written  the requirements f o r  the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia,  make i t  freely available  that permission  representatives. thesis  for  I agree  r e f e r e n c e and  f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f  It  is understood that  f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l  this  that  study. thesis  Comparative  U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h  2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  Literature  Columbia  copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  not be allowed without my  permission.  Department of The  fulfilment of  s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or  by h i s of  in p a r t i a l  ABSTRACT This study attempts to trace three themes of the Medea-story from Euripides to the 20th century.  F i r s t of a l l , Euripides' Medea i s  established as a model to which Seneca's Medea c o n s t i t u t e s an almost d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed point of view.  Most of the l a t e r plays range  between these two poles, but the treatment of the m a t e r i a l v a r i e s from p l a y to play. Medea's crime - the murder of her c h i l d r e n and of Creusa - i s the theme explored f i r s t .  In the l a t e r plays t h i s crime i s no longer  seen as a complete and i n d i v i s i b l e act of revenge:  from the 17th century  onwards the motives f o r the c h i l d murder and the revenge on Creusa are no longer the same.  The i n f a n t i c i d e , more often than not, does not form  a part of Medea's revenge on Jason but i s caused by circumstances beyond her c o n t r o l ( e s p e c i a l l y i n Glover's, K l i n g e r ' s , Legouve's, and Alvaro's p l a y s ) .  Anderson's  The murder of her c h i l d r e n ceases to be the care-  f u l l y planned and executed deed i t was i n Euripides' Medea but happens on the spur of the moment. While the e a r l y Medeas e x i t i n triumphant e x u l t a t i o n at the end of the p l a y , i n the most recent plays  (Lenormand,  Anderson, Alvaro, Braun, Csokor) Medea and Jason are both defeated, a l though her revenge i s s t i l l s u c c e s s f u l . The second part of the study explores the development i n the p o r t r a y a l of Medea and Jason i n d i v i d u a l l y and of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between them.  The v a r i e t y i n Medea-portrayals i s wide-ranging: -She can be l  an admirable and extraordinary woman or a monstrous w i t c h , a supern a t u r a l being beyond human understanding or a wretched v i c t i m of  ii  circumstances. Jason.  There also has been a marked change i n the p o r t r a y a l of  While Euripides exposes him as a despicable and s e l f — r i g h t e o u s  character and condemns him because he does not l i v e up to the image of a Homeric hero, the most recent plays (Lenormand, Anderson, Magnuson) portray him as a mere adventurer - a new breed of hero - whose f a i l i n g s are inherent i n h i s nature.  The image of tile c l a s s i c a l hero has been  lost. The increased r o l e of sex i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Medea and Jason i s stressed from the 17th century onwards by the emergence of Creusa as a f u l l y developed and important character i n the play. Throughout the years more a t t e n t i o n has also been focussed on the c h i l d r e n and on the e f f e c t s of the marriage break-rdown on t h e i r l i v e s . G a l l a d e i , G r i l l p a r z e r , Legouve,  (Dolce,  Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson, Alvaro)  F i n a l l y , the paper traces the general change i n a t t i t u d e towards Medea which has occurred through the centuries.  One of the most s t r i k i n g  features emerging i n the modern p l a y s i s the absence of a v i c t o r i n the struggle between Medea and Jason and, e s p e c i a l l y i n the post-Freudian p l a y s , (Lenormand, Anderson, Magnuson), the s h i f t i n g of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y from the i n d i v i d u a l onto the society or on to other forces beyond man's control.  The v a r i e t y of explanations offered f o r Medea's a c t i o n tends  to reduce the importance of her crime and i n some cases almost absolves her from g u i l t altogether. Through the years several s o c i a l and s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l issues have been incorporated i n t o the Medea-story. .One of the themes r a i s e d ;  already by Euripides . which reappears c o n s i s t e n t l y i s that of the stranger and barbarian i n a c i v i l i z e d s o c i e t y .  iii  The 20th century, f o r instance,  introduces  r a c i a l discrimination to highlight Medea's "otherness."  (Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson, J e f f e r s , Alvaro, Magnuson). Although i t has proven to be impossible  to discern a national  trend i n the treatment of the Medea-story, a f a i n t h i s t o r i c a l pattern can be seen to emerge.  Seneca's Medea appears to have been the favourite  model during the Renaissance (Galladei, de Laperuse) and the 17th century (Corneille, Longepierre),  but from the 18th century onwards Euripides'  Medea enjoyed the greater popularity amongst the writers recasting the story.  (Glover, Klinger, Grilparzer, Legouve).  In the 20th century,  however, the plays seem to range from one extreme (Anouilh, Braun) to the other (Anderson, Csokor, Euripides' play predominates.  Alvaro), although the preference given to The general f i n d i n g of t h i s study i s that  the Medea-story fascinates every new  generation  fresh source of i n s p i r a t i o n for writers.  iv  and continues to be a  TABLE OF CONTENTS Page I. II. III.  Introduction  1  Euripides' Medea - Summary of the Play  6  Medea's Crime  16  (1)  Euripides  16  (2)  Seneca  25  (3)  Renaissance - de Laperuse - Galladei - Dolce  35  (4)  17th Century - Corneille - Longepierre  47  (5)  18th Century - Lessing - Glover - Gotter - Klinger  5 3  (6)  19th Century - Grillparzer - Lucas - Legouve  6 1  (7)  20th Century - Attempt at conclusion (a) before 1939 - Jahnn - Lenormand - Anderson (b) a f t e r 1945 - Jeffers - Anouilh - Csokor - Alvaro - Braun  .  69  - Magnuson IV.  The Relationship Between'Jason arid Medea  8 4  CD  Euripides  8 4  (2)  Seneca  9 4  v 0  (3)  Renaissance - de Laperuse - Galladei - Dolce  (4)  17th Century - Corneille - Longepierre  (5) . 18th Century - Lessing - Glover - Glotter - Klinger (6)  19th Century - Grillparzer - Lucas - Legouve  (7)  20th Century - Attempt at Conclusion (a) before 1939 - Jahnn - Lenormand - Anderson (b) after 1945 - Jeffers - Anouilh - Csokor - Alvaro - Braun - Magnuson  Changing Attitudes Towards Medea (1)  Euripides  (2)  Seneca  (3)  Renaissance - de Laperuse - Galladei - Dolce  (4)  17th Century - Corneille - Longepierre  vi  Page  VI.  (5)  18th Century - Lessing - Glover - Gotter - Klinger  159  (6)  19th Century - Grlllparzer - Lucas - Legouve  161  (7)  - 20th Century — Attempt at conclusion (a) before 1939 — Jahnn — Lenormand — Anderson (b) after 1945 — Jeffers — Anouilh — Csokor — Alvaro — Braun — Magnuson  165  Bibliography  176  (1)  Medea-plays  176  (2)  Comparative Studies  178  (3)  Other Secondary  179  Works  •o VII.  Appendix (1)  Medea-plays l i s t e d i n chronological order  183  (2)  SummariesvofStheiibast s i x plays  184  vii  MEDEA:  Sind w i r wieder verbunden?  JASON:  Von Ewigkeit her.  MEDEA:  Dass du schuldig an mir w i r s t ?  JASON:  Dass du mich a l l e r Schuld z e i h s t .  MEDEA:  Aber anders wie einst?  JASON:  Immer anders! Franz Theodor Csokor, Medea P o s t b e l l i c a , V o r s p i e l .  viii  I.  INTRODUCTION  The legend of the sorceress Medea - saviour of Jason and the Argonauts and murderess of her own c h i l d r e n - i s an ancient one. Euripides was probably the f i r s t to present t h i s t a l e i n dramatic form as he was the f i r s t to represent the a c t i o n on a r e a l i s t i c human plane. He succeeded i n combining ancient myth and human r e a l i t y i n t o a great tragedy.  Of the many w r i t e r s who have through the centuries r e t o l d  Medea's s t o r y , t r y i n g to improve or modernize i t , not one has been able to stay so close to the myth without l o s i n g touch w i t h r e a l i t y or without s a c r i f i c i n g the myth to r e a l i t y .  Through the years some of the elements  of the o r i g i n a l play seem to have l o s t i n meaning, and were ignored or replaced by l a t e r w r i t e r s ; others have gained i n importance and were stressed and expanded.  However, the impact of Euripides' play i s s t i l l  great and stands unchallenged, although many of these l a t e r w r i t e r s have contributed valuable m o d i f i c a t i o n s or additions to the o r i g i n a l s t o r y which, i n some instances, have become part of the m a t e r i a l transmitted from generation to generation. The f i r s t one to present a Medea-play, which stands i n many respects i n d i r e c t contrast to the Euripidean one, was Seneca who  por-  trays Medea as a monstrous w i t c h to whom human moral standards no longer apply.  At the beginning of E u r i p i d e s ' p l a y Medea seems to be defeated  while Jason i s at the height of h i s g l o r y , at the end, however, t h e i r p o s i t i o n s are reversed.  On the other hand  Seneca, whose Medea has no  redeeming f e a t u r e s , presents a gradual crescendo of e v i l ending i n a v e r i t a b l e orgy of d e s t r u c t i o n , but Jason remains unbroken and d e f i a n t .  2  From an extraordinary woman Medea has been transformed  into a supernatural  demon-like being, exemplifying the e v i l s of uncontrolled passions.  Fur-  thermore i n the Senecan play, the children are to be taken from Medea i n any case, and their murder i s therefore no longer the deliberate, c a r e f u l l y planned deed i t was i n the e a r l i e r play. Euripides' and Seneca's plays represent opposite poles i n the treatment of the Medea-story between which, most other plays range, a l though some of the d i s t i n c t and opposing features of these two plays have eventually become merged i n the more recent plays.  In the 16th  and 17th century there seems to have been an i n c l i n a t i o n to follow i n Seneca's footsteps and only l a t e r Euripides appears to have become the author most emulated.  In the 20th century, however, we find a f u l l range  of plays, touching both poles and even going beyond the l i m i t s set by the c l a s s i c a l plays.  The t r a d i t i o n a l pattern appears to have been expanded  by the writers of this  century.  The Medea-material serves as a framework for a problem fundamental to human existence, that i s , the c o n f l i c t i n the relationship between man, the future-oriented adventurer  and conqueror, and woman, the preserver of  the family, the hearth and the past.  The story presents the writer with  a basic configuration within which a solution to c o n f l i c t must be found: Medea, betrayed by Jason and murderess of her own children. Within the framework each writer presents h i s own answer to the problem, an explanation which d i f f e r s from play to play. For l a t e r writers the necessity to make the child-murder credible has always been one of the Medea-story's greatest challenges.  This task  3  has become i n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t through the years.  In our  age,  c h i l d r e n are no longer regarded as v i t a l f o r the preservation of a man's fame and t h e i r death i s no longer imperative f o r Jason's d e s t r u c t i o n . New explanations have therefore been found f o r Medea's a c t i o n . In some plays the child-murder i s hardly a crime any more.  In others, i t has  ceased to be a dramatic or p s y c h o l o g i c a l n e c e s s i t y , but i s merely used as the t r a d i t i o n a l ending to a well-known story. In E u r i p i d e s ' p l a y Medea's tragedy s t a r t s at the point where the extenuating circumstances end.  A l l subsequent attempts to e x p l a i n  Medea's deed, to f i n d reasons and excuses have wrought a change i n Medea herself.  No longer i s she the determined being who d e l i b e r a t e l y chooses  to do e v i l from which she knows she w i l l s u f f e r g r e a t l y but which w i l l revenge her i n j u r e d honour.  Necessity, i n s a n i t y , love or other circum-  stances beyond her c o n t r o l force Medea to commit her crime.  The  child-  murder becomes a product of the s i t u a t i o n and i s no longer a s e l f - w i l l e d act.  Medea becomes a v i c t i m of her own deed. Medea's helplessness i s further stressed by the fact that she i s  a homeless stranger and, i n the most recent p l a y s , of d i f f e r e n t race or colour.  Moreover, Medea acts no longer p r i m a r i l y to protect her i n j u r e d  honour i n the l a t e r plays. on Creusa.  Sexual jealousy spurs her on to her revenge  Driven to her deeds by n e c e s s i t y or passion, she can no longer  be held f u l l y responsible f o r her crimes. But not only Medea has been transformed through the centuries.; Jason, too, has been changed from avclassical hero i n t o a common adventurer. Euripides already exposes Jason as a non-hero because he did not achieve  4  anything without Medea's help and because he broke h i s oath to Medea, but Euripides d i d not destroy the heroic i d e a l .  Jason's transformation  into an adventurer - the modern image of the hero - reveals the b r i t t l e ness of heroism i t s e l f . deeds or omissions.  The flaw l i e s w i t h i n and i s not caused by Jason's  Euripides thus removes the Homeric hero from h i s  pedestal while l a t e r plays destroy the myth of heroism as such. The negation of heroism i s connected w i t h a r e f u s a l to accept personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y .  G u i l t s h i f t s from the i n d i v i d u a l to the gods,  to f a t e , to s o c i e t y or other forces outside man himself.  Individual guilt  has thus gradually disappeared but so has the f i n a l triumph - there i s no v i c t o r at the end.  Both Medea and Jason are defeated.  The only d i f f e r e n c e  between them l i e s i n the degree of i n s i g h t gained through t h e i r s u f f e r i n g . I t has proven to b e ' d i f f i c u l t , i f not impossible, to i s o l a t e d e f i n i t e n a t i o n a l or h i s t o r i c a l trends i n the treatment of the Medeastory.  Moreover, the f i n d i n g s have not revealed very s i g n i f i c a n t patterns.  I t i s , f o r example, not p a r t i c u l a r l y r e v e a l i n g that the most c r u e l and cold-hearted Medeas are portrayed i n some of the French plays. more Medea-plays have been w r i t t e n i n  Although  French and German than i n any other  language, they vary widely and often stand i n sharp contrast to each other, so that i t would be mere conjecture  to say whateparticular feature of the  story, i f any, a t t r a c t e d a p a r t i c u l a r n a t i o n a l i t y .  A l l the I t a l i a n w r i t e r s  are concerned about the f a t e of the c h i l d r e n , but then so are w r i t e r s of other nations.  And the three American plays of the 20th century show so  great a v a r i e t y i n the handling of the Medea-story that no conclusion can be drawn.  However, a vague h i s t o r i c a l pattern can be seen to emerge from  5  t h i s thematic e x p l o r a t i o n , although the gradual movement from the Senecan influence to the Euripidean which started a f t e r the Renaissance has come to a" h a l t i n the 20th century where the pendulum seems to swing w i l d l y from one extreme to the  other.  There does not seem to be any consistency  e i t h e r i n the age  or  stage i n a w r i t e r ' s career at which he i s a t t r a c t e d to the Medea-material. Some w r i t e r s l i k e J e f f e r s and Alvaro, f o r instance, were commissioned by leading actresses to w r i t e t h e i r plays f o r them. might be s u r p r i s i n g :  One minor f a c t , however,  there e x i s t s no Medea-play w r i t t e n by a woman a l -  though Medea has been a f a v o u r i t e part f o r many great actresses. We are l e f t then with an almost i n e x p l i c a b l e f a s c i n a t i o n of what i s b a s i c a l l y a banal s t o r y - the well-known t r i a n g l e s i t u a t i o n of a man  between two women. However i t does c o n s t i t u t e a basic problem of  human r e l a t i o n s which seems to be of f r e s h i n t e r e s t to every  new  generation. In the f o l l o w i n g pages Euripides* Medea w i l l f i r s t be  discussed  as a model f o r the l a t e r plays and then the development of three aspects of "the story w i l l be traced:  Medea's crime, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between  Jason and Medea and the changing a t t i t u d e towards Medea.  6  IX.  Euripides' Medea — Summary of the P l a y  E u r i p i d e s s t a r t s h i s p l a y on Medea a t a point where the heroic deeds and the youth of Jason and Medea are already behind them. The Argo had long since returned to Greece w i t h the Golden Eleece and, t h e i r quest over, the v i c t o r i o u s Argonauts had disbanded. and Medea's wanderings had not yet ended.  However, Jason's  We f i n d them as homeless  e x i l e s i n "Corinth where Jason has j u s t concluded an advantageous second marriage t o the daughter of Creon, king of C o r i n t h , disregarding h i s commitments to h i s barbarian w i f e , Medea, and to h i s c h i l d r e n by her. At the beginning of the play the p o s s i b i l i t y e x i s t s , therefore, that Jason's f a t e might improve again.  With t h i s opportunity to obtain  a dominant p o s i t i o n i n Corinth h i s future looks indeed very promising. The only obstacles i n h i s way seem to be Medea and t h e i r shared past, which, she represents and which she w i l l not allow him to forget. on the other hand, i s at the lowest point of her career:  Medea,  homeless,  e x i l e d , a barbarian amongst Greeks, she has not only been cast o f f by the man she loved above a l l e l s e , f o r whom she has s a c r i f i c e d family and home, and whom she has followed unquestioningly; she has also l o s t her protector and provider.  Without Jason she i s i s o l a t e d as a homeless  stranger, deprived of c i t i z e n ' s r i g h t s i n a f o r e i g n land. These f a c t s are a l l brought f o r t h by Medea's nurse before we a c t u a l l y see or hear Medea h e r s e l f . The nurse begins i n the past and bewails the f a c t that the Argo ever reached C o l c h i s .  I t would have been  better f o r a l l concerned i f Medea had never set eyes on Jason.  She  describes Medea's present d i s t r a c t e d s t a t e , her s u f f e r i n g , her r e f u s a l  7  to eat, her regret for father and home "betrayed when she came away with, a man who now i s determined to dishonor her." (.1.32-33)  1  From the s t a r t , we are introduced to concepts which prove to be of supreme importance to Medea:  k  her awareness of her homelessness and  otherness and her sense of honour.  The nurse also mentions that Medea  has turned against her children, and then reveals that she i s a f r a i d of Medea's v i o l e n t temper.  She fears Medea's thoughts of revenge, which  at t h i s point she assumes to be directed against Jason and h i s new family.  The children unaware of t h e i r mother's g r i e f , return from play.  From t h e i r tutor we learn that Medea does not yet know the f u l l extent of her troubles.  She w i l l have to face e x i l e once more, asfCreon  intends to banish her and her children from Corinth. i s to be expected: ones."  (1.76)  No help from Jason  as f o r him obviously " o l d t i e s give place to new  Again a warning note of danger to the children i s sounded  now that i t becomes evident that Medea must need s t r i k e at someone, be i t friend or foe, before her rage can abate. This fear of Medea's destructive impulse i s j u s t i f i e d by tier outcry, heard from inside her house.  first  Although she starts by wishing  death upon herself, her anger soon turns to the cause of her suffering:  I hate you, Children of a hateful mother. I curse you And your father. Let th.e whole house crash.. CI. 112-114) Euripides, Medea, translated by Rex Warner, irt Euripides ,x The Complete Greek Tragedies, ed. by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, Washington Square Press, New York, 1971. ' ( A l l quotes from Euripides' Medea are taken from t h i s text.)  8  Thus before we even see Medea we r e a l i z e that she I s i n a very dangerous frame of mind.  Above a l l , Medea i s bent on t o t a l d e s t r u c t i o n of Jason,  not j u s t of h i s person, but also of h i s l i n e . The chorus of Corinthian women now appears.  These women are  sympathetic to Medea and have come to help and comfort her.  They hear  her praying a l t e r n a t i v e l y f o r her own and then again f o r Jason's and his bride's death. However, when Medea appears and speaks to the women, she i s apparently s e l f — c o n t r o l l e d ,  Her speech i s c l e a r and to the p o i n t .  are no signs of d i s t r a c t i o n , w i l d passion or mental imbalance.  There She very  d e l i b e r a t e l y sets out to win the women's sympathy f o r her l o t and t h e i r support f o r whatever her plans may be. From the f i r s t she stresses that she, as a stranger, must be doubly c a r e f u l not t o cause offense t o her neighbours.  However, Jason's b e t r a y a l has overwhelmed her because i t  has come so unexpectedly.  She then proceeds to discuss her p a r t i c u l a r  fate as an example df woman's l o t i n general, s t r e s s i n g woman's helplessness, her dependence on man, her l a c k of c o n t r o l over her own f a t e , and her l a c k of freedom to choose or change husbands.  Moreover, as Medea  lacks the p r o t e c t i o n of a father or brother, she w i l l have to take revenge i n her own hands.  The women promise to keep s i l e n t as they f e e l  Medea's cause i s j u s t i f i e d . Next Creon appears, roughly ordering Medea and her c h i l d r e n to leave Corinth.  As he fears Medea's cleverness and her knowledge o f  w i t c h c r a f t , he i s determined to see her banished i n s p i t e of her pleas and promises.  He reveals that he loves h i s daughter more than h i s  9  country, and that he wants Medea e x i l e d to protect h i s daughter from any p o s s i b l e harm. Having found Creon's weakness and, f o r that reason, pleading her own c h i l d r e n ' s cause, Medea,in s p i t e of Creon's i n i t i a l firmness, manages to get one day's d e l a y - i n her banishment.  Medea i s .  very manipulative i n t h i s sceoe, p l a y i n g on Creon's emotions with her h u m i l i t y while d i s s i m u l a t i n g Her true f e e l i n g s . A f t e r Creon's departure and the chorus' expression of sympathy with Medea's new predicament,  she immediately makes i t c l e a r that she  had been i n f u l l c o n t r o l of the s i t u a t i o n and that a l l her moves i n the interview with Creon had been c a l c u l a t e d . complish her revenge.  She now has one day to a c -  There i s never any question i n her mind whether  she w i l l revenge h e r s e l f ; the only question i s how to accomplish, t h i s without g e t t i n g caught or having to k i l l h e r s e l f too.  Poison, rather  than the sword or f i r e , i s to be her means.. She s t i l l needs to be a s sured of a place of refuge a f t e r having c a r r i e d out her plans.  What-  ever the outcome may be however, she i s determined not to "be mocked by Jason's C o r i n t h i a n wedding." (1. 405) The chorus then points to the r e v e r s a l of nature caused by the deceitfulness of men and t h e i r breaking of oaths. should no longer be a t t r i b u t e d to women.  Now u n f a i t h f u l n e s s  I f there were women poets  they would be able to t e l l the other side of the s t o r y . Here sympathy for Medea has reached a climax which bodes i l l f o r Jason who appears next. Jason immediately reminds Medea t h a t , i f she i s i n a predicament now, she has only h e r s e l f to blame.  I t i s owing to her v i o l e n t temper  10  that Banishment has Been imposed on her.  He offers- her f i n a n c i a l a s -  sistance so that she "and the children may not Be penniless or i n need of anything i n e x i l e . "  (1.461/2) Medea", for the f i r s t and only time,  loses her puBlic composure as she i s confronted By Jason's s e l f — r i g h t eousness.  She f l a r e s up and accuses him of cowardice and shamelessness  in coming to gloat over her misfortune.  She turns to the past and  enumerates a l l she has done to help Jason and further h i s cause. I f she has done e v i l and has made enemies, i t has Been only- for h i s sake. Jason, however, does not give Medea credit for saving him; But claims that i t was Aphrodite who compelled her: You are clever enough - But r e a l l y I need not enter 'Intorthe story of how i t was love's inescapable Power that compelled you to keep my person safe.  (1.529-531) But even i f he were to admit that Medea helped him, Jason reasons that she received more from him than she gave.  He has brought her, a bar-  barian, to Greece, introduced her to the Greek way of l i f e and given her the opportunity to gain fame and honour as a clever woman.  As far  as h i s new marriage goes, he f e e l s that i t i s the opportunity to improve his  and h i s family's l o t as exiles which makes this match so a t t r a c t i v e .  He strongly protests that he was not motivated  by sexual a t t r a c t i o n or a  desire to have more children and proceeds to accuse women of being obsessed by sex.  Men, he thinks, would be Better o f f without them:  It would have Been Better far for men To have got their children i n some other way, and women Not to have existed. Then l i f e would have Been good. (1. 573-5751 Yet the chorus i s s t i l l of the opinion that he has Betrayed h i s  11  w i f e and i s a c t i n g Badly.  Medea f e e l s that Jason's shame f o r h i s  foreign w i f e i s at the root of h i s B e t r a y a l . threats.  She u t t e r s some v e i l e d  Jason, however, does.pot understand how serious she r e a l l y i s ,  and leaves f e e l i n g he has done h i s Best i n t h i s matter. The chorus now sings about the wisdom of moderation i n lovej about the j o y s of Belonging to one's country and about the value of true f r i e n d s h i p , thus Bridging the gap Between the f a l s e f r i e n d , Jason, and the true f r i e n d , Aegeus who appears next.  Aegeus i s the o n l y man  who t r e a t s Medea as a f r i e n d and as an equal.  He addresses her as a  peer and as a woman famous f o r her wisdom.  This a t t i t u d e stands i n  sharp contrast to the p a t r o n i z i n g or suspicious tone Creon and Jason have assumed towards her.  Aegeus explains he has come from D e l p h i where  he sought a cure f o r h i s c h i l d l e s s n e s s . t a t i o n of the oracle's words.  Now he i s seeking a n , i n t e r p r e -  Aegeus then notices Medea's distraught  a i r and enquires i n t o her troubles.  He i s sympathetic to Medea's p l i g h t  and promises her asylum i n Athens, although he refuses to help her escape. Medea asks Aegeus to r e i n f o r c e h i s promise w i t h solemn oaths to the gods to protect her from her enemies once she has reached h i s house.  For  Medea an oath i s s t i l l the most binding commitment between humans i n s p i t e of Jason's b e t r a y a l . A f t e r Aegeus' departure, Medea, assured of a refuge, reveals f o r the f i r s t time her plans i n f u l l as she i s now c e r t a i n to succeed.  She  w i l l c a l l Jason, pretend to have come to her senses and. agree to leave peaceably, but w i l l beg to have the c h i l d r e n remain i n Corinth:  12  For I w i l l send the children with, g i f t s In their hands To carry to the bride, so as not to Be Banished A f i n e l y woven dress and a golden diadem. And i f she takes them and wears them upon her skin She and a l l who touch the g i r l w i l l die i n agony; Such poison w i l l I l a y upon the g i f t s I send. But there, however, I must leave the account paid. I weep to think of what a deed I have to do Next after that; for I s h a l l k i l l my own children. My children, there i s none who can give them safety. And when I,have ruined the whole of Jason's house, I s h a l l leave the land and f l e e from the murder of my Dear children, and I s h a l l have done a dreadful deed. (1. 784-796) She w i l l now have to pay. the p r i c e for mistakenly following Jason from her father's house, But he must suffer too.  Medea, l i k e a Homeric  hero, wants to Be remembered as "one who can hurt my enemies and help my friends," (1. 809) and that, i n her opinion, i s s u f f i c i e n t j u s t i f i c a tion for her deeds.  However, the chorus reminds her that t h i s i s not  the normal way of mankind, that she, a woman, i s , i n fact, assuming a man's point of view. a compromise.  Medea has suffered too much to be able to consider  This i s the Best way of wounding Jason and preventing her  enemies from mocking her. The shocked chorus now sings= an ode to Athens, land of wisdom, gentle love and moderation, which i s soon to Become the refuge for this impure and unnatural murderess of her own children.  (1. 846-865)  In h i s second encounter with Medea, Jason i s completely taken i n By her contriteness.  Not for one moment does he douBt her words or  wonder at the sudden change, so sure i s he of the T i g h t n e s s of h i s own opinion.  Medea, however, Breaks down and cries whenever there. i s talk  aBout the children's future, But she excuses herself with a woman's proneness to tears.  She then persuades Jason to intercede with, h i s new  13  wife on the children's Behalf and to have them Bear wedding g i f t s to the princess. After the children have l e f t , the chorus knows that their f a t e i s sealed.  Medea had stressed that the g i f t s must pass d i r e c t l y from  the children's hands into the Bride's.  As Bearers of the f a t a l g i f t s ,  they w i l l Be held responsiBle for her death.  The women grieve for the  young Bride, the children and Jason, But even now also for Medea: In your g r i e f , too, I weep, mother of l i t t l e children, You who w i l l murder your own, In vengeance for the loss of married love Which Jason has Betrayed As he l i v e s with another wife. (1. 996-1001) When the children return with t h e i r tutor, Medea knows that she has no choice l e f t open to her.  The f i r s t part of her plan has Been  carried out and now the consequences are inevitaBle. She i s saying farewell to her children, not Because she i s leaving for e x i l e , But because they must die.  In a very moving monologue her mother-love  twice threatens to overcome her determination for revenge and causes her to renounce her plans: Why should I hurt t h e i r father with the pain They f e e l , and suffer twice as much of pain myself? No, no, I w i l l not do i t . I renounce my plans. (1. 1046-1Q48) But each time her strong sense of injured honour gains ascendance over her womanly weakness: Do I want to l e t go My enemies unhurt and be laughed at for i t ? CI- 1049-1050) F u l l y aware of a l l the implications of her proposed deed, she sends the  14  c h i l d r e n away and awaits the news- of the p r i n c e s s ' death!: I know- indeed what e v i l \ i intend to do, But stronger than a l l my afterthoughts i s my f u r y , Fury that Brings upon mortals the greatest e v i l s . CI. 1078-1080)  The Corinthian women f o l l o w with a comment on the t r o u b l e s of parenthood. die Before  The worst a f f l i c t i o n f o r a parent i s to see your c h i l d you.  The messenger now enters w i t h news from the r o y a l palace which Medea i s a n t i c i p a t i n g w i t h f i e n d i s h d e l i g h t : But speak. How d i d they die? You w i l l d e l i g h r me As much again i f you say they died i n agony.  twice  CI.1134/5)  He gives a lengthy and d e t a i l e d account of the acceptance of the g i f t s and their.gruesome e f f e c t s .  Now  the c h i l d r e n ' s death i s unavoidaBle.  They w i l l have to d i e e i t h e r By the Corinthians' or t h e i r mother's hands. Medea s t e e l s h e r s e l f f o r her dreadful task knowing that i t w i l l Bring her unhappiness f o r the r e s t of her l i f e . " Oh, come, my hand, poor wretched hand, and take the sword, Take i t , step forward to t h i s B i t t e r s t a r t i n g p o i n t , And-do not Be a coward, do not think of them, How sweet they are, and how you are t h e i r mother. Just f o r This one short day Be f o r g e t f u l of your c h i l d r e n , Afterward weef>.];< f o r even though you w i l l k i l l them, They were very dear - Oh, I am an unhappy woman! (1. 1244-1250  U t t e r l y distraught, the chorus prays that the gods may  stay  Medea's hand and prevent these murders while the c h i l d r e n ' s p a t h e t i c c r i e s f o r help are already heard from i n s i d e the house.  I t i s too l a t e ;  neither the gods nor the chorus have come to the c h i l d r e n ' s defence. At t h i s p o i n t , Jason rushes on stage to protect h i s c h i l d r e n  15  from the vengeance of Creon's r e l a t i v e s , only- to hear that Medea has already k i l l e d them.  As he t r i e s to Batter down the doors of the house,  Medea appears on the roof i n a chariot drawn By dragons, with the Bodies of the children Beside her.  Jason, r e a l i z i n g his defeat, hurls aBuse  and loathing at her, the BarBarian, the monster, who has taken everything from him: For me remains to c r y aloud upon my fate, Who w i l l get no pleasure from my newly wedded love, And the Boys whom I Begot and Brought up, never Shall I speak to them a l i v e . Oh, my l i f e i s over! (I. 1346-135Q) Medea r e p l i e s that although the children died By her hand, "they died from a disease they caught from t h e i r father." (1. 1364) to l e t him Bury the children and mourn them.  She refuses  She w i l l herself "estaBlish.  a holy feast and'sacrifice each year forever to atone f o r the Blood guilt."  (1. 1382/3) Jason, on the other hand, i s doomed to die a t o t a l l y  unheroic death, "struck on the head By a piece of the Argo's timBer," • (1. 1387) for he i s "a breaker of oaths, a deceiver" CI. 1392) and therefore not of heroic stature. Medea's triumph at this moment i s complete and her revenge t o t a l l y successful.  Her honour has been vindicated as her enemies w i l l c e r t a i n l y  not laugh at her or mock her.  In the course of this play, Jason's and  Medea's situations have Been reversed.  Jason has seen a l l h i s hopes for  the future shattered, He has nothing But a miseraBle death to look f o r ward to. play.  He i s as defeated as Medea seemed to Be at the Beginning of the  Medea*s f i n a l triumph i s further stressed By her elevated position  on the roof.  16  III.  Medea's Crime  (1) Euripides Even those only s u p e r f i c i a l l y acquainted with the Medea-story as we have come to know i t , w i l l Be struck at least By the one h o r r i f y i n g fact that we are confronted here with a mother who murders her children i n cold Blood.  own  I f , i n i t i a l l y , we have f e l t sympathy for Medea  and her p l i g h t , i t i s even harder to accept her suddenly as a cool and calculating murderess.  We therefore tend to search for extenuating c i r -  cumstances for her deed.  Did she commit her murders i n a f i t of insanity?  Is i t after a l l a true crime passionnel, the consequences of which Become clear to Medea only after her crime has Been committed?  We could then  perhaps compare her deed to Heracles' slaying of h i s children.  Or was  Medea ordered and forced By the gods to take t h i s t e r r i B l e revenge on Jason Because he had sinned against them when he Broke h i s oaths?  In  this case, as for instance i n the case of Orestes, the gods would Be, i f not wholly then at least p a r t i a l l y , responsihle for Medea's murders. Or i s Medea, as the grantd-daughter of Helios, no true human Being, But a witch, a monster or a demon, whose deeds, l i k e those of the gods, cannot r e a l l y Be measured By human moral standards?  However, i f Medea i s ex-  cused on the grounds of insanity, v i c t i m i z a t i o n By the gods or superhuman p r i v i l e g e s , she might e a s i l y Be turned into a pathetic creature without a w i l l of her own.  Euripides undoubtedly sees her as a great  tragic Heroine who accepts f u l l r e s p o n s i B i l i t y for her deeds and not as a victim of circumstances. As f a r as the question of Medea, the e v i l witch, or demon i s concerned,  17  i t must be noted that Euripides plays down from the f i r s t a l l references to Medea's supernatural powers.  Her ancestry, as w e l l as the previous  murders of her brother, Apsyrtos, and Jason's uncle, P e l i a s , are mentioned, but are not stressed u n t i l the end of the play.  That she i s well-known  as a-wise and c l e v e r woman, i s confirmed By Creon, Jason and Aegeus. However, each of these three men have a d i f f e r e n t a t t i t u d e towards Medea's knowledge.  Of the three only Creon fears her, more because of  her v i o l e n t and w i l d temper than because of her w i t c h c r a f t . Jason, who obviously should know more about Medea's supernatural powers than the others, adopts a p a t r o n i z i n g a i r towards her and e v i d e n t l y does not fear her.  He doesn't even give her c r e d i t f o r any extraordinary g i f t s  employed i n saving h i s l i f e and Helping him to obtain the Golden Fleece. Aegeus, on the other hand, looks on her knowledge as wholly b e n e f i c i a l and values her advice. I t becomes c l e a r then t h a t , at l e a s t u n t i l a f t e r the murder of the c h i l d r e n , we are to regard Medea as a woman who may have some knowledge which i s not a c c e s s i b l e to a l l , but not as a supernatural being or a demon.  She i s , of course, not j u s t an ordinary woman: by b i r t h she  i s a r o y a l p r i n c e s s , by marriage the.„wife of the leader of the Argonauts; her p o s i t i o n as a barbarian, an e x i l e and a stranger n a t u r a l l y sets her apart from the other women i n Corinth.  However, Medea h e r s e l f equates her  l o t w i t h that of other women, and the Corinthian women accept her as one of them.  U n t i l the murder of her c h i l d r e n Medea must, therefore, be  regarded as a human being. that i n k i l l i n g  I t may be argued, and I t h i n k s u c c e s s f u l l y ,  her c h i l d r e n Medea also k i l l s her humanity.  Her l i f e ,  18  not only i n Corinth, but also as a true human being i s l e f t behind when she departs on the dragon c h a r i o t .  Whether she returns to her  ancestor, the sun, and r e j o i n s her myth, or whether she spends the r e s t of her days i n g r i e f and atonement f o r the c h i l d r e n ' s death., we do not know.' But her l i f e as a human being seems to Be over a f t e r the i n f a n t i c i d e and the f i n a l triumphant encounter w i t h jKason. Nor can we put the Blame f o r Medea's deeds on the gods, although. Jason suggests t h a t , already i n using her powers to save him, she d i d so only as an instrument of Aphrodite and not of her own v o l i t i o n . ever, Medea c a t e g o r i c a l l y denies t h i s .  How-  Later i n her g r i e f over the  children's impending f a t e , she does once s t a t e : The gods and I , I i n a kind of madness, have contrived a l l t h i s . (1. 1013/14)  But even then she stresses the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the s e l f rather than of the gods, which i s confirmed i n her l a t e r exclamation: Oh., what a wretch I am i n t h i s my s e l f - w i l l e d thought! CI. 1028)  Thus Medea i s c l e a r l y not a h e l p l e s s t o o l used by the gods i n t h e i r schemes of revenge on Jason or h e r s e l f , nor can she claim i n s a n i t y . A l though furious and passionately Bent on revenge, she i s not Blinded by her emotions; her reason i s never clouded.  She knows and understands  f u l l y the extent of the e v i l she i s about t d perpetrate; I know indeed what e v i l I intend to do, But stronger than a l l my afterthoughts i s my f u r y , Fury that B r i n g s upon mortals the greatest e v i l s . CI. 1078-1080)  and the consequences t h i s crime w i l l have f o r her:  19  This one short day he f o r g e t f u l of your children, Afterward weep,; f o r even though you w i l l k i l l them, They were very dear — 0H1, I*am an unhappy woman!  CI.  1248-1250)  A case could perhaps Be made that Medea hated her children so much that i t was easy f o r her to murder them.  I t i s true that the nurse  feels the children are threatened, But she also fears Medea's anger towards h e r s e l f : Such a look she w i l l f l a s h on her servants If any comes near with a message, Like a lioness guarding her cuBs.  CI. 187-189) Medea's anger seems to Be more l i k e the lashing out of a wounded  animal,  who w i l l s t r i k e at whoever i s closest, rather than an animosity directed at the children s p e c i f i c a l l y : Don't Bring them near their mother i n her angry mood. For I've seen her already Blazing her eyes at them As though she meant some mischief and I am sure that She'll not stop raging u n t i l she has struck at someone. May i t Be an enemy and not a friend she hurts!  CI. 91-95)  At the Beginning of the play Medea's rage and hatred are directed as much at herself as at those around her and those who caused her suffering. Later, when she thinks more c l e a r l y , she does.not resent the children, for  instance, f o r resemBling  a now hateful union.  their father or for Being the product of  I t must Be accepted that Medea genuinely loves  her children, But unlike Creon, she does not give them prime importance i n her l i f e ; her love, now turned to hatred, must Be considered Medea oBviously has Been wife f i r s t and mother second: It was everything to me to think well of one man, And he, my own RusBand, has turned out wholly v i l e .  CI. 228/9)  first.  20  Now her love of Jason has Been rejected, Her mother—love must take second place to her sense of injured honour and pride.  Jason's desertion  has changed Medea's previous deeds from proofs of her Boundless love to useless crimes. hatred.  As unquestioning as her love has Been, so now i s Medea's  Once she knows how to hurt Jason most and Bring about h i s t o t a l  destruction, even her love f o r the children cannot save them any more; Medea i s determined to regard them only as the perfect tools to accomplish her revenge.  That t h i s i s not an easy decision for Medea to make, i s a l -  ready clear when she sees the children for the f i r s t time a f t e r having decided on her plans of revenge.  But aBove a l l , i n her long monologue  after having sent the children to the palace and to their c e r t a i n death, we see her torn Between her love for the children and her f i e r c e pride and sense of honour, knowing a l l the time though that her v a c i l l a t i o n s are f r u i t l e s s :  the children are already doomed.  The motivation for her crimes - Both the murder of Creon and h i s daughter and that of the children - Medea states again and again, Medea feels her honour Besmirched and herself mocked By Jason's new marriage. In her opinion, Jason used her and her powers as long as this was convenient for him.  Now  that she, as a BarBarian amongst Greeks, has  Become an embarrassment and a Burden rather than an asset, he leaves her without the s l i g h t e s t hesitation for t h i s more advantageous match, with, a younger woman.  But part of Medea's anger i s also undouBtedly  caused By sexual jealousy-, a fact stressed By Jason, and which, i s revealed i n such, remarks as; Go! No doubt you hanker for your v i r g i n a l Bride, And are g u i l t y of l i n g e r i n g too long out of her house. (1. 623-4)  21  But her distress obviously goes much deeper than that.  For the love  of Jason,Medea has forsaken her father, k i l l e d her brother and Pelias,and has become a homeless e x i l e , a stranger who  followed him to a foreign  land where he i s her only s e c u r i t y and support.  Deserted by Jason and  subsequently banished by Creon, Medea i s threatened with complete i s o l a tion and expulsion into a f r i e n d l e s s and h o s t i l e world.  This i s an  i n s u l t to her honour, not only as a wife, but also as a princess and a wise woman.  It i s unthinkable that the greatness of her reputation  should be turned into a hollow mockery by Jason's r e j e c t i o n and the banishment imposed by Creon, while Jason would reap the benefits of h i s new union with the king's daughter.  For Medea this alone.presents suf- .  f i c i e n t motivation to plan and to execute the most perfect and complete revenge she can devise. In spite of Medea's passionate nature and her distraught: state at the beginning of the play, there can be no doubt that a great deal of planning goes into her revenge.  Her actions are never rash; her words -  with the possible exception of her encounter with Jason — are never unintentional or uncontrolled.  She i s always i n command of the s i t u a t i o n  and never loses sight of her long-range goal. of dissimulation and manipulation.  She proves to be a master  The Corinthian women's sympathy and  their implied cooperation i n remaining s i l e n t she manages to ensure from the s t a r t .  There i s never any question whether she w i l l take revenge;  she calmly selects the best method of accomplishing Her aims without p e r i l l i n g herself.  im-  The time she needs to think out her plan i n d e t a i l ,  she gains from Creon through playing on h i s father—love; the refuge to  22  escape to,after her revenge has Been accomplished,she oBtains from Aegeus By stressing their Bonds of friendship; and f i n a l l y ; she uses e f f o r t l e s s l y Jason's complacency to Bring her plans to f r u i t i o n .  Her  revenge i s thought out completely•and i n every d e t a i l , including the murder of her children which - although i t Becomes a necessity a f t e r the death of Creon and h i s daughter - i s nevertheless premedidated: And give her the dress - for t h i s i s of great importance, That she should take the g i f t into her hand from yours.  (1. 972/3) These meticulously l a i d plans are carried out r u t h l e s s l y and successf u l l y u n t i l the B i t t e r and triumphant end. In the execution of Medea's plans the most e f f e c t i v e part, i f one looks for perfection i n revenge, must Be considered the fact that Jason survives at the end to taste the f u l l Bitterness and sorrow of h i s destruction.  Although i n i t i a l l y Medea contemplates k i l l i n g Jason to.'-  aether with his mew  Bride and Creon, she comes to r e a l i z e that l e t t i n g  Jason l i v e , surrounded By the ruin of a l l his dreams, i s a much more e f f e c t i v e punishment for him than death. It i s i n her encounters with Creon, Jason and Aegeus that Medea gradually perceives that childlessness i s the worst fate for man. Jason himself gives as h i s main reason for the new marriage a desire to estaBlish h i s progeny - Both By Medea and the Corinthian princess firmly on Greek s o i l .  Without children to carry on the father's name  and keep h i s fame and reputation a l i v e , a man's laBours are i n vain. They; die with him.  Through h i s children and h i s children's children  man can achieve immortality of a sort.  Childlessness i s the-one reason  23  Medea would have accepted a s a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r a new; m a r r i a g e , and i t is  c h i l d l e s s n e s s which d r i v e s Aegeus to the o r a c l e at D e l p h i .  to d e s t r o y Jason c o m p l e t e l y , i t i s thus n e c e s s a r y not new  b r i d e - the mother o f h i s f u t u r e c h i l d r e n - but  by h e r s e l f so t h a t h i s l i n e w i l l be  future  and  death i s t h e r e f o r e  c e r t a i n l y not  f a c t t h a t he  i n our  day  and  age  - but  However, Medea does not sense the murder of her at him.  By w i p i n g out  Jason, she  devise.  a l i v e . Con-  That the questioned  deed.  committed i n p u t t i n g her  h e r s e l f of her  s u r e l y once the hopes i n you  -  c h i l d r e n and  In a herself  I had,  poor  a l l they mean  me,  Were h i g h ones: you.iwould l o o k a f t e r me i n o l d age, And when I d i e d would deck me w e l l w i t h your own handsj A t h i n g w h i c h a l l would have done. Oh, but now i t i s gone, That l o v e l y thought. For,.once I am l e f t w i t h o u t you, Sad w i l l be the l i f e I ' l l l e a d and s o r r o w f u l f o r me. CI.  as  faith in  her: Oh  punish-  denied.  c h i l d r e n i s as much d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t  i s also depriving  of  t h a t i t i s the most complete  o n l y p u n i s h Jason by her  the e r r o r she  fate  i s v i r t u a l l y dead,  w i t h the crime cannot be  revenge Medea c o u l d d e v i s e cannot be  to  to Jason, knowing the  s u r e l y the most c r u e l punishment Medea c o u l d  ment i s out.of a l l p r o p o r t i o n  the  What f a t h e r would  a l s o knowing t h a t Medea i s s t i l l  demning Jason to l i v e , c o n s c i o u s of the is  o f f Jason's t i e s to  the d e a t h of the house o f Jason.  h i s daughter, and  children  Far more e f f e c t i v e than p h y s i c a l  ever dare to g i v e h i s daughter as a b r i d e Creon and  also h i s  his  t i e s w i t h the p a s t , i n  h i s c h i l d r e n Medea cuts  invalidates h i s past.  o n l y to k i l l  extinct.  In f o l l o w i n g Jason, Medea cut o f f her k i l l i n g h i s b r i d e and  In order  1032-1037)  24  As her connection with, the past has already Been cut and there i s no going Back, once her hopes for the future — represented By the children — are destroyed, a l l her Bonds with, humanity i n general have Been severed. The children's murder not only destroys Jason But also Medea as a human being.  For i f Jason i s acting dishonouraBly now- and must therefore Be  punished, Medea Brought dishonour upon herself and her family when she l e f t her father's house against h i s w i l l and k i l l e d her Brother.  Medea  then acted i n the passion of her love, and only love could j u s t i f y her actions.  However, Jason's r e j e c t i o n of her love makes Medea g u i l t y of  dishonouring her name and committing out to have Been gratuitous.  a crime as h o r r i h l e as i t turns  Only now does.she r e a l i z e the consequences  of her singleminded passion which has Brought her only g r i e f ,  dishonour  and enmity: Oh. what an e v i l to men  i s passionate love! (1.  330)  Medea's pride i s too great, however, to l e t the stain of dishonour rest on her; a l l traces of i t must Be wiped out, no matter By what means. In .taking revenge on Jason and defending her honour, she also destroys her own hope of future happiness. the loss.of her children. and  After a l l , she too survives to mourn  And while Medea predicts Jason's further fate  end: While you, as i s r i g h t , w i l l die without d i s t i n c t i o n , Struck on the head By a piece of the Argo's timBer, And you w i l l have seen the B i t t e r end of my love. CI. 1386-1388)  we can only surmise Medea's future sorrow and g r i e f for the children she loved and k i l l e d . Isolated as  Medea, trimphant, is~as e f f e c t i v e l y punished  Jason,.defeated.  and  25  (2)  Seneca In Euripides' Medea the murder of the children, although  have been c a r e f u l l y prepared i s not so i n Seneca's Medea.  for i t , s t i l l comes as a shock.  we This  Here she murders her children as the  crowning gesture i n a steady progression of e v i l s .  I t i s an act of  s e l f — r e v e l a t i o n and not s e l f — d e s t r u c t i o n as i n Euripides' play.  For  someone.dedicated to a career of crime, i n f a n t i c i d e i s a f t e r a l l only the next l o g i c a l step after having committed f r a t r i c i d e  and  instigated p a r r i c i d e . Already i n the prologue we are introduced to a Medea who i n vokes the gods of heaven and h e l l and c a l l s on the Furies and her knowledge of magic to help i n her revenge.  Medea's reference to her  children, May h i s children — I can think of no worse imprecation be l i k e t h e i r father, yes, and l i k e their mother. Born i s my vengeance, already born; I have given birth.(p.367 ) is ambiguous as yet, but she does go on to say that she w i l l leave her husband the way  she f i r s t followed him, "the bond concluded by crime  must by- crime be severed." union with Jason was  (368)  Remembering that her crime upon her  f r a t r i c i d e , her words:  "Now  I am a mother, more  impressive crimes are expected," (368) do sound far more,ominous than the more general laments and curses uttered hy Euripides' Medea, whose urge to destruction i s i n i t i a l l y directed against h e r s e l f as much as 2 Seneca, Medea, translated by Moses Hadas, i n Roman Drama, The L i b r a r y of L i b e r a l Arts, The Bohbs^Merrill Company, Inc., Indianapolis, 1965. (AH quotes from Seneca's Medea are taken from t h i s text.)  26  against those around Her. Seneca's Medea makes her f i r s t public appearance, raving i n a fury of passion, whereas i n Euripides' p l a y she has herself completely under control by the time she appears on stage.  In Euripides'' Medea  we are aware of Her sorrow and anger, p a r t l y from the nurse, p a r t l y from her own c r i e s off-stage. Right from the start a fundamental d i f ference between these two Medeas becomes apparent, and this difference in character must also change the nature, i f not the actual execution, of  the crimes. We have seen that no extenuating circumstances could be found for  Euripides' Medea - nor were they claimed by her - which might Have diminished her r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for Her crimes. However, i n the case of Seneca's Medea.  The s i t u a t i o n i s d i f f e r e n t ,  From the very f i r s t , i t i s  stressed that Medea i s ^ s u p e r n a t u r a l being.  She continually refers  to her ancestry as the granddaughter of the sun, to her intimacy with, and power over, the gods and nature. woman by anyone else.  She i s not accepted as a "mere"  A l l of them, including Jason and her servants,  fear her as a sorceress.  She c l e a r l y does not need Human c r a f t i n e s s ,  sympathy or moral support or even a guaranteed refuge to assure the success of Her revenge:  "Medea i s l e f t .  Here you see sea and land,  s t e e l and f i r e and gods and thunderbolts." (p. 371) Medea then i s obviousl y not a human being and therefore Human moral standards cannot be app l i e d to Her.  She i s as amoral as the gods or fate.  Thus the i n f a n t i -  cide, along with the. a n n i h i l a t i o n of Creon,. Creusa and the whole palace, i s similar to the havoc wrougHt wHen nature breaks loose, except that  27  Medea even has the power to pervert nature: Heaven's law, too, have I confounded: The world has seen sun and stars together, and the Bears have touched the sea forbidden them. The-order of seasons I have rearranged-: By my witchcraft earth has blossomed i n summer, and at my bidding Ceres has seen harvest i n winter. Violent Phasis has turned i t s waters back to t h e i r source, and Hister, divided into many mouths, has constricted his truculent billows and f a l l e n s p i r i t l e s s i n a l l his banks. Waves have crashed and the sea has raged and swelled, though the winds were s t i l l . The home of the ancient woodland l o s t i t s shadows when daylight returned at my imperious voice. Phoebus.has halted i n mid-course, and at my i n cantation the Hyades totter and collapse, (p.. 387) As a supernatural,  demonic being, she cannot r e a l l y be held  morally  responsible for her monstrous deeds. Added to that i s the suggestion that perhaps Medea i s a divine instrument to punish Jason, not so much for having broken his oaths to her, but for having disturbed the natural order of things.  Seneca's  chorus c l e a r l y states that the golden age of content was brought to an end by the expedition of the Argonauts who went beyond the l i m i t s set to men: Stainless the ages our fathers saw-, when t r i c k e r y was far distant. Every man trod h i s own shore free of ambition and waxed old on h i s anc e s t r a l health; r i c h on a pittance, he knew no wealth but what his native s o i l produced. Worlds well and lawfully dissevered that Thessalian timber forced into one; i t bade ocean endure lashes and the hitherto isolated sea to be reckoned among human fears. Q>. 376) The voyage was successful, But at what a p r i c e ; of this voyage?  "And what was the p r i z e  The Golden Eleece and Medea, an e v i l worse than the sea  and an appropriate  cargo for the f i r s t of ships." C376/71  A l l of the  28  Argonauts seem to have Been, cursed and to have met with v i o l e n t deaths. Only Jason i s l e f t and the chorus hopes that at least he would Be spared: "Enough, ye gods, have you avenged the sea: to his deed."  (]>. 385)  Spare him who was ordered  But as Medea claimed Jason as her p r i z e f o r  having saved the Argonauts, she could very well Be considered' the means of his divine punishment and therefore not r e a l l y responsible for the suffering she i n f l i c t s . ProBaBly Seneca's Medea i s not a c t u a l l y insane when she murders her children, but there i s no doubt that her mind i s clouded, at least when she k i l l s her f i r s t c h i l d .  The v i s i o n of the Furies:  That unruly crowd of Furies - where are they rushing, whom are they seeking, for whom preparing their flaming strokes? (p.. 392) and of her dismembered brother: Whose ghost i s that approaching? Its limbs are scattered and i t i s hard to recognize; i t i s my Brother and he i s demanding vengeance. (p.. 392) do urge her on and c e r t a i n l y help to overcome her momentary h e s i t a t i o n : Leave me to myself, Brother, use this hand of mine; i t holds a drawn sword. With this v i c t i m I placate your ghost. (p>. 392/3) As a matter of fact she slaughters at' least the f i r s t son l i k e a s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t i m not only to atone f o r her Brother's death, But also for  the other crimes her passion made her commit:  finished.  "...very well, i t i s  I have nothing more to offer you f o r atonement, my passion."  (p. 394) There seems to Be no evidence that Seneca's Medea hated her children, But neither i s there any-proof.that she loved them greatly.  The strong  29  t i e s which, existed Between Euripides' Medea and her children are missing i n Seneca's Medea, who has few human q u a l i t i e s .  There seems  to Be a singular lack of depth of f e e l i n g i n Seneca's Medea. passion, c e r t a i n l y , more than enough:  There i s  passionate love which s t i l l  flares  up f o r Jason from time to time and also momentarily for the children, But which i s matched By her at least equivalent passion f o r c r u e l t y and revenge.  Medea herself states:  " I f you ask, poor creature, what  l i m i t you should place on your hatred, copy your love," (p. 378) and the chorus comments:  "The curBing of neither anger nor love does Medea  understand; and now that anger and love are joined i n their s u i t , what w i l l the issue Be?"  (p. 390)  Sexual jealousy and a sense of Being roBBed of something which r i g h t l y Belongs to her - Jason - and which i s her l a s t remaining possession seem to Be the motives f o r Medea's crime.  Seneca's Medea i s not greatly  concerned with her injured honour or the mockery of others, mainly Because her t i e s with humanity as such, i f they ever existed, have already Been severed.  She i s even more isolated than Euripides' Medea, and her fight  for Jason may Be as much a fight for her only l i n k to humanity as f o r the man s h e l s t i l l loves. Medea also Blames Jason for v i o l a t i n g her v i r g i n i t y . hood i n Colchis stands f o r a l l that i s peaceful and good.  Her maiden^, Jason therefore  destroyed her personal "golden age" much as the Argonauts Brought an end tot'tha Greek one.  Medea seems to have.•aieorilused idea that i n destroying  a l l the evidence of her l o s t v i r g i n i t y and her union with Jason, she can return again to the past, unsullied By what has taken place i n the meantime.  Now, now have I: recovered my scepter, my Brother, my father; again the Colchians hold the p r i z e of the gilded ram; my royal state i s restored, my v i r g i n i t y returned. Cp. 393) In spite of, or perhaps just Because of, her wild protestations, Seneca's Medea seems to Be very v a c i l l a t i n g .  She i s never quite sure  who her r e a l enemy i s , Creon or Jason: Could Jason do this? He roBBed me of father, country, kingdom; can he c r u e l l y desert me, a l l alone and i n a foreign place?...But what could Jason do, subject as he was to another's decision and authority?...The whole f a u l t i s Creon's; with capricious l o r d l i n e s s he dissolves marriages, tears mothers from children, and severs l o y a l t i e s cemented By the most intimate of pledges. I t i s he that must Be attacked; he alone s h a l l pay the score he owes. (p. 370/1) She never makes any d e f i n i t e plans nor confides i n anyone.  Her wild  threats seem to serve to reassure her as much as to frighten others. She seems to need to r e i t e r a t e her former crimes to give herself more confidence and to spur herself on: Your own crimes should urge you on; r e c a l l them a l l : The glorious symBol of royalty stolen away; the impious g i r l ' s l i t t l e Brother dismemBered with a sword, his death thrust upon h i s father, and his Body scattered over the sea; the limBs of of aged Pelias Boiled i n a Brass cauldron. How often have I perpetrated Bloody murder! (p. 370) When Medea acts, her deeds are seldom thought through.  There i s no  careful planning and consideration of a l l the circumstances as we have witnessed with. Euripides' Medea.  When  Seneca's Medea sets aBout her  revenge on Creon and Creusa, psychological motives are ignored and there i s no preparation to make sure that her g i f t s w i l l Be accepted By Creusa.  She dispatches her l e t h a l wedding g i f t s and just assumes that  they w i l l Be e f f e c t i v e :  31  A l l my power has now Been exercised. C a l l my sons here to carry these c o s t l y g i f t s to the Bride... .Go, my sons, go. The mother that Bore you is. unlucky; placate your mistress and stepmother with presents and humBle prayer. (p. 389) :  There i s no explanation given of what prompts Creusa to accept anything coming from the hands of such a dangerous and fearsome  rival.  Medea's seizing on the perfect revenge on Jason occurs suddenly and By chance; then her mind i s made up immediately: for h i s children? (p. 382) out  Fine!  "Has he such love  I have him, the place to wound him i s uncovered."  She changes her attitude and tone on the spot, apparently with-  arousing Jason's suspicion.  There i s no gradual growth of a d e f i n i t e  revenge plan within her; no idea which i s confirmed during successive encounters with other fathers.  She never stops t o t t M n k of the consequences  to herself; she simply thinks no further than the accomplished deed.  As  she hopes to regain her l o s t past By her revenge, no thought i s given to the  future.  herself^  Thus, when Medea has committed her crime, she has f u l f i l l e d  Become her r e a l s e l f :  with e v i l s . "  (p. 391)  "Now  I am Medea; my genius has matured  She has now completed her masterpiece of e v i l ,  and there i s a f i n a l i t y i n her l a s t triumphant words which Bears no thought of tomorrow But removes her d e f i n i t e l y into the realm of the supernatural: L i f t your swollen eyes this way, ingrate Jason. Do you recognize your wife? This i s how I am accustomed to f l e e . A path Is opened i n the sky and twin serpents suBmit t h e i r s c a l y necks to the yoke. Take your sons Back now, Father. (She throws the Bodies down to him.) On my winged chariot I s h a l l r i d e through the a i r . (p. 394) Medea's moods are so v o l a t i l e that i t i s hard to Be sure when she i s merely dissimulating and when she I s a c t u a l l y having a change of heart.  32  For her there i s no great necessity to be able to manipulate her adversaries.  Although. Jason and Creon are generally more sympathetically  portrayed than i n the Euripidean play, they are no match, f o r Medea. Jason i s a rather weak, and cowardly hero who assurance witnessed i n the e a r l i e r play.  lacks the self-righteous  And Creon, although, motivated  by the threat of war and the just concern for h i s country i s a f r a i d of her very presence: Beetling she strides toward me; her expression i s menacing as she approaches nearer to address me. Keep her o f f , slaves! - f-arfoff from touch or access; bid her be s i l e n t . (p. 372) Out of weakness, after some verbal wrangling, he grants a day's delay i n i n Me Medea's e x i l e although he suspects her of e v i l intentions. Medea's crime i s c e r t a i n l y also successful i n t h i s case, as she manages to hurt Jason where he i s most vulnerable;  this Jason r e a l l y  loves his children: They are my reason for l i v i n g , the solace of a heart burned black with cares. Sooner would I be deprived of breath, of limbs, of l i g h t . (p. 382) However, Medea does not succeed i n breaking h i s s p i r i t , as i s proven by his f i n a l defiant words.  Although Jason acts rather cowardly i n l e t t i n g  Medea take the f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the crimes committed to his benefit, he must be believed when he assures her that he does so only to save h i s children's l i v e s .  He i s f u l l y aware that he owes Medea his  l i f e and that he i s breaking h i s oath., but father-love, coupled with a reluctance to oppose authority, wins over his sense of honour.  As t h i s  Jason t r u l y cares for h i s children as such., and not only as symbols of  33  his  own immortality, i t i s no douBt a refinement of c r u e l t y on Medea's  part to k i l l the second c h i l d i n front of h i s eyes and then f l i n g the dead Bodies at h i s feet.  Because Medea i s determined to exterminate  every possible reminder of her l i f e with Jason, she can leave her children to be buried and mourned by Jason: If this hand of mine could Be s a t i s f i e d with one death i t would have sought none; even though I slay two,.the number i s too petty for my passion. If any pledge of yours i s lurking i n my womb, even now, I s h a l l rummage my v i t a l s with a sword and with iron drag i t forth. (p. 394) For  her the children are of no importance any more when she tosses them  d i s d a i n f u l l y at Jason's feet:  "Take your sons back now, Father." (p. 394)  Jason has spurned her love; he has been taken from her and i n revenge she has destroyed a l l he ever loved. As already mentioned, for Euripides Medea's crime i s an act of self-punishment and self-destruction, a l b e i t not physical, as well as of revenge on Jason.  On the other hand, Seneca's Medea seems to urge herself  on throughout the play towards the moment of s e l f - r e v e l a t i o n i n her most e v i l form.  She keeps i n s i s t i n g that her deeds so far have not yet been  worthy of her true s e l f .  The enormity of her misdeeds must grow with  increased maturity: P a l t r y the punishment which innocent hands i n f l i c t . . . . Those were merely school exercises for my passion; could prentice hands achieve a masterpiece, could a g i r l ' s temper? (p.391) Although Medea prides herself on her accomplishment s t i l l prove h e r s e l f .  so f a r , she must  And the revenge on Jason i s to be the climax of  her career, her f i n a l proud triumph carried out openly for a l l to see:  34  "Now  to work, my soul; your prowess must not Be wasted i n obscurity;  demonstrate your handiwork for popular approval." (p. 393) Unlike Euripides' , Medea, Seneca*s does not stop to gloat over Tier r i v a l ' s death.  Although, she has k i l l e d not only Creon and h i s  daughter by her magic, but caused the f i r e to burn down the palace and to threaten the city,' this i s regarded as only a preliminary to Her r e a l act of revenge:  the murder of her children.  For the Euripidean Medea  the two crimes complement each other and her revenge would not have been complete without the one or the other.  Seneca's Medea dismisses  the reported annihilation of Creon and h i s house while she gloats over and even enjoys the murder of her children: Though I am sorry, I did i t ; a delicious pleasure steals over me, without my w i l l , and look, i t i s growing: A l l that was missing was yonder man to be spectator. What I have done so far I count as nothing; any crime I committed without h i s seeing i t i s wasted. (p. 394) Her doubts about her action are only f l e e t i n g and quickly s t i f l e d by Tier joy i n seeing Jason s u f f e r . in her triumph of revenge.  There i s no bitterness or suffering  35  (3)  Renaissance:  de Laperuse, Galladei and Dolce  These three Renaissance writers a l l produced s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t versions of the Medea story:  Dolce more or less follows the Euripidean  play, while Galladei models his p l a y on the Senecan, and de Laperuse seems to take a position somewhere i n Between the two ancient plays. A l l of them, however, change the o r i g i n a l material somewhat, sometimes by developing certain aspects more f u l l y , sometimes By cutting out c e r t a i n features of the e a r l i e r plays, But none of them succeeds i n giving a s a t i s f a c t o r y explanation for Medea's deeds or i n improving on the previous works. In a l l three plays Medea's r e s p o n s i B i l i t y f o r her crime i s diminished.  She i s a known and feared sorceress and enchantress, aBle to  command and control the powers of heaven and h e l l . e-cain even r a i s e the dead.  In Dolce's play Medea  Her supernatural powers are taken for granted,  even i f Dolce's chorus don't, fear her at f i r s t and r e a l i z e the consequences of her power and her t h i r s t for revenge only when i t i s too l a t e . There are Senecan scenes of incantation and c a l l i n g f o r t h of s p i r i t s i n this as well as i n the other two plays.  Medea then i s d e f i n i t e l y not a  human Being, and her deeds cannot Be measured By human moral standards. The powers that once served to save Jason are now harnessed to harm and destroy him. Furthermore, i n Dolce's play, Medea's mind i s clouded By rage. She feels the poison of the serpent i n her veins and i s eventually possessed By the Furies who spur her on to murder her children very d e l i h e r a t e l y and purposefully, although, she does love them.  There Is  36  a d e f i n i t e suggestion of temporary i n s a n i t y and possession by the s p i r i t of revenge and therefore of reduced r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n t h i s play. The Medeas of de Laperuse and Galladei are spurred on -to t h e i r crime not only by the Furies, but also by the dismembered ghost of Apsyrtos. In Galladei's play these s p i r i t s of revenge are more than just a v i s i o n ; they are actual characters, although possibly not v i s i b l e to a l l . Fury Megara and Apsyrtos appear i n the prologue.  Apsyrtos i s promised  revenge of his murder and punishment of his monstrous s i s t e r . and the ghost appear again i n i s progressing.  The  The Fury  Act IV of the play to see how the action  Apsyrtos complains that a l l are s t i l l a l i v e and appear  to enjoy themselves.  Megara promises him complete s a t i s f a c t i o n and im-  mediately drives Medea insane, depriving her of a l l human f e e l i n g s , so that she w i l l commit her gruesome murders, and they w i l l be able to drag her o f f to h e l l f o r punishment. ...ip te dispoglio D'ogni pieta, d'ogni ragion humana. Empiaicpnequesto io t'empio Di quel furor insano Che t i sprona & conduce Misera & disperata Inanzi tempo a vergognosa morte._ (Act IV, p. 57); In a l l three plays then Medea's personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s further diminished by reason of her insanity. De Laperuse and G a l l a d e i also follow a Senecan idea i n suggesting that the children have to pay the price for the murder of  Apsyrtos, which  their mother committed and from which, their father benefited.  This would  3 Maffeo Galladei, Medea,Tragedia, Giovan G r i f f i o , Venetia, 1558. quotes from Galladei's Medea are taken from t h i s text.)  (All  37  almost c o n s t i t u t e a v a l i d excuse f o r Medea, as the blood t i e s between brother and s i s t e r were considered to be stronger than those between mother and c h i l d .  There are, a f t e r a l l , other examples i n Greek mytho-  logy- — such as Prokne, f o r instance - of a mother s l a y i n g her son to atone f o r her brother's death.  I n no other case though had the o r i g i n a l  murder been committed by the mother h e r s e l f . Only Dolce suggests that Medea was aware of the s u f f e r i n g she i n f l i c t e d on h e r s e l f by her deed.  In the other plays she does not regard  the c h i l d r e n as her own anymore and therefore cannot s u f f e r by her deed. G a l l a d e i has Medea k i l l the f i r s t son to atone f o r Apsyrtos, but the second one, a f t e r having stabbed him, she beheads and throws the head to Jason as she intends to keep only the "maternal p a r t " of the c h i l d : Ne qui 1 ' i r a i n Medea S i fermo, ma spiccata La t e s t a a l pargoletto F i g l i u o l , contra a l marito D'alto g i t o l l a , TOGLI T o g l i Giason (gridando) D i c u i t u generasti La p u i honorata p a r t e , Godi t u questa, ch'io L ' a l t r a per me ritegno. (Act V, p. 70) The Medea of de Laperuse also states that the f i r s t c h i l d died f o r Apsyrtos while she i n s i s t s that the second one must d i e alone and w i l l 4  not feSfspafed "Non, non, i l mourra:  c'est ton sang!" (75)  I n any case,  de Laperuse's Medea appears to l a c k maternal f e e l i n g s altogether.  She  knows not one moment of h e s i t a t i o n , but slaughters her sons w i t h complete J . de Laperuse Medee, i n Le Tresdr des pieces arigoumoisiries, i n e d l t e s ou r a r e s , Sd.ciete Archeologique et H i s t o r i q u e de l a Charente, Angouleme, 1866, Tome IT. ( A l l quotes from de Laperuse's Medee are taken from t h i s text.)  38  callousness.  She seems neither to love nor hate them.  They* are just  s a c r i f i c i a l victims to her passion of revenge. Dolce's Medea loves her children; yet they are also the children of a t r a i t o r and an enemy. did  As she points out to Jason at the end,  she  not k i l l them because they are hers, but because they are h i s : Non, perche non g l i amassi, essendo miei, Anzi hora per dolor mi scoppia i l core, Ma u c c i s i g l i ho, per esser tuoi f i g l i u o l i . _ (Act V, p.  50)  Both Dolce's and Galladei's Medeas expressly state t h e i r love of t h e i r children.  In both cases the children, too, bemoan their separation from  their true and loving mother.  However, mother—love i s not strong enough  to s e r i o u s l y threaten either Medea's revenge. Of the three, Dolce's Medea i s most aware of her status as lady and queen and therefore feels her honour gravely injured by Jason's desertion. Time and time again, Medea stresses that once she was queen and now  a great lady and a  she i s less than a servant:  "Non mi d i t e Reina, po ch'io sono Assai peggio, che serve." (Act I, p. 8) The contrast between Medea, the former queen, and Medea, the future servant and slave*is mentioned not only by her, but also by Creon, Jason and the chorus. Everyone i n t h i s p l a y i s very status-conscious.  Creon  i s not merely a f r a i d of Medea as.a sorceress, but also fears her as a possible threat to h i s reign: *\ Lodovico Dolce, La Medea, Tragedia, Gabriel G i o l i t o de F e r r a r i , Viner— fcia, 1560. ( A l l quotes from Dolce's La Medea are taken from this text.)  39  E volendo regnar, procaccia altrove A l t r i regni, a l t r i Beni, a l t r o marito; Ch'io d± questa cittade, e del mio stato Do parimente a v o l perpetuo Bando. CAct I I , p. 13) Dolce's Medea also feels a great deal of jealousy which, increases her desire f o r revenge.  Not only does she suggest that Jason just wants  a new Bride i n his Bed, But she also r e f e r s to Creusa's wealth, youth and Beauty;  Dolce presents us for the f i r s t time with an aging Medea  threatened By a younger and p r e t t i e r r i v a l , a theme which w i l l Be developed By l a t e r playwrights.  The Medeas of de Laperuse and Galladei are also  motivated By jealousy.  In a l l three plays the marriage Between Jason and  Medea was l e g a l l y Binding, even i f i t was generally considered more of a curse than a Benefit. Although de Laperuse's and Galladei's Medeas are not as conscious of the honour due t h e i r s o c i a l status, none of the Medeas l i k e the thought of Being mocked By t h e i r enemies and a l l are more or less i s o l a t e d . Galladei stays closest to Seneca's image of Medea while de Laperuse's chorus, on the other hand, i s more supportive and partisan than even Euripides', r e a l i z i n g only at the end what horriBle crimes t h e i r acquiescence and silence have made possiBle.  However, Medea i s always  considered to Be d i f f e r e n t from other women, mainly Because of her supernatural powers and Because of her B i r t h .  Dolce also stresses the  difference Between the BarBarian and the Greek, which heightens her isolation. In the treatment of the planning, the execution and the e f f e c t s of Medea's major crime, the c h i l d murder, the three plays vary consideraBly  40  and depart i n certain instances from the examples set by t h e i r predecessors. The Medea of de Laperuse implores the gods i n her f i r s t monologue to drive Jason so mad  that he w i l l commit a l l the murders himself:  Mettezjle desloyal en s i grande fureur Par vos serpens cheueux que, vangeant son erreur, Luy—mesme de ses mains bourrellement meurtrisse Ses f i l z , l e Roy, sa femme, et que tousiours ce v i c e Becquette ses poumons, sans q u ' i l puisse mourir. (Act  I, p. 16)  Later she makes i t abundantly clear that she does not care what happens to her or to the children as long as she can harm Jason and Creon: Medea wants to die but take her revenge f i r s t . for  Throughout the play the fear  the l i f e of the children i s expressed by the tutor and the chorus,  although Medea's threats have been very general at f i r s t .  Medea herself  asks Creon to l e t the children stay, to which he immediately agrees. i s suspicious of her motives i n asking for a day's delay i n her e x i l e i n spite of Medea's reassurance that one day i s not enough f o r her to do any harm. During the following stormy encounter between Medea and Jason, Medea suddenly suggests: Sans plus, fay que i e donne A ta nouuelleSe&pouse une riche couronne, Qui i a d i s du S o l e i l l e chef dore orna, Puis a son aime f i l z mon pere l a donna: A f i n que desormais de moy i l l u y souuienne, Et nos pauures enfans comrne siens e l i e tienne. CAct IV, p. 60/61) To which. Jason s u r p r i s i n g l y r e p l i e s : Cela me p l a i s t tres-hien, et a ce i'apercoy Que ton corroux s'appaise: or scache que l e Roy Le trouuera f o r t Bon. S i tu m'en c r o i s , Medee, Fay que par nos enfans e l i e s o i t presentee. CAct IV, p. 61)  He  41  It  i s not Medea then who sees to i t that the children are implicated i n  Creon's and Glauque's murder.  I t i s also Jason who l a t e r convinces  a reluctant Glauque to accept the f a t a l present which, she had at f i r s t refused. Here too, as i n Seneca's play, the f i r e not only destroys Creon and h i s daughter hut also the whole palace.  Medea reacts £6:,this news  very coolly, stating that she only needs to k i l l her sons now i n order to complete her revenge: On ne d i r a iamais, courageuse Medee, Que sans te reuanger vn meschant t ' a i t blessee. Que r e s t e - i l plus, sinon que massacrer l e s f i l z QCui'avecq' ce desloyal mal-heureuse i e f i s ? (Act V, p. 73) She does not hesitate for one moment and neither the Furies nor the dismembered ghost of her brother were r e a l l y needed to spur her on to a crime she was determined to commit anyway. There i s no need for her to play for a place of refuge as she knows she w i l l be saved by the dragon chariot and she can take her time f l i n g i n g the bodies of one c h i l d after the other to Jason who witnesses both murders: Tien v o i l a vn des f i l z . Tien, v o i l a l'autre f i l z :  or' l'vn et l'autre est mort. (Act  V, p. 74/75)  Medea triumphantly exclaims that not only has she revenged herself by her  crimes but also set praiseworthy example for a l l women spurned by  their u n f a i t h f u l lovers.  Her revenge on Jason was c e r t a i n l y successful  as he undoubtedly loved h i s children.  De Laperuse confronts us with, the  42  most cold—blooded and the most inhuman of a l l Medeas so f a r . G a l l a d e i seems to try- to outdo Seneca i n the magnitude of the d e s t r u c t i o n wrought by Medea. success of her revenge.  She, however, pays w i t h her l i f e f o r the  This i s the f i r s t p l a y i n which Medea commits  s u i c i d e i n her orgy of death and d e s t r u c t i o n . The outcome of the p l a y i s stated c l e a r l y already i n the prologue when the Fury promises that Medea, the monster, w i l l pay w i t h her own l i f e and that of her sons f o r Apsyrtos' murder.  More innocent blood w i l l be s p i l l e d to atone f o r i n -  nocent blood already.shed. strongly i n t h i s play. by the Fury who,  The idea of the "vendetta" emerges very  The murders are not so much planned by Medea as  a f t e r Apsyrtos' complaint i n Act IV, intervenes h e r s e l f  to speed up the a c t i o n .  G a l l a d e i ' s Jason, l i k e Seneca's, professes to  Medea h i s love for the c h i l d r e n and thereby gives her the idea of h u r t i n g him through them.  She immediately begs h i s forgiveness and o f f e r s to send  the c h i l d r e n w i t h g i f t s to Creusa.  Only the chorus d i s t r u s t s her  motives.  There i s an even greater i n s i s t e n c e on Medea's magical powers - her i n cantations, s p e l l s and curses — which are described at length.  The p l a y  i s f u l l of e v i l omens also r e c i t e d w i t h r e l i s h and i n d e t a i l ; a l l the deaths - and they abound i n t h i s  p l a y - are described more than once.  For the f i r s t time the c h i l d r e n have a c t i n g parts and are i n d i v i d u a l l y named and portrayed i n t h i s play.  Amazingly enough they  express  t h e i r deep love f o r t h e i r mother along w i t h the fear that they might be punished f o r the wrong done to her by t h e i r f a t h e r : Chi sa, c h ' e l l a non v o g l i a Noi punir de l a grave I n g i u r i a , che r i c e v e Hoggl d a l nostro padre? (Act IV, p. 51}  43  Although, the c h i l d r e n are never banished together w i t h t h e i r mother, the younger son, Tersandro, o f f e r s to accompany her i n t o e x i l e . however, d e c l i n e s .  Medea,  She only wants them f o r the one day granted to her.  Having sent the poisoned robe to Creusa, Medea i s not yet sure how s h e . w i l l complete her revenge on Jason.  I t i s at t h i s moment that  Megara, the Fury, and Apsyrtos, the ghost, cornspire to d r i v e Medea mad enough to k i l l her c h i l d r e n : Che t u t t a f u r i o s a Divenga, & a s s a i peggio In Corinto de p r o p r i F i g l i f a c c i a , d i quello C h ' e l l a g i a fece i n Colco, Del p i c c o l o f r a t e l l o . (Act IV, p. 56) Although Medea promises to comply with a l l t h e i r wishes, they declare that they w i l l remain u n t i l they can c a r r y her o f f t o h e l l and her j u s t ::  punishment.  In t h i s p l a y , a l l the deaths occur o f f - s t a g e and are reported  i n gruesome d e t a i l to the fascinated chorus by various secondary characters.  No sooner has the d e s t r u c t i o n of Creon, Creusa and the palace  been reported, than the nurse rushes on to t e l l of the murder of the c h i l d r e n . The f i r s t one Medea apparently k i l l e d "senz macchia, senza colpo o peccato," (Act V, p. 67) while the second one i s stabbed, beheaded and divided between father and mother i n front of Jason's eyes. A messenger then follows to report on Medea's death; Tshe has stabbed hers e l f w i t h the same k n i f e used on her c h i l d r e n , thrown h e r s e l f from the roof and has been l e d away to h e l l by the w a i t i n g Megara and Apsyrtos. Jason then k i l l s himself so that .he can j o i n h i s c h i l d r e n and continue h i s revenge on Medea i n the other world.  F i n a l l y , on the advice of the  44  chorus, the o l d nurse goes to drown h e r s e l f so that she may not  fall  v i c t i m to the wrath of the C o r i n t h i a n s , l e a v i n g the chorus to pray f o r the quiet and peaceful l i f e i n the h e r e a f t e r . Dolce, ori the other hand, f o l l o w s E u r i p i d e s q u i t e c l o s e l y a s f a r as planning and execution of the crime are concerned.  The drama of the  c h i l d murder i t s e l f i s heightened, however, by the escape of the c h i l d r e n who come to beg the chorus f o r p r o t e c t i o n . But Medea j u s t orders the chorus to stand back and drags the c h i l d r e n by t h e i r h a i r into the house and to t h e i r death.  The p o s s i b i l i t y of danger to the c h i l d r e n i s hinted  at throughout the p l a y , e s p e c i a l l y by the nurse who has a dream-premonit i o n of events t o come. Dolce's Medea i s an even greater master of d i s s i m u l a t i o n than the Euripidean one.  She, who has such a strong sense of her s o c i a l p o s i t i o n ,  o f f e r s h e r s e l f as a servant and slave to Creon, j u s t so that her c h i l d r e n may stay w i t h t h e i r f a t h e r .  She explains to the chorus, however, that  she w i l l never l e t the c h i l d r e n f a l l i n t o enemy hands and that she can only envisage k i l l i n g them because she i s resolved to die with them.  This  r e s o l u t i o n i s not c a r r i e d through i n the end when Medea, together w i t h her c h i l d r e n ' s bodies, simply vanishes i n t o t h i n a i r . At one point Medea appears to accept the chorus' advice to k i l l Jason and spare the c h i l d r e n whom she loves., but she s t i l l sends them o f f to Creusa w i t h the fatal gifts.  I n t h i s p l a y , her revenge i s i n i t i a t e d before Aegeus ap-  pears on the scene and o f f e r s her refuge and f r i e n d s h i p . Medea loves her c h i l d r e n but does not want to see them as servants to the Corinthians or to t h e i r future step-Brothers.  When she, too, has destroyed not only  45  Creusa and Creon, but w i t h them the palace and many innocent bystanders - although her g i f t s were meant to hurt o n l y Creon and Creusa - she declares h e r s e l f s a t i s f i e d to d i e now that her enemies are dead.  Sud-  denly, however, Medea becomes possessed and i n a f i t of i n s a n i t y k i l l s the  children.  Here the second c h i l d , seeing how- she stabs the f i r s t one  over and over again, even asks to be put of h i s misery q u i c k l y : 0 misero f r a t e l l o Io t i faro ben tosto compa:gnfa Madre apritemi i l petto: 0 segate c o l ferro Questo misero c o l l o , Oime. CAct V, p. 39) Against Jason's wrath Medea i s protected by the same magic she used to save Jason.  This Medea knows she w i l l s u f f e r f o r her murders, but her  desire f o r revenge was greater.  On the whole though, Dolce's Medea seems  so undecided t h a t , had i t . n o t been f o r her temporary madness, she probably would never have stayed of the same opinion long enough a c t u a l l y to k i l l the  children.  Why and how she disappears at the end of the p l a y , instead  of committing s u i c i d e as she intended t o , i s never explained. In summary then, we can trace a growing dehumanization of Medea along with a s h i f t from tragedy to melodrama i n these sions of the Medea-story.  Renaissance v e r -  The emphasis of Medea's reasons f o r revenge  has s h i f t e d from injured honour and punishment of the oath-breaker to sexual jealousy.  I t i s the revenge of the rejected woman who i s sup-'  planted by a younger r i v a l .  Only Dolce s t i l l stresses the i m p l i c a t i o n s  of the l o s s of s o c i a l status and of Medea's consciousness of her injured honour.  Not one of these plays portrays a Medea whose tragedy- i t Is;  46  t h a t she c o n s c i o u s l y too w i l l for i t .  chooses  t o do e v i l , knowing f u l l y w e l l t h a t  s u f f e r f o r h e r deed and t h a t she a l o n e bears the  she  responsibility  47  (4)  17th Century:  Corneille and Longepierre  The two French Medeas of the 17th century also follow more the Senecan than the Euripldean example.  Corneille denies Being influenced  By Euripides at a l l , while Longepierre acknowledges Both. Seneca and Euripides as well as Corneille as models.  Although there Is no question  that Medea s t i l l i s a powerful witch In these two plays, she has Become more human and more r e a l i s t i c than the Renaissance Medeas. Medea i s siorely provoked By her adversaries who r e a l l y are quite despicaBle and must carry a large share of the Blame. Medea's revenge, of course, exceeds reasonaBle punishment. In Corneille's play Medea i s rejected Because Jason not only finds Creusa more a t t r a c t i v e But also Because a match with her has p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l advantages.  In addition to the usual deeds to save Jason,  Medea, at h i s request, has also rejuvenated Aeson, Jason's father, which gave her the idea for the murder of P e l i a s .  Creon promised asylum to  the e x i l e s , But then, when threatened with war By Acastus, traded o f f Medea i n a peace settlement.  She has thus Become a p o l i t i c a l pawn.  Medea's e x i l e also allows Creon to save Jason and to remove Medea as the one oBstacle to h i s daughter's love and h i s own desire f o r a sonin-law. Medea feels her honour has Been injured Because she has not Been consulted and i s used i n a p o l i t i c a l manoeuvre. Furthermore, she cert a i n l y has reasons for jealousy. This Creusa i s quite openly and unaBashedly i n love with Jason, so much so that she i s prepared to Break her previous Betrothal to Aegeus, King of Athens, i n order to marry the  48  penniless and homeless, But young and handsome Jason. Medea's victims a c t u a l l y p l a y into her hands. need for her to dissimulate, scheme or plan. Banishment only for the following day*  There i s l i t t l e  Creon pronounces her  And Creusa asks for Medea's  roBe, of which she has long Been envious, i n exchange f o r interceding on the children's Behalf with Creon.  Jason, with his usual lack of  perception and tact, points out to Medea that the roBe i s not appropriate to her new status as a homeless e x i l e .  Medea's resentment of  Creusa i s thus quite j u s t i f i e d : C'est trop peu de Jason que ton o e i l me deroBe, C'est trop peu de mon l i t , tu veux encore ma roBe, Rivale insatiaBle; et c'est encor trop peu, S i , l a force a l a main, tu l ' a s sans mon aveu; II faut que par moi-meme e l i e te s o i t o f f e r t e , Que perdant mes enfants, j'achete encor leur perte; II en faut un hommage a tes d i v i n s a t t r a i t s , Et des remerciements au v o l que tu me f a i s . , (p. 598-9) Under these circumstances no s p e c i a l intrigue i s needed to induce Creusa to wear the f a t a l g i f t . Corneille's Medea i s also extremely proud. for the return of Jason.  She never Begs Creon  She s t i l l loves Jason and does ask him to  at. least keep h i s faith., i f he cannot keep h i s loye.  When she r e a l i z e s  that he i s l o s t to her, she swears that at least her children w i l l never Become Brothers to Creusa's children: Je l'empecherai Bien ce melange odieux, Qui deshonore ensemble et ma race et l e s dieux. Cp. 595) P i e r r e Corneille, Medee, i n Theatre Complet, Tome I, Editions Gamier Freres, P a r i s , 1971. ( A l l quotes from Corneille's Medee are taken from this text.)  49_  For Medea t h e i r death, thus Becomes necessary not only- to punish. Jason But also to protect Medea's honour.  Medea's s p e l l on the roBe Is  so that i t w i l l Be f a t a l only to Creon and Creusa  Thus the test of  v  the roBe which Creon undertakes after he has Been warned aBout Medea's dangerous arts does not reveal i t s f a t a l propensity.  In t h i s play,  for the f i r s t time, Creon and Creusa die on stage, consumed By i n v i s i B l e fire.  Both charge Jason with the revenge of their deaths. Medea'ss  future i s not endangered i n this play as she knows that the dragon chariot w i l l Be at her disposal and Aegeus -whom she frees from prison By her magic - not only promises her asylum i n Athens, But also h i s crown and his hand. Medea has some misgivings aBout k i l l i n g the children - who never a c t u a l l y appear i n the play - But then decides that: souffre en pere aussi Bien qu'en amant." (p. 610)  "II faut q u ' i l  However, i n t h i s  play the c h i l d murder Becomes an addition to the more important removal of her r i v a l .  That the unfortunate children were doomed i n any case  i n the struggle Between their proud and jealous mother and t h e i r s e l f seeking father Becomes evident when Jason decides to k i l l the children i n revenge f o r Creusa's death: Instrument des fureurs d'une mere insensee, Indignes rejetons de inon amour passe, Quel malheureus destin vous avait reserves A porter l e trepas a qui vous a sauves? C'est vous, p e t i t s ingrats, que, malgre l a nature, II me faut immoler dessus leur sepulture Que l a sorciere en vous commence de s o u f f r i r ; Que son premier tourment s o i t de vous v o i r mourir. (p. 616) A f t e r Medea's f i n a l taunts and disappearance •— content w i t h her  50  day's work - Jason r e a l i z e s the extent of h i s f a i l u r e and h i s i s o l a t i o n . As he cannot revenge himself on Medea, he, l i k e G a l l a d e i ' s Jason, commits s u i c i d e , but o n l y so that he may r e j o i n h i s beloved Creusa. Longepierre's Jason i s even more enamoured w i t h Creusa than Cornellle's.  He i s a perfect p i c t u r e of the l o v e — s i c k Iiero. l y i n g at  his beloved'"s f e e t .  In t h i s play Creusa o n l y admits her love of Jason  f r e e l y when she i s dying.  Creon has arranged the marriage w i t h Jason,  but Creusa i s a f r a i d of Medea's anger and her supernatural powers, which are minimized by Jason. Medea can tame nature w i t h her great magical powers but she cannot overcome her love f o r Jason and i s extremely jealous of Creusa. Her sense of honour i s also injured By Jason's b e t r a y a l .  Again Creon,  o'fihLs own accord, o f f e r s Medea the day's grace i n her order f o r e x i l e . Her tone i s very haughty i n her interview w i t h Creon whom she does not ask f o r any favours. She i s determined to f l e e i n g l o r y , remembered by the Corinthians forever. However, t h i s Medea would be prepared to leave without taking revenge, i f only she could have the c h i l d r e n .  On two occasions she  begs Jason f o r them, but he refuses to give them up.  Medea cannot  bear the thought of her c h i l d r e n enslaved to Creusa's c h i l d r e n . f e e l s she must free them from t h i s dishonourable f a t e .  Deprived of  her c h i l d r e n , nothing stands i n the way of Medea's revenge.  She, l i k e  Euripides' M£dea, decides to dissimulate and apologizes to Jason o f f e r i n g the robe which she knows Creusa admires:  She  51  Tu scais qu'en arrivant en ces funestes l i e u x , De Creuse eblouie e l l e encnanta les yeux. Admirant son eclat et vantant sa richesse, E l l e a tout employe, p i e r r e , dons, promesse, Pour pouvoir posseder ce superbe ornement. CP81) 7  There i s no doubt therefore that her: g i f t w i l l he accepted.  She  i n s t r u c t s her reluctant children to humble themselves, to forget their proud ancestry and to bow~ to fate.  Creon and Creusa are both heedless  to warnings and die consumed by i n v i s i b l e flames.  Creusa dies i n Jason's  arms, professing her love for the f i r s t and l a s t time, and begging him to l i v e so that her memory might survive. Only after the children have l e f t with the present, which again w i l l bring harm only to Creon and Creusa, does the necessity of murdering her children present i t s e l f f u l l y to Medea.  After Creusa's  death,  Jason, whose inconstancy i n love has become quite evident, might and probably would marry again and the children would be doomed to a l i f e of slavery: Esclaves, Estrangers, sans appui, sans secours, Quelle suite de maux va marquer tous leurs jours. C'est en vain que je vais leur r a v i r leur Maratre, De quelque objet nouveau mon perfide i d o l a t r e , Les remettra bientot sous un joug odieux, Et les accablera d'un poids injurieux. (p. 94) It i s mother-love which strengthens her resolution for revenge: Tu l e s aimes,cruelle, et tu l e s l a i s s e s v i v r e ! Aux malheurs'les plus grands ta foiblesse l e s l i v r e ^ Et ta k p i t i e barbare en respectant leurs jours, Du plus affreux destin leur prepare l e cours. Cp. 98) H i l a i r e Bernard de Requeleyne, Baron de Longepierre, Medee, Editions A. - G. Nizet, Paris, 19.67. CA11 quotes from Longepierre's Medee are taken from this text.)  52  Jason's treason has given Medea the strength to wipe out a l l the traces of t h e i r h o r r i b l e love, even i f her magic i s unable to overcome that love.  Although Medea enjoys to see Jason s u f f e r , she f e e l s she was a  t o o l used by the gods f o r Jason's punishment: Vengeurs des trahisons, Ennemis des Ingrats, Les Dieux pour t'accabler ont employe mon bras; La foudfe e t o i t trop peu pour punir ton offense. J ' a i s e r v i l e u r j u s t i c e et rempli l e u r vengeance. CP- H I ) She too knew about her means of escape, but she i s ready to regain her mythical realm rather than Aegeus' Athens.  She can take her time  taunting and t o r t u r i n g Jason as her magic has rooted him to the spot. A f t e r her departure, the only revenge l e f t to Jason by the inhuman gods i s s u i c i d e . P r e f e r r i n g the u s e f u l to the honestys quences f o r C o r n e i l l e ' s and Longepierre's  Jason.  n a s  had f a t a l conse-  53  (5)  18th Century:  Lessing, Glover, Cotter and Klinger  Lessing Lessing uses the Medea story only as a remote model for h i s Miss Sara Sampson.  His bourgeois tragedy i s , however, the f i r s t Medea  play i n modern dress. not  There i s no c h i l d murder i n this play which i s  so much concerned with Medea's crimes but with the dilemma of a  young g i r l who loves bothahererenegaae seducer and her virtuous father. Having been led astray, she i s doomed, even though her father forgives her,  while the lover, having lost f a i t h i n himself and  humanity,  commits suicide. Glover If Lessing's Medea-figure was the incarnation of e v i l , Glover presents us for the f i r s t time with a Medea who  i s r e a l l y good.  She  i s not at a l l responsible for the murder of her children committed i n a f i t of madness.  The r e a l v i l l a i n of the play i s the impious, arro-  gant and ambitious Creon, who,  together with Jason's father Aeson, com-  mands the divorce and the new marriage. even the gods'.  Medea has everyone's sympathy,  In this play Jason has come to Corinth alone i n order  to form a m i l i t a r y a l l i a n c e with Creon against Acastus and has been coerced into this marriage.  He deeply regrets his decision and begs  Medea's forgiveness the moment he sees her again, who, his  impatient for  return, has followed him with the children to Corinth..  knows  Aeson, who  that Jason w i l l succumb to Medea's beauty, t r i e s to prevent a  meeting between the two.  Medea, however,refuses to l i s t e n to Jason's  assurance of repentence and r e j e c t s him.  From Creon who treats her i n  54  a very overbearing manner: To debate, weak woman, Is thy known province; to command i s mine.,, (p. 45, Act I I I ) she only asks f o r three hours to prepare f o r e x i l e .  She i s a woman  renowned f o r her wisdom and magical powers which so f a r she has employed for good only; none of her usual crimes are mentioned i n t h i s play.  In  desperation Medea conjures up Hecate and asks f o r revenge since the powers of h e l l cannot o f f e r compassion f o r s u f f e r i n g .  Medea f e e l s  Creusa i s too i n s i g n i f i c a n t to be punished, and the gods are already determined to punish Creon, which leaves her with Jason.  In s p i t e of  Hecate's warning, Medea wants to know whether Jason w i l l ever love her again.  The prophecy i s misinterpreted by her: Against t h y s e l f , unhappy, thou p r e v a i l ' s t . Ere night's black wheels begin t h e i r gloomy course, What, thou dost l o v e , s h a l l p e r i s h by thy rage, Nor thou be conscious, when the stroke i s giv'n; Then a despairing wand'rer must thou trace The paths of sorrow i n remotest climes. (Act  I I I , p. 53)  The thought of k i l l i n g Jason dismays her so much that she c a l l s f o r Jason again prepared to forgive him. But by now i t i s too l a t e : has r a t i f i e d h i s marriage to Creusa.  he  At t h i s news Medea goes mad; she  sees v i s i o n s and k i l l s her c h i l d r e n without being conscious of her deed. Jason, i n the meantime, has another change of'heart.  He renounces Creusa  and - l i v i n g up to h i s heroic image f o r the f i r s t time - convinces even Aeson of t h e i r unjust behaviour.  Just as Medea comes to her senses again  and r e a l i z e s the enormity of her deed, Jason brings her the news that g  Richard Glover, Medea, H. Woodfall, London, 1790. Glover's Medea are taken from t h i s text.)  ( A l l quotes from  55  they w i l l f l e e together.  When he hears the awful truth, he not only  shows compassion for Medea but assumes the f u l l g u i l t himself: 0 thou, whose equal balance to mankind Distributes j u s t i c e , and restoring mercy, If j>ray'rs from this polluted breast may reach Thy pure abode, exert thy righteous powir; Drop thy asswaging p i t y on her heart; On me exhaust the quiver of thy vengeance. (Act V, p. 92) Both Medea and Jason want to commit suicide, but are stopped by divine intervention.  Medea i s transported i n the dragon chariot to some  mysterious place for atonement.  Jason must l i v e to reclaim h i s father's  throne and be a protector to the helpless and homeless: Thus s h a l l the censure which thy f r a i l t y merits, Be changed to blessings on thy gen'rpus deeds, And time's l i g h t finger loosen from thy breast Its root of care t i l l peace of mind return. (Act V, p. 98) The blasphemous  Creon i s disposed of.': by the angry and insulted goddess  Juno, and a sad peace returns to Corinth. Glover's Medea then i s an i l l - s t a r r e d being who k i l l s her children due to a coincidence of unfortunate circumstances. Gotter This play starts only a f t e r Medea's e x i l e .  She returns on her  dragon chariot to take revenge, yet she cannot decide what her revenge w i l l be.  Death seems too l i g h t a punishment for Jason, and Creusa has  no children by him yet, the thought of her own children occurs therefore from the beginning:  " A l l e s , was ihm zugehoiriti, i s t strafbar - Sein  Andenken werde von der Erde v e r t i l g t ? -durch dich, Ungliickliche?" (p.  10)  She has a v i s i o n of Jason's suffering and despair which she  F r i e d r i c h Wilhelm Gotter, Medea, Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, Gotha, 1775. ( A l l quotes from Gotter's Medea are taken from this text.)  56  greatly enjoys.  However, when she chances to see the children and they  t e l l her how they have missed her, she reconsiders. taking them with her but fears discovery. enemy hands as a sad fate awaits them.  She thinks about  They must not be l e f t i n  The kindest thing Medea can  do for them i s to k i l l them and thus free them from future slavery.  She  draws a dagger, but drops i t again to embrace the children and orders them to  flee.  She i s ready to k i l l herself when she hears shouts from the  wedding feast? which seem to mock her.  Revenge i s now unavoidable:  "Noch b i s t du Medea! - Rache dich und s t i r b dann!"  (p. 17)  For her  crime however, she needs darkness for which she c a l l s on the powers of h e l l who oblige her wish:  "Das ganze Theater wird Nacht, und das  Ungewitter i s t mit a l i e n seinen Schrecken da." (p. 19) off  Medea rushes  triumphant with dagger drawn while the thunderstorm continues.  After the deed which she feels has given freedom to her children she commits them to Juno's care.  But her revenge i s not yet completed:  Peitscht ihn her Den Verbrecher, Dass er sehe Dass er hore, Dass noch Gotter, Gotter leben! (p. 20) Jason arrives i n "orestischer Raserei", (p. 21) not knowing where he i s or what has happened.  Creusa has been snatched from h i s arms and  now Medea appears i n her chariot, almost i n v i s i b l e at f i r s t and points to  the children k i l l e d by her.  them.  Medea loved them and k i l l e d them to free  Jason's curses are i n e f f e c t i v e as Medea disappears triumphant i n  her dragon chariot again.  Jason does not dare to touch h i s children's  57  bodies.  Revenge must be l e f t to the gods and t h i s Jason, too, has no  a l t e r n a t i v e but to commit s u i c i d e . We see thus a Medea who acts quite without plan and k i l l s the c h i l d r e n to f r e e them from envisaged slavery and to revenge h e r s e l f on Jason.  Creusa's f a t e i s never revealed.  There i s no i n d i c a t i o n of  humanity i n Medea as she already appears on her dragon c h a r i o t at the beginning of the play and as her power over the elements i s demonstrated by her changing day i n t o night. Klingerr In K l i n g e r ' s Medea i n K o r i n t h f a t e appears i n the prologue to e x p l a i n the a c t i o n to come. Medea and Jason are both part of Aphrodite's revenge plan on Phoebus who revealed her a f f a i r w i t h Ares.  F i r s t Medea,  the granddaughter of the Sun, and the daughter of Hecate, queen of the underworld, had to f a l l i n love w i t h Jason. magic powers f o r the love of man.  She v o l u n t a r i l y gave up her  But i n Corinth Jason was made to f a l l  i n love with Creusa and to r e j e c t Medea's passion.  Medea, as w e l l as  Jason, i s an instrument of Aphrodite's revenge then.  Furthermore, Medea  i s ordered to k i l l her c h i l d r e n by her mother Hecate who demands t h e i r blood to atone f o r the k i l l i n g of Apsyrfcorss and f o r the death of a baby son Hecate l o s t through negligence while g r i e v i n g f o r  Apsyrtos.  When  Medea h e s i t a t e s to k i l l her c h i l d r e n , Hecate hardens her heart and makes her b l i n d to t h e i r looks and deaf to t h e i r pleas.  She a l s o t e l l s her that  Jason w i l l probably r e j e c t Medea's sons once he has c h i l d r e n by Creusa. Medea cannot, therefore, be held f u l l y responsible f o r these deaths ordained by r i v a l goddesses.  58  Furthermore, Medea i s at no time considered to be a human being, although she t r i e s to be just l i k e one. Her greatness i s always f r i g h t ening even i n love.  Jason now fears her and longs f o r the love of an  ordinary woman: Ich liebe s i e nicht mehr, und that ichs j e , so war's Verblendung, v i e l l e i c h t Werk ihrer Zauberey. Mich geliistet nach einem Weibe, der ich mieh f r e y w i l l i g gebe, von der i c h fordern kann, was s i e von mir fordert; die mieh nicht mit eisernen Banden der Nothwendigkeit, der Menschen Underdi"uckeron, f e s s l e . Mich geliistet nach einem Weibe, deren Nerven aus gleichem Thone mit mir gebildet seyen, d i e schwach und wdeder starker fiihle, und i n dieser leichten Mischung mit empfinden lasse, ihre Mutter sey von dem Stoff der meinen. (Act I , p. 169) 1  Medea i s feared by a l l even though she has not committed any crimes i n Corinth.  As a matter of fact Medea shows incredible r e s t r a i n t with Creon,  for instance:  "Eben darum, dass i c h durch einen Wink Dich todten kann,  todt' i c h Dich n i c h t . " (Act I I , p. 185) With Jason Medea r e a l l y humbles h e r s e l f . Love has tied her to theai herself.  Love has tied her to the human race, but she has never been  accepted or understood.  Neither her deeds nor her emotions can be  measured by human standards.  She cannot f e e l repentance f o r her murders  although she loves her children even more than she does Jason. There i s no need for planning on the part of Medea.  Smarting from  Jason's rejection, from her humiliation and from the thought of separation from her children, she c a l l s on her mother Hecate and from that moment on the d i r e c t i o n of the revenge i s taken out of her hands.  The children  F.M. Klinger, Medea i n Korinth, i n Werfce, Zweyter T e i l , Verlag'/von Gerhard Fleischer, L e i p z i g , 1832. ( A l l quotes from Klinger's Medea are taken from this text.)  59  who have been permitted to accompany Medea f o r a part of the way, are asleep.  With the oncoming darkness Medea ceases to be the granddaughter  of the sun, but becomes wholly Hecate's daughter.  Although torn by her  love f o r them, she k i l l s the children at her mother's command: "Ich heische der Schlafer Blut fur die Geliebten!"  (Act IV, p. 228) The  Furies then are ordered to take the children's bodies to the temple and expose them to the b r i d a l party.  Creusa dies instantly from shock,  while both Jason and Creon are hounded by the Furies f o r the rest of their l i v e s f o r t h e i r share of g u i l t i n having broken t h e i r oaths ..and the laws of h o s p i t a l i t y i n rejecting and banishing Medea.  Medea, who i s beyond  the Furies' reach, returns i n her dragon chariot to take the children's bodies for b u r i a l and Dann f l i e h ' i c h von meinen Drachen gezogen i n die Felsenhohlen des Kaukasos, starre hin i n meiner schrecklichen Grosse, betrachte mich i n meinem furchtbaren Selbst!" (Act V, p. 242) The 18th century brings for the f i r s t time i n Glover's play a Medea who i s good, but there are attempts at excusing or j u s t i f y i n g Medea i n a l l the plays.  The c h i l d murder i s no longer an act of the  conscious w i l l but i s done i n a f i t of insanity or on divine command. Medea, although s t i l l of divine o r i g i n , i s no longer a witch or a monster. Responsibility s h i f t s on forces outside Medea and Jason: v i l l a i n or the gods and circumstances are to blame.  Creon i s the  Furthermore, Medea's  crime - the murder of the children and of her r i v a l - has become two separate acts. revenge.  No longer are both deeds necessary to complete Medea's  In the three most,important plays Creusa i s not k i l l e d by  60  Medea; i n Lessing's play there i s no c h i l d murder.  Nevertheless,  there  i s more emphasis on sexual jealousy than on i n j u r e d honour and Medea has become more of a woman - even i f perhaps a rather overwhelming superwoman - than E u r i p i d e s ' Medea with her masculine concepts of honour and justice.  Jason, although he s t i l l c a r r i e s a f a i r share of the blame,  i s portrayed as being more manly and more responsible, although f o r him considerations of p o l i t i c a l expediency s t i l l overrule the idea of j u s t i c e . The aspect o f Medea, the stranger and the barbarian, as w e l l as s o c i a l problems i n general are underplayed i n most of the plays.  Lessing also  removes the story from the c l a s s i c a l background to a contemporary s e t t i n g . The most important innovation of the 18th century, however, i s the t r a n s formation of Medea from a free agent i n t o a v i c t i m i n Glover's play. The trend to see Medea as a v i c t i m w i l l become even more evident i n the 20th century.  61  (6)  19th Century:  G r i l l p a r z e f , Lucas, Legouve  The 19th century brings us one Austrian and two French Medeaplays, of which G r i l l p a r z e r ' s i s by f a r the most outstanding.  There  i s a marked return to the Euripidean treatment of the material and, due to 19th century positicVisjn the preoccupation with the supernatural is diminishing, especially i n G r i l l p a r z e r ' s and Legouve's plays where the action i s e n t i r e l y on the human l e v e l and the motivation for Medea's dreadful deed i s psychological rather than mythical. GrilJparzer G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea i s a woman torn between her barbarian ancestry and her adopted Greek way of l i f e , personified by her nurse Gora, on the one hand, and Creusa,on the other hand.  Medea i s a being i n t r a n s i t i o n .  There i s no p o s s i b i l i t y ofe.return to her barbarian past and her attempts to assimilate Greek culture f a i l , mainly due to Jason's indifference and lovelessness but also due to Medea's impatient and passionate nature. She t r i e s to be l i k e Creusa - quiet, submissive, kind and gentle - but i s bound to f a i l because she lacks Creusa's rather stupid d o c i l i t y and her c h i l d i s h lack of f e e l i n g and understanding.  Medea i s a woman, clever,  wise and passionate, who cannot exist within the self-imposed confines of the d u t i f u l wife, especially since she f a i l s to get any moral support from Jason.  After her desperate attempt to win Jason back with h i s  favourite childhood song, she f u l l y r e a l i z e s her i s o l a t i o n . neither past nor future for her.  There i s  There i s only the present, and she now  battles for the survival of her true s e l f . As long as Medea s t i l l has her children, a l l i s not l o s t .  But these  62  now prove to be true sons of their father. and the comfort and ease of their new l i f e .  They reject her f o r Creusa I t i s an innovation  Grill-  parzer brings to the Medea story to l e t the children choose whether to follow t h e i r mother into e x i l e or stay with t h e i r father, and they prove that man can be bribed by the good things i n l i f e at a very early age. This lack of l o y a l t y to Medea stands i n marked contrast to Galladei's children one of whom v o l u n t a r i l y offered to follow Medea into e x i l e . For  G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea, r e j e c t i o n i s thus twofold:  a mother. L i f e now has l o s t a l l meaning for her. i s o n l y suffering and misery.  as a wife and as  In her experience i t  Although she seems to hesitate before  k i l l i n g the children, she does not f e e l remorse f o r her crime, because the  children are r e a l l y the lucky ones.  Through their death they have  been saved from the dreariness of existence while Medea, and Jason are condemned to l i v e .  The r e a l tragedy i s l i f e , not death:  Nicht traur' i c h , dass die Kinder.night Tsehr sind, Ich traure, dass s i e waren und dass wir sind.  1 1  (p.  72)  i i  Medea's feelings for her children seem to be a mixture of hatred for  their father, whom she sees i n them; anger at the children's own  betrayal of her; love of them, which w i l l not leave them motherless and with strangers; and pride, which refuses to l e t her abandon her children to  the enemy.  blood.  She, l i k e Euripides' Medea, k i l l s the children i n cold  Theie i s no insanity, no supernatural constraint, nor are there  Franz G r i l l p a r z e r , Medea, i n Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Franz G r i l l p a r z e r : Medea, U l l s t e i n Biicher, Frankfurt/M,,1966. ( A l l quotes from G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea are taken from this text.) 1 1  63  Furies and ghosts l u r i n g her on.  She i s f u l l y aware of the consequences  of her deed and of the s u f f e r i n g she i s i n f l i c t i n g on h e r s e l f , but accepts them.  Her l a s t words to Jason:  have a very C h r i s t i a n r i n g to them.  she  "Trage! Dulde! Biisse!" (p. 73)  They also seem to i n d i c a t e that  through the i n t e n s i t y of her s u f f e r i n g and despair, and despite the enormity of her deed, Medea has attained a new resigned d i g n i t y .  By  returning the Golden Fleece to Delphi and submitting h e r s e l f to the v e r d i c t of the o r a c l e , Medea has f i n a l l y made the t r a n s i t i o n to Greek civilization.  The barbarian i n her would seem to have been destroyed  by the enormity of her deed, and she has attained the quiet r e s i g n a t i o n she v a i n l y sought at the beginning o-f the play. G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea then does not destroy her humanity and  rejoin  the world of the supernatural w i t h the triumph of her revenge, but  has  submitted h e r s e l f to the w i l l of the gods and the f a t e of ordinary humans, that i s to the s u f f e r i n g arid hopelessness of existence. e a r l i e r crimes are minimized i n t h i s play. of her brother's death who t i v i t y as Jason's hostage.  She seems to be  Medea's  innocent  committed s u i c i d e rather than stay i n capThere are three d i f f e r e n t versions of  how  P e l i a s died of which hers - which would prove her innocent - i s not the l e a s t convincing.  Medea has been wronged, humiliated and r e j e c t e d ,  yet she i s only able to take her dreadful revenge when she regains possession of the Golden Fleece - the symbol of human greed, ambition e v i l - which she had buried upon a r r i v a l i n Corinth.  and  The return of the  Fleece to Delphi where i t had been s t o l e n seems tbocomplete the c y c l e of G r i l l p a r z e r ' s t r i l o g y The Golden  Fleece, of which Medea i s the t h i r d and  64  f i n a l play.  Medea has regained an imposing d i g n i t y and appears f a r l e s s  g u i l t y than many previous Medeas, although she i s prepared to expiate her crime.  She, u n l i k e Jason, has l o s t her dreams of happiness and fame  and i s w i l l i n g to accept l i f e f o r what i t r e a l l y i s : Was 1st der Erde Glxick? - E i n Schatten! Was i s t der Erde Ruhm? - E i n Traum! Du Armer! Der von Schatten du getraumt! Der Traum i s t aus, a l l e i n die Nacht noch n i c h t . (p.  73)  Lucas The Medea of Lucas i s rather conventional and tends to f o l l o w a v a r i e t y of previous versions of the s t o r y , b r i n g i n g but few innovations. Here the marriage between Creusa and Jason has been planned i n secret for  fear that Medea, who has been l e f t behind i n Iolcos w i t h i t h e  c h i l d r e n , and Jason's father Aeson, w i l l f i n d out about i t and use her f r i g h t f u l magic powers to prevent i t from taking place. However, Medea does a r r i v e i n Corinth to f i n d out what caused Jason's delay.  Creon  considers her an inhuman monster who has already poisoned her children's minds, so that they must be banished w i t h Medea, i n s p i t e of Creusa's pleas on t h e i r behalf. Nevertheless he gives Medea one day's grace a l though he does not t r u s t her feigned calm and assurances of goodwill. Jason, however, fears f o r h i s children's f a t e , i f l e f t i n Medea's custody. He wants to have them brought up by the centaur who educated him.  In  t h i s p l a y Medea has committed a l l previous crimes and c o l d l y admits them as she f e e l s the world i s f u l l of s i m i l a r deeds:  f o r her d e s t r u c t i o n i s  the law of the universe. Medea invokes the Furies of h e l l to a s s i s t i n her revenge but then calms down again and does not reveal her revenge  65  plans to anyone.  In the meantime, i t i s Creon who t r i e s to arrange f o r  Medea's asylum i n Athens w i t h Aegeus who>has j u s t landed i n the harbour of Corinth.  The wedding procession therefore s t a r t s without Creon, but  i s halted by Medea who expresses her wish to hand over her husband persona l l y to Creusa and even o f f e r s her c h i l d r e n to her p r o t e c t i o n . poisoned cloak and t i a r a are put on Creusa by Medea h e r s e l f .  The Creon as-  sures Medea of her safe passage and e x i l e i n "Athens and she bids her children farewell.  She t r i e s to k i l l them, but her motives f o r doing so  are not convincing. There r e a l l y seems no need f o r t h i s deed i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r play.  I t i s n ' t s u r p r i s i n g therefore that she changes her  mind and decides to take them w i t h her on to Aegeus' ship.  Jason worries  about h i s children's fate as soon as the poisoned garments f i n a l l y s t a r t to work and the flames are consuming Creusa.  Jason himself i s not a f -  fected by the flames because Medea's magic protects him so ...that he may continue to l i v e and s u f f e r .  Suddenly, Medea reappears, having k i l l e d  the c h i l d r e n i n a nearby temple instead of making f o r the safety of Aegeus' ship.  Her magic stops Jason and h i s s o l d i e r s and the c u r t a i n  f a l l s on Jason's f i n a l curse. In t h i s play the motivation f o r the i n f a n t i c i d e seems to be very weak.  There i s hatred of the father and a desire f o r revenge.  However,  there i s no i n t e r n a l s t r u g g l e , no necessity or humiliated pride overcoming mother-love.  The c h i l d r e n are not implicated i n Creusa's death and  Medea's escape and future are secure.  Although Medea's magic powers are  undoubtedly great, she i s neither possessed nor insane when she k i l l s her c h i l d r e n , nor does she s a c r i f i c e them to atone f o r her brother's  66  death.  I t i s simply a cold-blooded and completely unnecessary murder  which doesn't even have the desired e f f e c t of destroying Jason. Legbuve Legouve's Medea i s much c l o s e r to G r i l l p a r z e r ' s - a woman much wronged and misunderstood.' Worn out, cold and s t a r v i n g , Medea and her c h i l d r e n a r r i v e i n Corinth i n search of Jason.  They are offered food  and. s h e l t e r by Creusa, who on the eve of her marriage i s t r y i n g to appease the goddess Diana.  The augurs f o r her proposed marriage to Jason, who  has convinced Creon and h i s daughter that Medea deserted him, have been frightening.  The two women f e e l great sympathy f o r each other.  Both  are i i i the sway of love, although Medea's sad experience contrasts sharply with Creusa's j o y f u l hopes.  Only when Medea reveals her joy  and p r i d e , hearing from Orpheus that Jason l i v e s , do the two women r e a l i z e that they love the same man. In Legouve's play i t i s only because Medea threatens Creusa that she i s banished by Creon who had abjured h i s daughter's marriage i n s p i t e of Creusa's pleas and Jason's threats. Medea's safety. suit.  Creon i s concerned f o r  Also when Medea begs f o r her c h i l d r e n he supports her  Only i f she gives up Jason w i l l i n g l y w i l l Creon give h i s consent  to the new marriage. the c h i l d r e n .  Medea eventually gives i n t h i n k i n g to keep at l e a s t  J a s o n , e f i n a l l y ; f allows Medea to choose one of them to  f o l l o w her i n t o e x i l e .  However, her love f o r them makes a choice im-  possible and she asks f o r the c h i l d r e n to decide.  But they too have been  seduced by Creusa's gentleness and the joys of a carefree childhood i n Corinth.  Faced with a p o s s i b l e return to misery and s t a r v a t i o n w i t h a  67  a mother whose w i l d moods they f e a r , they too cannot tear themselves from the haven which Creusa and Corinth represent f o r them.  They  s t i l l love t h e i r mother, and when she c a l l s her eldest he obeys a l b e i t reluctantly.  Medea f e e l s that Creusa has s t o l e n the c h i l d r e n ' s a f -  f e c t i o n and bids him to return to Creusa: I blame him not, he i s young, hath suffered much, and i s of misery weary! But thou, false-hearted one, to rob a wretched outcast of her only wealth, seduce her c h i l d r e n , a f t e r l u r i n g from her the husband who owed a l l to her - thou hast made him f a l s e , hath rendered them u n g r a t e f u l , and now reservest f o r me, as crowning blow, a t o r t u r e d i r e and atrocious, invented w i t h malignant a r t , f o r me, the sight of mine own c h i l d r e n deserting ge f o r thee! Oh gods! No more, no more! (p. 3 1 )  1 2  Jason's v i c t o r y i s complete now, because even her sons are no longer hers.  In u t t e r despair she resolves  tolvkill  Creusa and the c h i l d r e n  because they are the three beings Jason loves most.  Her revenge w i l l  destroy the race of t r a i t o r s and make Jason f e e l the desperation and i s o l a t i o n that are hers, even i f i t means her own death.  However,  when Medea a c t u a l l y holds the c h i l d r e n i n her arms she cannot commit the murder.  She r e a l i z e s that t h e i r very gratitude to Creusa f o r  saving t h e i r l i v e s causes t h e i r i n g r a t i t u d e towards t h e i r mother. In t h i s p l a y , Medea i s a c t u a l l y given a chance to f l e e with her c h i l d r e n . However, Medea's chance comes too l a t e .  Already the poisoned v e i l she  had conveyed to Creusa has taken i t s t o l l , and beset by t h e ' i n f u r i a t e d and b l o o d t h i r s t y c i t i z e n s of Corinth, she k i l l s the c h i l d r e n rather than l e t t i n g them f a l l i n t o enemy hands. solved.  Medea's f u r t h e r fate i s l e f t unre-  The c u r t a i n f a l l s on her standing w i t h r a i s e d dagger over her  Ernest Legouve, Medea, t r a n s l a t e d from the I t a l i a n v e r s i o n of Montan e l l i by Thomas W i l l i a m s , John A. Gray & Green. New York, 1867 CA11 quotes from Legouve s Medea are taken from t h i s text.)  68  children's bodies, accusing Jason of t h e i r murder, while he and the angry crowd have momentarily f a l l e n back i n horror. The 19th century plays have reintroduced Creusa as an  important  character and give the f i r s t h i n t s of a p o s s i b l e f r i e n d s h i p between the two women.  Creusa, however, becomes g u i l t y by not only s t e a l i n g Jason's  but a l s o the c h i l d r e n ' s a f f e c t i o n and therefore, must d i e .  The c h i l d r e n  also gain i n importance again and t h e i r b e t r a y a l of t h e i r mother lessens her g u i l t .  In general there i s a return to p s y c h o l o g i c a l motivations  and Euripides Medea from a preoccupation w i t h the supernatural i n t r o duced by Seneca.  Creon generally i s seen i n a f a r more sympathetic  l i g h t while Jason remains a coward and an opportunist. however, who  Medea i s the  one,  gains most i n stature and d i g n i t y as she once again assumes  f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her deeds i n G r i l l p a r z e r ' s and Legouve's plays. The success of her revenge however leads no longer to the f i n a l of E u r i p i d e s ' play.  triumph  The theme of the stranger and barbarian again  becomes c r u c i a l i n these plays.  6.SL  (7)  20th Century - Attempts at Conclusion The 20th century brings a revised interest i n the Medea-story with  at least nine plays so f a r .  Although the treatment of the material i s  quite divergent, there are some trends and interests which are common to many of the plays.  There i s generally a strong interest i n the s o c i a l  aspectj-of Medea's predicament as a stranger and barbarian amongst the Greeks.  In these post-Freudian plays personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and  guilt  are often diminished as the blame s h i f t s from the i n d i v i d u a l to society. Medea's tragic stature results not from the contrast to Jason's lack of heroism but from her protest against external circumstances.  In many  plays Jason's and Medea's marriage i s doomed because of s o c i a l pressures rather than because of personal f a i l i n g s .  Death i s often seen as the  only escape from an impossible s i t u a t i o n i n which Medea and her children are entrapped. (a)  before 1939:  Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson  The three f i r s t plays of the 20th century, written before the second world war,  already contain the essence of most of the themes developed  and stressed i n the l a t e r plays. be discussed i n greater d e t a i l .  Only these three plays w i l l therefore In spite of their d i v e r s i t y , Jahnn's  Medea, Lenormand's Asie and Anderson's The. Wingless Victory also show some remarkable s i m i l a r i t i e s .  In a l l three plays, as i n many l a t e r ones,  Medea's "otherness" i s made v i s i b l e by portraying her as being of a d i f ferent race:  Mack, i n Jahnn's play, and A s i a t i c in. the other  two.  Furthermore, the horror of the c h i l d murder i s generally lessened by the fact that the children are not accepted by either race and seem to he  70  doomed i n any case.  Their death appears a release from an uncertain  and unhappy future. Ja>hrin s Medea i s an o l d , ugly and f a t negress while Jason has ?  retained h i s youth and beauty thanks to Medea's magic powers. powers are l i m i t e d however:  These  she can foresee the future but not i n t e r -  pret i t ; she can wrest favours from the gods f o r her loved ones but not f o r h e r s e l f . Out of love f o r Jason Medea, who  i s of d i v i n e o r i g i n ,  gave up her own immortality to secure Jason's and her sons' beauty and youth.  Their normal aging process w i l l begin only with her death.  But t h i s temporary immortality has brought l i t t l e happiness to Medea's family.  Jason not only r e t a i n s the i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of youth, but i s  embarrassed by h i s growing sons who become h i s r i v a l s i n looks and strength.  The c h i l d r e n also r e a l i z e that t h e i r father's youth has  created an unnatural s i t u a t i o n i n the family.  The younger son i s even  a f r a i d that he w i l l never grow, but turn i n t o a dwarf on h i s mother's death. Apart from t h e i r preoccupation w i t h age, a l l characters i n t h i s play are i n the sway of t h e i r senses which seem to be the main a c t i v a t ing forces i n t h e i r l i v e s .  The younger son - Medea's f a v o u r i t e - loves  his older brother but i s r e j e c t e d by the l a t t e r a f t e r he has f a l l e n i n love w i t h Creon's daughter.  Medea i s delighted w i t h her son's proposed  marriage as she i s looking forward to the pleasure of a s s i s t i n g at h i s wedding night.  Jason, however, agrees only r e l u c t a n t l y to intercede  w i t h Creon on h i s son's behalf. Medea f o r the coming n i g h t .  Out of p i t y he also promises himself to  He has neglected her because he obviously  71  finds her p h y s i c a l l y repellent. rejoices.  Medea, who had been gloomy and depressed,  At f i r s t she refuses to believe the messenger who comes to  i n v i t e Medea and her sons.to Jason's wedding to Creon's daughter.  The  eyes of the messenger which have witnessed Jason's betrayal are torn out at Medea's command.  After this deed Creon, to whom Medea and her sons  are l i t t l e more than animals, has them banished.  He arrogantly informs  Medea that he would never have given h i s "white" daughter to a man of mixed race. In this play Jason's betrayal of Medea i s threefold:  he broke  his marriage vows and h i s promise for the. coming night and further cheated Medea out of witnessing her son's wedding night.  Jason, i n h i s  youthful egotism, w i l l always choose immediate s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n over his marital and paternal duties.  He i s bothered by the  4EiY£§ which rule  him but he cannot help himself: Befreiung, Befreiung aus dem Joch, i n das mieh ungestalte Triebe spannen! Vor Richtern mocht i c h stehn, die mieh dem Tode weihn. (p. 633) " 1  1  3  But as Medea refuses either to l e t him age or k i l l him, and as her magic holds no s p e l l to make him f a i t h f u l to her, he must always follow h i s desires and seek youth, beauty and pleasure.  Medea cannot and w i l l not  destroy what she has created - Jason's beauty and youth - f o r which she has s a c r i f i c e d her own immortality and beauty.  Jason, sensing only the  humiliation of h i s dependence curses h i s quest f o r the Fleece and  Hans Henhy Jahnn, Medea i n Dramen I, Europaische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt am Main, 1963. ( A l l quotes from Jahnn's Medea are taken from t h i s text.)  72  immortality.  He decides to have no longer any part of Medea, her past  crimes and her future f a t e .  A f t e r a l l he i s s t i l l young and now that he  has broken with Medea, i s free to wed again. At t h i s p o i n t , Medea r e a l i z e s that the end i s near and that the dark premonitions which have troubled her f o r so long w i l l become true. The blinded messenger i s dispatched with the f a t a l g i f t s which are to prove to Creon and to Jason that she i s vanquished and which w i l l assure her the desired delay i n her banishment.  Medea knows that Jason, guided  by l u s t , w i l l i n s i s t that Creusa wear the golden robe which w i l l make her i r r e s i s t i b l e before i t destroys her.  Nor w i l l Creon r e s i s t the  temptation of possessing Medea's magic r i n g .  Her plan cannot f a i l .  She only needs to wait f o r news from the palace and i n the meantime make sure that her sons are safe w i t h i n her reach.  The o l d e r boy, h a l f -  crazed by the r e j e c t i o n of h i s l o v e , holds the younger one i n " a murderous embrace when Medea runs her sword through both of them.  They smile as  they d i e ; l i f e had become impossible f o r them. With t h i s deed Medea has cancelled her marriage to Jason.  The  c h i l d r e n are now hers alone: Mein sind die Kinder j e t z t ! Der Leib i s t mein, denn seine Schonheit hab i c h Helios abgetrotzt. Tot nur i s t Jason Same«, Der Knaben Bildiing l e b t a l s Gott mit GSttern. (p. 661) Jason remembers h i s c h i l d r e n too l a t e and Medea refuses even to l e t him see them.  He has been completely destroyed.  has ended i n death:  His search f o r immortality  73  Du hast vernichtet mein Blut, hast meinen Samen augejatet aus dieser Welt, hast brennend meine Eingeweide gemacht nach dem Lebendigen und haltst mir Totes, abermals und immer wieder Totes vor. (p. 659) But Medea's desire f o r revenge i s not yet f u l l y s a t i s f i e d . youth i s to be as accursed as her age.  Jason's  He i s doomed to l i v e a slave  to his senses, but his seed w i l l bring death and force him to l i v e a nameless f u g i t i v e and beggar.  Medea herself disappears with her sons'  bodies i n a f i n a l triumph of death and destruction. Having k i l l e d the l a s t vestiges of her love which bound her to humanity she has become as merciless and cruel as the gods she r e j o i n s : Gesorgt fur uns hat s i e , wie Gotter sorgen. E i n stinkend Loch, in dem betasten wir uns konnen. (p. Lenormand's Medea play  666)  Asie takes place i n the 20th century, on  a boat returning from Indochina andijffiEran'ce, Medea here i s the princess Katha Naham Moun from a remote Indochinese kingdom which Jason, here a French adventurer called De Mezzano, discovered and ruled with her help for eight years u n t i l they were ousted and De Mezzano decided to return to France for h i s children's sake as w e l l as h i s own.  The Princess ac-  companies him because he feared he would not have been allowed to leave alone.  Once i n France he intends to regain power i n the kingdom through  i n d u s t r i a l and economic means. their sons for three years.  De Mezzano and h i s wife have not seen  The children had to be sent to a Catholic  mission on the coast as they could not survive the climate of the interior.-  74  Already from the beginning the princess admits that the children's f r a i l health i s caused by t h e i r mixed blood and that perhaps they should never have existed.  This separation has already driven a wedge  between the mother and the children who have become strangers to her with t h e i r new Christian names and upbringing.  From the beginning there  i s aeverynuneven b a t t l e between the parents for the children's love and loyalty.  Each t r i e s to stamp out the other's part i n them and make them  wholly of one race.  However, their c h i l d i s h c u r i o s i t y and v i t a l i t y i n -  clines them more towards the machines of Europe than towards the magical monsters of the Orient. Already on the ship bringing them back to France, De Mezzano meets Aimee de L i s t r a c , daughter of an i n f l u e n t i a l c o l o n i a l o f f i c i a l .  She f a l l s  in love with him and f o r De Mezzano she embodies a l l that home, country and race had ever meant to him. new  He wants to escape h i s past and find a  lease on l i f e : Je m'eloigne du monde jaune comme de l a pourr i t u r e , dont i l a l'odeur. Je l u i echappe comme a l a mort, dans une j o i e de revivre dont j e ne me croyais pas capable....Vous etes 1'Europe, vers qui je me p r e c i p i t e a l a vitesse de deux cents milles par jour. -, . (p. 3 8 ) ± 4  The children, however, must remain with him although he w i l l only consider them t r u l y his once a l l trace of their maternal ancestry has been erased.  To become white and European the children must be separated  from their mother.  To ease h i s conscience, De Mezzano plans to send  H. -R. Lenormand, Asie, i n Theatre Complet, IX, Editions A l b i n Michel, Paris, 1938. ( A l l quotes from Lenormand's Asie are taken from this text.)  the princess back to Indochina with the backing of a French development company which w i l l assure her power i n her backward country. however, this constitutes a double betrayal. her but now  To  her,  He has not only betrayed  intends to betray her country too.  He w i l l make l i f e  un-  bearable with his machines, roads and railways: Deja, les routes, a travers l a jungle. Bientot, les gares et les usines. Jusque dans mon p a l a i s , on entendra l e p i c et l a hache. II m'a rendu mon dernier refuge inhabitable. II a s o u i l l e mon pays, comme l'ame de mes enfants! , , .., „ (p.  N  113)  Because of Katha-'s threats against Aimee she i s served with a deportation order but by feigning reason and d o c i l i t y she manages to obtain a ten-day delay to say farewell to her children.  This, she f e e l s  w i l l give her a l l the time needed to revenge herself on Aimee.  Only  when De Mezzano admits that he loves his children more than Aimee or his own  l i f e i s t h e i r fate sealed.  sentence.  He has himself pronounced their death  Once the children are dead,De Mezzano w i l l never marry Aimee: Je s e r a i l a main, l a fleche et l e poison. Quant a. e l i e , l a blonde Europe, qu'elle vive, pour l e v o i r d e l i r e r de desespoir. l i s sont perdus l'un pour l'autre. II n'epousera pas c e l l e qui aura cause l a mort de ses enfants! ., (p.  113)  Mother love, however, almost overcomes the desire for revenge.  But when  she r e a l i z e s that the children are losttboher already, that the machine age has them firmly i n i t s grip and that their father i s k i l l i n g her image i n t h e i r hearts, Katha decides that she must l i b e r a t e at least their souls.  As long as they l i v e , her children w i l l always be divided  one h a l f the enemy of the other one - betraying what i s not of European  7£  o r i g i n w i t h i n them.  Her c h i l d r e n must not become slaves to Western  civilization: Non, i l s ne deviendront pas l e s domestiques des monstres qui mangent l'espace! I l s n'inventeront pas de machines. I l s ne t i r e r o n t pas de l e u r s c e r v e l l e s ces cauchemars de roues, de g r i f f e s et d ' e c l a i r s . Je sauverai l'ame que j e l e u r a i donnee! (p. 120) However, i t i s the song of the nuns rather than her t a l e s of gods and dragons which l u l l s them p e a c e f u l l y i n t o t h e i r l a s t sleep. the c h i l d r e n are not wholly hers.  Even i n death  Their bodies are l e f t behind f o r the  father to mourn, only t h e i r souls w i l l accompany her to the land of her forefathers.  In an e c s t a t i c vvi'sim Katha asks the s e t t i n g sun, her  mythical ancestor, to send h i s f i e r y c h a r i o t f o r her and throws h e r s e l f out of the window to her death.  Her nurse looks f o r her i n the glow of  the sunset, ignoring the shattered body on the ground. Anderson moved h i s Medea out of the c l a s s i c a l s e t t i n g i n t o p u r i t a n i c a l Salem of the e a r l y 19th century.  Nathaniel McQueston, the  Jason of t h i s p l a y , returns to h i s native town and h i s  impoverished  family w i t h h i s w i f e , the South Sea Princess Oparre, and t h e i r two daughters i n a ship loaded with spices from the Orient.  While Nathaniel and  his wealth are welcomed by family and f r i e n d s , Oparre and her c h i l d r e n are shunned and o s t r a c i z e d as "blackamoors."  Their presence i s t o l e r a t e d  only at Nathaniel's i n s i s t e n c e . Behind Nathaniel's back the elders and his clergyman brother Phineas conspire against him as they resent the power of h i s wealth.  When they discover that Nathaniel's t i t l e to the  ship, might have been acquired through an act of p i r a c y , he i s given the  77  choice of standing t r i a l or of sending Oparre and the children away from Salem. wealth.  I f he chooses to leave with them, he must f o r f e i t a l l h i s  Although Nathaniel wavers at f i r s t he chooses wealth, security  and s o c i a l acceptance over h i s love of Oparre.  Confronted with Oparre's  unquestioning love and l o y a l t y he changes h i s mind again.  But when she  offers to go alone, he accepts although he knows that with her goes what was best i n him.  Nathaniel, defeated by the pressures of society, knows  that their parting w i l l be f i n a l . his convictions. the  He i s too weak to defend h i s love and  Deeply hurt, but s t i l l loving and l o y a l , Oparre blames  f a i l u r e of t h e i r union on the hypocrisy and cruelty of the puritans  rather than on her husband.  Renouncing the "pale Christ" she submits  again to the laws of her native gods who demand that she and her children must die.  Oparre returns to the ship, The Wingless Victory, and poisons  herself and her children. For  Her nurse freely follows them into death.  these children too the future looks very bleak and death might  be considered salvation for them: They're not wanted. The white men of the East would have made them whores. It i s not f i t t i n g the daughters of a queen should be whores or slaves. , .,„... 15 (p.  131)  Oparre, who s t i l l loves Nathaniel, hopes he w i l l never hear of t h e i r deaths by which she intends to set him free.  However, Nathaniel r e a l i z e s  only too l a t e that the past cannot be denied and that a man needs h i s self-respect more than he needs h i s possessions. He arrives on the ship  Maxwell Anderson, The Wingless Victory, Anderson.House, Washington, D.C., 1936. ( A l l quotes from Anderson's The Wingless Victory are taken from this text.)  78  only to f i n d h i s c h i l d r e n dead and Oparre dying.  He accepts h i s g u i l t  f o r which he w i l l atone u n t i l he i s reunited w i t h them i n death.  Salem  however, and i t s pious puritans have seen the l a s t of him too. The Medeas of these three plays a l l s t i l l love Jason at the beginning of the p l a y , although i n the f i r s t two plays., i t i s a very possessive love.  For Jahnn, who revives and explores the theme of the ? .•„  aging woman threatened by a young and b e a u t i f u l r i v a l , sexual jealousy i s of paramount importance as a motive f o r Medea's crime. mand and  For both Lenor-  Anderson, who move the Medea story out of i t s c l a s s i c a l back-  ground, i t i s s o c i e t y rather than her r i v a l f o r her husband's love which poses the r e a l threat to Medea.  Lenormand's Aimee i s an " o l d maid" of  27, while Anderson's F a i t h never attempts to regain Nathaniel's love. I t i s therefore only Jahnnn's Medea who  i s motivated by jealousy and  who  k i l l s both the c h i l d r e n and her r i v a l .  In the other two plays only the  c h i l d r e n are k i l l e d .  In "Anderson's play the element of revenge has d i s -  appeared completely.  Jahnn's Medea breaks her l a s t t i e s to humanity with  her murders and the c h i l d r e n become completely hers i n death.  Lenormand's  Katha t r i e s to free her c h i l d r e n ' s souls from enslavement to the European civilization.  She cannot succeed completely though as even the c h i l d r e n ' ^  have been "corrupted" by C h r i s t i a n i t y .  Katha's deed, however, i n s p i r e s  p i t y and sympathy rather than awe and horror because De Mezzano and society i n general must bear a large share of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her crime. case.  Aimee's l i f e i s spared because she w i l l lose De Mezzano i n any Oparre not only frees the c h i l d r e n from a future as slaves or  p r o s t i t u t e s , but with t h i s f i n a l act sets Nathaniel f r e e .  Oparre has no  7.9_  r i v a l for Nathaniel's love.  He betrays her not for another woman but  for wealth and s o c i a l acceptance.  Nathaniel's love i s undermined, a l -  most turned to hatred by the i s o l a t i o n forced on him by the ostracism through the people of Salem.  As the deaths have become an act of s e l f -  s a c r i f i c e Oparre's deed i s no longer h o r r i f y i n g .  As a matter of fact  she towers over the people of Salem by her n o b i l i t y and selflessness. Her "barbarity" stands i n sharp contrast to the heartlessness and cruelty of the " c i v i l i z e d " Christians of Salem. (b)  a f t e r 1945:  J e f f e r s , Anouilh, Csokor, Alvaro, Braun, Magrtuson  The lack of consensus i n the treatment of Medea's crime which was already apparent i n the f i r s t three plays of the 20th century becomes more pronounced i n the most recent plays.  There i s Anouilh's  Medea, f o r instance, whose cold-blooded murder of her children i s only equalled by Laperuse's and Lucas' Medeas.  J e f f e r s ' and Braun's Medeas  are also quite h o r r i f y i n g women who k i l l i n a passion of sexual f r u s t r a t i o n and hatred.  In this respect these three plays c e r t a i n l y seem to  follow the Senecan model of Medea, even though the writers may have f e l t closer to Euripides' play.  In the other three plays Medea i s again a  noble and proud woman who may be g u i l t y but who s t i l l arouses our sympathy and has nothing i n common with the Sehecan witch.  The two extremes i n  portrayal are probably Anouilh.' s Medee and Alvaro' s La lunga riotte d i Medea. In Alvaro's play Medea k i l l s her children to save them from an enraged mob of Corinthiansswhich has already t r i e d to stone them. Nor i s i t sure whether Medea a c t u a l l y t r i e d to murder Creusa.  The g i f t s are  never accepted or worn because Creon suspects Medea's motives i n sending  80  them.  A mere rumour of Creusa's- death, i s already- enough to turn the  populace against the innocent c h i l d r e n of the hated Medea, wh_o had come to C o r i n t h to f i n d peace and a quiet l i f e f a r away from the power struggles of the courts.  The revenge motive may  thus be e n t i r e l y missing from t h i s  play; i t i s impossible to a s c e r t a i n whether Medea's g i f t s were deadly or not. The other extreme i s represented by Anouilh's Medea who  i s already  f i l l e d with hatred from the beginning of the play and who only needs the s l i g h t e s t provocation to give way to her unbridled passions.  She,  like  J e f f e r s ' and Braun's Medeas, has already a long c r i m i n a l career behind her and refuses to break the chain of e v i l and v i o l e n c e . Unlike Jason, she w i l l not compromise and a f f i r m l i f e .  She f i n d s her end i n an orgy of  f i r e and d e s t r u c t i o n which engulfs her and her c h i l d r e n . Perhaps i t should be noted at t h i s point that the 20th century preoccupation w i t h the v i o l e n t aspects of the Medea story equals and perhaps even surpasses that of the Renaissance.  The d e s t r u c t i v e urge  i s not only expressed i n increased savagery and b e s t i a l i t y but also i n the frequency w i t h which i t i s turned against Medea p e r s e l f .  There i s un-  doubtedly a death-wish already i n E u r i p i d e s ' Medea, but f o r the f i r s t time since G a l l a d e i ' s play Medea k i l l s h e r s e l f again, although i n Anderson's play the s u i c i d e i s a form of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e .  There are however great  s i m i l a r i t i e s i n the deaths of G a l l a d e i ' s , Anouilh's and even Lenormand's Medeas.  In Braun's p l a y Medea does not a c t u a l l y commit s u i c i d e but has  degenerated i n t o an a n i m a l - l i k e s t a t e of i n s a n i t y which would seem worse than death, while Alvaro's Medea faces the mob  ready to d i e .  Only J e f f e r s '  81  and Magnuson's Medeas e x i t triumphant, unscathed and unscorned, revenge s u c c e s s f u l and t h e i r p r i d e redeemed.  their  In J e f f e r s ' , Braun's and  Magnuson's plays Medea's deed a l s o leads to scenes of general d e s t r u c t iveness such as r i o t i n g , l o o t i n g and r e b e l l i o n .  Medea's r e v o l t thus  spreads to the c i t y which i s l e f t masterless a f t e r Creon's death.  In  Braun's play however, Jason and the c i t i z e n s of the chorus rush back to the a i d of embattled Corinth. Although Csokor's Anna c a r r i e s out her revenge s u c c e s s f u l l y , she does not gloat over Peter's defeat at the end. Her own s u f f e r i n g and punishment are probably greater than h i s . She has however become resigned and gained i n s i g h t and a new d i g n i t y through her s u f f e r i n g .  She k i l l s  her unborn c h i l d to protect i t from the c o r r u p t i o n of h i s f a t h e r ' s world. Her revenge on Peter i s the d e s t r u c t i o n of her r i v a l Dora and not the child-murder.  Alvaro's Medea experiences no triumph of revenge e i t h e r  as she k i l l s the c h i l d r e n to spare them from a worse death and i s ready to d i e i n e x p i a t i o n of her crime. revenge i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e .  For Anouilh's and Braun's Medeas,  Both are defeated at the end of the play.  While the 20th century brings the most h o r r i f y i n g as w e l l as the most excusable murders of the c h i l d r e n , an attempt i s made i n most of these plays to f i n d some excuse f o r Medea's crime, be i t i n s a n i t y , l a c k of a l l human emotions, sexual f r u s t r a t i o n or a d e s i r e to protect them. Csokor's Anna i s the o n l y one who cannot c l a i m extenuating circumstances and who most c l o s e l y resembles E u r i p i d e s ' Medea i n the c l e a r - s i g h t e d execution of her deed.  The element of revenge i s l e s s important i n t h i s  play than the deep sense of b e t r a y a l experienced by Csokor's Anna who i s  82  as single-minded as Euripides' Medea.  She sacrifices- her feminity  and her desire for children to the ideals she Believes i n .  She has  fought l i k e a man at Peter's side, only to find herself Betrayed P e t e r s easy compromise with l i f e * expectations. 1  War has forced an  unnatural way of l i f e on her, has hardened and aged her and now  the Battle i s won,  seeking and pampered Dora.  By  prematurely,  she i s asked to step aside for the pleasurePeter, i n h i s desire f o r s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n ,  even Betrays h i s unBorn c h i l d — Anna's one means to Become a woman l i k e any other again. •Individual happiness i s no longer possiBle for Anna. The child's conception was rooted i n g u i l t and after Peter's Betrayal i t can no longer l i v e But must die i n expiation of his parents' g u i l t , while Anna must dedicate the rest of her l i f e -to the homeless and motherless.  Anna i s as f u l l y aware of the consequences of her deed as  Euripides' Medea.  Only for Anna the element of self-punishment i s  greater than the desire for revenge, at least as far as the death of the c h i l d i s concerned. In summary i t must Be noted that the 20th century writers although attracted By the Medea story more than ever Before do not seem to have solved the proBlem posed By Medea's crime either.  There does not appear  to Be a generally discerniBle trend i n the handling of Medea's crime a l though an attempt i s u s u a l l y made to find extenuating  circumstances  which, i n some instances,, almost free Medea from Blame altogether. However, there are s t i l l plays i n which Medea ends i n a Blaze of destruction. No writer, whatever the merits of h i s play, seems to have Been aBle to equal Euripides' feat of presenting us with a Medea who  i s Both great  83  and.^horrihle, who strikes usr with, awe Because she consciously and d e l i b e r a t e l y chooses to do e v i l which she knows w i l l cause her great suffering, and who suppresses a l l natural f e e l i n g s of mother love to revenge her injured honour.  Many writers have come close to the  Euripideao model, But h i s Medea s t i l l towers over her successors.  84  IV.  The Relationship Between Jason and Medea  (1),  Euripides By setting the story of Jason and Medea on a human and r e a l i s t i c  l e v e l , Euripides changed not only t h e i r image but also the relationship between them.  We have already seen that Euripides placed very  emphasis on Medea's knowledge of black magic. rather than as a witch or a semi-divine being.  little  She i s seen as a woman Only at the end,  after  her ancestor Helios has come to her rescue, does she show her prophetic powers by f o r e t e l l i n g Jason's future.  Her former d!ee.ds,with the  exception  of the murder of P e l i a s , are regarded far more as heroic exploits than as the machinations of a sorceress. However, i t i s obvious that Medea i s not an ordinary woman, i n spite of the fact that she sets out to convince the Corinthian women that she i s just l i k e them.  Jason i s quite correct when he states at the end  of the play that "there i s no Greek woman who would have dared such deeds." (1.  1339) But neither would he have found an ordinary Greek woman who  would have saved h i s l i f e and helped him to obtain the Golden Fleece. Medea's actions are always of great and heroic dimension.  She i s undoubt-  edly more i n t e l l i g e n t than most of the people she encounters.  However,  the most s i g n i f i c a n t feature i n which she d i f f e r s from the other Greek women i s that she thinks and acts l i k e a man.  She takes her fate i n her  own hands, makes independent decisions and i s prepared to go to any length, shirking no pains or discomforts, i f she feels j u s t i f i e d i n her action.  Her whole l i f e i s guided by a masculine code of honour, which  could have been that of a Greek hero:  85  Let no one think me a weak one, feeble-'spirited A stay-at-home, but rather j u s t the opposite, One who can hurt my enemies and help my f r i e n d s ; For the l i v e s of such persons are most remembered. ;  (1. 807-810)  While f o r an ordinary Greek woman i t would have been the most honourable aim not to draw any a t t e n t i o n to h e r s e l f , be it f o r good o r e v i l , Medea cannot bear to go unnoticed.  Just as she did not meekly wait to be a l -  l o t t e d a s u i t a b l e husband, so she w i l l not meekly s u f f e r r e j e c t i o n from the man of her choice. As a w i f e , Medea i s f i e r c e l y l o y a l .  She leaves her home, k i l l s  her brother and P e l i a s , a l l to help the man she l o v e s .  As long as her  love i s returned, she places Jason and h i s i n t e r e s t s above a l l e l s e . She does not even shrink from crime, i f she f e e l s i t to be to h i s advantage. She i n s i s t s , however, upon her conjugal r i g h t s and h i s absolute Jason must be hers e x c l u s i v e l y .  fidelity:  As he i s a l l she has and a l l that matters  to her, h i s f a i t h f u l n e s s and l o y a l t y are e s s e n t i a l to her l i f e .  With  Jason's desertion, Medea loses her f a i s o n d'etre and turns i n t o the revengeful fury we see a t the end of the p l a y .  As long as Jason remained  f a i t h f u l , she could l e t him bask i n h i s g l o r y as the hero and leader of the Argonauts, even though a great deal of the c r e d i t was due to her. His honour was her honour; h i s g l o r y r e f l e c t e d on her.  With the d i s s o l u -  t i o n of the marriage between Jason and Medea, however, Medea's own personal honour suddenly becomes of f i r s t importance again.  This honour i s mocked  by Jason's new wedding and can, according to Medea's code only be redeemed by Jason's d e s t r u c t i o n . Medea then i s a very l o y a l , devoted and demanding wife.  She i s ready to give a l l , but, i n r e t u r n , she demands complete  loyalty. Under these circumstances, motherhood can only be of secondary  86  importance to Medea, although there i s genuine love: Come, children, give Me your hands,give your mother your hands to k i s s them. Oh the dear hands, and 0 how dear are these l i p s to me, And the generous eyes and the bearing of my children! I wish you happiness, but not here i n this world. What i s here your father took. Oh how good to hold you! How delicate the skin, how sweet the breath of children! (1. 1069-1075) But the children are not essential to her very being. for t h e i r warmth, t h e i r tenderness and t h e i r innocence.  She loves them She has been  looking forward to seeing them grow up: Before I have seen you happy and taken pleasure i n you, Before I have.dressed your brides and made your marriage beds And held up the torch at the ceremony of wedding. (1. 10255-1027) U n t i l Jason's desertion Medea's relationship with her children seems to have been a good one.  The children c e r t a i n l y appear to trust  her and they show no fear of her.  As a matter of fact, they have to be  prevented from running to her when they get back from play.  I t i s only  when Medea's honour i s injured, and they become the necessary tools of her plans for revenge, that herllove for them cannot overcome her fury at her r e j e c t i o n by their father.  Nevertheless, she feels deep sorrow  and regret f o r the children's death, both before and after the deed, which stands i n sharp contrast to her p i t i l e s s attitude towards Creon and h i s daughter. However, just as Medea the loving mother probably always came second to Medea the passionate wife, so she must of necessity lose out to Medea the insulted woman with her strongly developed sense of honour. But i t i s this awareness of Medea as a loving mother which makes her murder of the children so h o r r i f y i n g .  Again, i f Medea had been a man  87  whose honour had been i n j u r e d , her revenge might s t i l l be considered extreme and the i n f a n t i c i d e a crime, but the deed would not have been as r e v o l t i n g as i t i s committed by a woman and mother. dilemma i n Medea's d u a l i t y .  There i s a r e a l  I f she has been accepted as a human being,  a wife and a mother, whose p l i g h t has aroused our sympathy, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to explain Medea the ruthless and c a l c u l a t i n g child-murderess, unl e s s we point to her l o s s of humanity at the close of the play. deed j u s t does not seem to be humanly p o s s i b l e .  Her  This i s one of the  problems a l l of the l a t e r playwrights have wrestled with i n t h e i r Medea interpretations. While Medea emerges from E u r i p i d e s ' treatment of the s t o r y as an almost overdimensional and c e r t a i n l y complex f i g u r e of heroic s t a t u r e , the  same c e r t a i n l y cannot be s a i d f o r Jason. Looking, at h i s previous  e x p l o i t s as leader of the Argonauts i n the l i g h t of what happens i n t h i s play, we must question h i s i n t e g r i t y and h i s c r e d i b i l i t y as a hero. Euripides has s u c c e s s f u l l y reduced him from a splendid hero to an ordinary human being who c r a f t i l y e x p l o i t s whatever advantageous opportunity presents i t s e l f .  I t should be c l e a r l y understood, however, that accord-  ing to Greek law as i t existed i n Euripides' days, Jason was absolutely w i t h i n h i s r i g h t s when he repudiated Medea and her c h i l d r e n i n order to marry Creon's daughter. Marriage between a Greek and a foreigner - i n t h i s case even a barbarian - was not l e g a l l y binding.  Their union was  thus very l i k e l y more i n the nature of a common-law r e l a t i o n s h i p , even i f a proper marriage ceremony was performed, which i s not stated e x p l i c i t l y i n the play.  Medea c e r t a i n l y regards h e r s e l f as Jason's l a w f u l  88  w i f e , but she only r e f e r s to the oaths he swore.  This might have been  no more than a p r i v a t e pact between them, l i k e the oaths by which Medea l a t e r seeks to bind Aegeus to h i s promise of refuge. This scene with Aegeus serves, however, to s t r e s s the i m p l i c i t f a i t h Medea puts i n an agreement confirmed by oaths to the gods.  Moreover, under Greek law,  Jason's and Medea's c h i l d r e n would be considered i l l e g i t i m a t e and nonGreek. L e g a l l y therefore, Euripides' Jason i s j u s t i f i e d i n a c t i n g as he does.  M o r a l l y , probably not even the f i f t h century all-male audience  could approve of h i s behaviour. This i s brought out by the chorus who keepY i n s i s t i n g that, i n s p i t e of h i s arguments and r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s and i n s p i t e of the s e v e r i t y of h i s punishment, Jason has done wrong and must blame himself f o r the consequences: Heaven, i t seems, on t h i s day has fastened many EEv/iils on Jason, and Jason has deserved them. (1. 1231-1232)  Nowadays however, Jason i s probably disapproved of more because of h i s i n c r e d i b l e self-righteousness than because of h i s perjury.  Although he  cannot be considered t o be bad - he lacks greatness f o r that - and a l though h i s punishment i s too severe f o r what he has done, i t i s pract i c a l l y impossible to f e e l sympathy f o r him. i s e s s e n t i a l l y an i n s i g n i f i c a n t l i t t l e man:  P i t y , perhaps, because he an opportunist who i s a l -  ways ready to p r o f i t from an advantageous s i t u a t i o n ; an egoist who i s p r i m a r i l y concerned f o r himself only; a m a t e r i a l i s t who grabs at any chance to improve h i s economic condition. Another strikjhggfeature of Jason i s h i s v a n i t y .  Not o n l y i s he  convinced that Aphrodite p e r s o n a l l y cares about him and has compelled  89  Medea to save h i s l i f e , but he also feels that h i s new bride w i l l agree to anything for love of him: If my wife considers me of any value, She w i l l think more of me than money, I am sure of i t . (1. 962-963) But he i s proven wrong i n h i s assessment of her too, as i s borne out by the messenger's report:  I t was only on seeing the dress that Creusa  agreed to Jason's proposals. with men than words."  As Medea r i g h t l y surmised "gold does more  (1. 965).  Euripides' Jason i s a'shallow and rather despicable character. He breaks h i s oaths to the gods; he repays love and favours with ingratitude and banishment; and he i s w i l l i n g to abandon those that depend on h i s protection when they have become a nuisance to him.  His o v e r a l l beha-  viour casts serious doubts on the greatness of h i s exploits as the hero of the Argo expedition. Thus, even i f we are to believe that he did act with the best of intentions and out of concern f o r the welfare of h i s family, he i s not a very admirable man and c e r t a i n l y not a hero.  Besides  i f he was so certain of the rightness of h i s cause, why did this new marriage have to be arranged and concluded i n secrecy from Medea? Nor can Jason have been a very s a t i s f a c t o r y husband to a woman l i k e Medea.  He turns out to be the weaker partner i n every respect. His  self-rightenous r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s do not stand up to the force of her passion, nor do h i s calculating arguments make an impression on her superior intellect.  It would appear that Medea must always have been the  more dominant.and f o r c e f u l of the two.  Jason c e r t a i n l y does not seem to  understand Medea with her passionate love, her f i e r c e l o y a l t y and her  ao.  overwhelming sense of honour.  Or otherwise how could he o f f e r her  money when she wanted absolute faithfulness?  How could he believe i n  her sudden meek acquiescence to h i s plans, i f he were not t o t a l l y b l i n d to the r e a l Medea?  Jason's g u l l i b i l i t y i n h i s second encounter with  Medea seems to know no bounds.  He has to be i n c r e d i b l y i n s e n s i t i v e  and s e l f - s a t i s f i e d not to become suspicious of the t e r r i f y i n g irony i n Medea's words: I should have helped you i n these plans of yours, Have joined i n the wedding, stood by the marriage bed, Have taken pleasure i n attendance on your bride. But we women are what we are - perhaps a l i t t l e Worthless; and you men must not be l i k e us i n t h i s , Nor be f o o l i s h i n return when we are f o o l i s h . (1. 886-891) As f a r as h i s i n f i d e l i t y goes, Jason accuses Medea of an extreme i n t e r e s t in the sexual aspects of l i f e , disregarding the expediencies tivate him.  which mo-  He protests time and again that h i s i n t e r e s t i n h i s new  bride i s not sexual, but merely p o l i t i c a l , and he probably believes this himself.  However, a f t e r h i s bride has died, he himself puts the  l i e to this statement when he complains that now he w i l l get no pleasure from his newly wedded love and accuses Medea of k i l l i n g t h e i r children merely " f o r the sake of pleasure i n the bed."  (1. 1338)  Nor i s Jason very convincing as a loving father.  He does not  seem to have any scruples about l e t t i n g h i s children go into e x i l e with Medea, apart from a wish to ease their f i n a n c i a l needs.  I t must be borne  in mind that at that time he i s s t i l l counting on the prospect  of further  children from h i s Corinthian bride, although he protests that he i s not marrying for the sake of having more children.  After a l l , these future  children would have been h i s only legitimate and Greek progeny.  It i s  91  not s u r p r i s i n g therefore that Medea i s not impressed by h i s arguments that he has concluded t h i s new match f o r the b e n e f i t of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . Medea's c h i l d r e n would s t i l l be bastards and non-Greeks and could not l e g a l l y succeed him.  And how could they b e n e f i t from t h e i r father's  improved s i t u a t i o n when they are banished from Corinth? I t i s Medea who eventually, f o r reasons of her own, suggests that the c h i l d r e n remain with Jason i n -Corinth.  He i n i t i a l l y doubts whether Creon w i l l agree  to l e t the c h i l d r e n stay, but when Medea plays on h i s v a n i t y i n suggesting h i s new bride might grant him t h i s wish, he i s confident of success. Only when Jason r e a l i z e s that the c h i l d r e n are a l l he has l e f t does he rush to t h e i r rescue. come too l a t e .  But h i s concern f o r the c h i l d r e n has  Now that Medea has destroyed him and h i s house, h i s  father-love makes i t s e l f manifest and he longs to touch and k i s s them. He d i d not ask to see them and b i d them f a r e w e l l when he knew they were to be e x i l e d .  Medea, however, refuses him access to them nor does she  a l l o w him the r i g h t to bury and mourn them.  She f e e l s t h a t , unlikeirher-  s e l f , he never r e a l l y loved them when they were s t i l l a l i v e : Now you would speak to them, now you would k i s s them. Then you rejected them. (1. 1401-1402)  The question remains open whether Jason's g r i e f i s more f o r himself and the destruction of h i s house or f o r the c h i l d r e n themselves.  But not  even i n h i s defeat does Jason become a t r a g i c f i g u r e , because he has gained no i n s i g h t .  His curses and h i s lamentations at the end are as  pathetic and f u t i l e as the rest of h i s l i f e appears to have been.  It  92  seems to be Jason's fate always to be overshadowed by Medea who i s of t r u l y heroic and tragic stature. An interesting aspect about t h i s i l l - a s s o r t e d couple i s t h e i r apparent male-female r o l e reversal, to which the chorus refers already quite early on i n the play: Flow backward to your sources, sacred r i v e r s , And l e t the world's great order be reyersed. It i s the thoughts of men that are d e c e i t f u l , Their pledges that are loose. Story s h a l l now turn my condition to a f a i r one, Women are paid t h e i r due. No more s h a l l evil-sounding fame be t h e i r s . (1.  410-420)  Medea uses deceit i n f u l l consciousness of her ultimate aims directed against her enemies.  There i s not a trace of female meekness,  subservience or dependence i n her.  She takes f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for  her actions and i s w i l l i n g to bear t h e i r consequences whatever they may be.  Jason, on the other hand, grasps every favourable opportunity  which presents i t s e l f .  He always seems to be dependent on someone else  to rescue him from danger or merely from unpleasant situations.  He  takes c r e d i t for success but f a i l u r e i s always blamed on others. Jason i s d e c e i t f u l , secretive and v o l a t i l e i n h i s affections.  His new marriage  i s plotted i n secrecy u n t i l he has the f u l l support of the authorities behind him.  Although Medea i s very devious i n encounters with her en-  nemies, she i s direct and t r u t h f u l i n her statements to the Corinthian Women whom she t r u s t s .  Jason also seems to have a vanity generally as-  cribed to women, which Medea lacks.  She, i n turn, has the pride and  the  sense of honour which i s not found i n Jason.  There i s no doubt that  the  misunderstanding between the spouses i s mutual.  Medea must have  93  fooled h e r s e l f w i t h a g i r l i s h image of a Greek hero, or Jason's d e s e r t i o n would not have come as quite such a shock and s u r p r i s e to her.  Once her  eyes are opened, she soon r e a l i z e s h i s true nature, which enables her not only to manipulate him according to her w i l l but to s t r i k e back at him where he i s most vulnerable.  Jason, however, i s not aware of the  dangerous passion f o r revenge which h i s i d e s e r t i o n aroused i n Medea nor does he seem to have l e a r n t anything once i t has been unleashed.  First,  he accuses Medea of being a sex f i e n d , then again he accepts her meek behaviour unquestioningly, only to accuse her of being an inhuman monster at the end. In the course of the play there i s also a r e v e r s a l of t h e i r respective s i t u a t i o n s .  Jason, s e l f - a s s u r e d l y r e j o i c i n g i n h i s good  fortune at the beginning of the play turns i n t o a s n i v e l l i n g , s e l f p i t y i n g wreck of a man.  Medea whose w i l d lamentations and curses are  heard at the s t a r t of the p l a y , turns i n t o a j e e r i n g woman e x u l t i n g i n her triumph of d e s t r u c t i o n . Nevertheless, there i s one t h i n g Jason and Medea share at the end of the play.  While Medea at f i r s t resented and  cursed the c h i l d r e n along w i t h h e r s e l f and Jason, and Jason was p l a i n l y i n d i f f e r e n t to them, they now both share i n t h e i r g r i e f over t h e i r death. However instead of u n i t i n g themrtheifesuffering only serves to d r i v e them further apart with mutual accusations and r e c r i m i n a t i o n s . out to be a d e s t r u c t i v e force f o r both Medea and Jason.  S u f f e r i n g turns  3A  (2)  Seneca In comparison to the Euripidean characters, the Senecan Jason  and Medea do not receive a very r e a l i s t i c portrayal. ance i s very short and sketchy.  Jason's appear-  He i s too shadowy and i n s i g n i f i c a n t  a figure to leave the impression of a d e f i n i t e personality. Medea, herself, i s not subject to the laws of nature and to fate l i k e ordinary mortals.  "Fortune has always stood i n f e r i o r to me,"  proudly proclaims.  (p. 381)  she  She has a l l the attributes of a destructive force  of nature, or of a nightmare haunting Jason's l i f e , from which he cannot escape.  a demonic curse  This makes i t almost impossible to look  at Jason and Medea as a couple and speculate on the nature of the relationship between them.  Medea seems to regard Jason as a possession  which r i g h t l y belongs to her and which Creon and h i s daughter are s t e a l ing  from her.  Jason i s her p r i z e , of which she w i l l not l e t go, no  matter how he himself feels about i t .  Very l i t t l e r e a l love f o r him  thus enters her considerations. Throughout the play, Medea i s protrayed as a sorceress, and an e v i l one at that, who  prides herself on the crimes she has committed.  Although she, too, claims toqhave done e v i l only to serve Jason.  She  feels that,since he has profited by her crimes, he must share the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for them with her.  She stresses overhand over that she  not only saved Jason's l i f e but also that ©flail the other Argonauts. Without her help Greece would have l o s t i t s noblest princes: This alone have I brought with me from my Colchian realm, that myself I saved that magnificent and i l lustrious flower of Greece, bulwark of the Achaean race, progeny of gods. (p. 373)  95  As sole reward Medea claims Jason f o r h e r s e l f : Of the leader of leaders I say nothing; for him there i s no debt, him I charge to no one's account. The others I brought back for you; Jason, f o r myself. (p.  373)  Although Medea keeps stressing her rights to Jason more than her love for  him, i t i s clear that her interest i n him i s not yet over.  She  t r i e s to excuse him and blames oily Creon for the new marriage.  She  even professes a willingness to forego her revenge i f only Jason w i l l f l e e with her. his  I t i s only when Medea f i n a l l y r e a l i z e s that because of  fears and his weariness Jason i s d e f i n i t e l y l o s t to her that her  f u l l rage breaks loose. Her feelings for Jason, whatever they may be, c e r t a i n l y outweigh'" her mother-love, which seems to be wholly contingent on Jason's love for her.  There i s only one short moment of tenderness which i s quickly  overcome by her anger: Here, dear children, sole solace of a house overthrown, come here and fuse your limbs with mine in close embrace. Your father may have you unharmed, provided your mother, too, may have you. But e x i l e and f l i g h t press hard; any moment they w i l l be torn from by bosom, weeping and sighing amidst their kisses as they are snatched away. They are l o s t to t h e i r mother; l e t them be l o s t to t h e i r father. (p., 392) Because they are Jason's children, Medea loves them as long as he i s hers and disowns them when he i s no longer hers: disclaim them, disown them!"  (p. 381)  "I resign them,  Although Medea seems to be  b r i e f l y aware of the f u l l horror of her proposed crime, she feels the children must pay the p r i c e for their father's i n f i d e l i t y :  "Children  once mine, you must pay the p r i c e for your father's wickedness."  (p. 391)  She i s so successful i n suppressing any motherly f e e l i n g i n her, that  96  i n the fury of her revenge she even regrets she has not more c h i l d r e n she could slay to punish Jason: Would that proud Niobe's brood had issued from my womb, that I had given b i r t h to twice seven sons! I have been too s t e r i l e f o r vengeance, but two I d i d bear... (p. 392) For the Senecan Medea, u n l i k e the Euripidean one, these k i l l i n g s are quite i n character and we do not experience a shock of d i s b e l i e f i n w i t nessing them.  She i s a monster from s t a r t to f i n i s h ; k i l l i n g her c h i l d r e n  i s j u s t one f u r t h e r refinement i n her career of crime.  Her f l i g h t i n  the dragon chariot i s wholly consistent with t h i s concept of an apotheosis of  evil'.. "Jason, too, has undergone some changes compared to h i s Euripidean  predecessor.  Gone are h i s smugness, h i s complacency and h i s hunger f o r  power and s o c i a l status.  We f i n d here already a h i n t of the t i r e d and  weary hero who i s to reappear again i n l a t e r plays.  He admits that he i s  worn down by h i s troubles and ready to give up. This Jason i s overawed by wordly power:  " I am t e r r i b l y a f r a i d of l o f t y scepters", and Medea's  question has a superb touch of irony: them?"  "Are you sure you do not covet  (p. 382) Because a l l the e v i l i s concentrated i n Medea, Seneca's  Jason i s , i n s p i t e of h i s weakness and cowardice, more sympathetic than EuripidesJ hero.  He never denies that he owes Medea h i s l i f e , although  he now f e e l s ashamed at having l e t her buy h i s l i f e w i t h her crimes. He also lacks the self-righteousness of the Euripidean Jason and i s c e r t a i n l y not a h e r o i c f i g u r e .  Haying to choose.between breaking h i s oath  or p o s s i b l e death, he p r e f e r s to save h i s and h i s children's l i f e , while abandoning Medea to her f a t e .  In order to avoid a war with Acastus, the  son of P e l i a s , and to secure Creon's goodwill f o r himself and the c h i l d r e n ,  97  he i s w i l l i n g to l e t Medea take the f u l l blame f o r the crimes she committed i n h i s favour. He knows that he i s breaking h i s word, but. we can b e l i e v e him when he says that the c h i l d r e n ' s safety and w e l l - b e i n g were h i s main concern.  He i s a f r a i d to f l e e w i t h Medea and he even  fears that h i s long encounter w i t h Medea might arouse Creon's s u s p i c i o n . Jason e v i d e n t l y makes a poor impression as a great hero and leader of the Argonauts.  Even Creon who has chosen him as son-in-law, c a l l s him  "an e x i l e helpless and haunted by pressing f e a r . "  (p. 374) Yet the  chorus seems to be very impressed, at l e a s t by h i s p h y s i c a l beauty: I f our Jason, Aeson's s c i o n , would d i s p l a y h i s beauty, then would the wicked l i g h t n i n g ' s o f f spring y i e l d to him, even Bacchus who harnesses t i g e r s to h i s c h a r i o t . Y i e l d , too, would A p o l l o . . . (p. 369) They are also very much i n favour of h i s new marriage and c e r t a i n l y do not rebuke him f o r having broken h i s word: Delivered from the wedlock of uncouth P h a s i s , schooled f e a r f u l l y and w i t h u n w i l l i n g hand to fondle the bosom of an incontinent mate, now, happy groom, take unto y o u r s e l f an Aeolian ma-i^;... (p. 369) This Jason seems to grow during the course of the p l a y and i s not l e f t totally/.annihilated at the end. He i s heart-broken, angry and very b i t t e r , but s t i l l d e f i a n t as he shouts h i s l a s t words t o Medea: Ride through the l o f t y spaces of high heaven, and wherever you go bear witness that there are no gods. (p. 394) He has l e a r n t h i s lesson.  I t i s unhealthy f o r a mere man to tangle w i t h  supernatural beings l i k e Medea. As there i s no d i v i n e order or providence, i t can only lead to death and d e s t r u c t i o n . ' That Seneca's Jason was a t r u l y l o v i n g father cannot be denied.  98  He could not bear to see h i s c h i l d r e n go i n t o e x i l e w i t h Medea, and thereby gave Medea the idea f o r her revenge.  When he i s forced to watch  the murder of h i s second c h i l d , Jason o f f e r s himself i n h i s son's stead, but Medea would rather see him s u f f e r than dead: Nay, here w i l l I d r i v e my sword, where you l i k e i t l e a s t , where i t w i l l hurt you most. Go now, proud man, f i n d maids to marry, and abandon mothers. (p. 394) In Seneca's Medea we do not r e a l l y encounter a male—female r e v e r s a l of r o l e s , although Jason's conduct i s f a r from heroic and Creon accuses Medea of having "a woman's i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r reckless daring and the strength of a man, with no thought of reputation."  (p. 374)  I t i s at the best a very uneven struggle between an ordinary man and a w i t c h w i t h extraordinary powers. Nor do we f i n d a r e v e r s a l of fortunes i n t h i s play. the  Already at  s t a r t of the p l a y , Medea i s angry, rather than h u r t , and although  she begs, bargains and f i g h t s f o r Jason, her rage increases s t e a d i l y to climax w i t h the i n f a n t i c i d e and her apotheosis. Jason, on the other •;, hand, never f e e l s very secure i n h i s p o s i t i o n and i s always aware of his  g u i l t towards her.  He j u s t appears to harbour the v a i n hope that  Medea w i l l see reason and leave q u i e t l y . under h i s a f f l i c t i o n s e i t h e r .  However, he does not break  This mismatched couple does not even  share i n a common g r i e f over the death o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n . der  With the mur-  of the c h i l d r e n , Medea has shed the l a s t reminder of her love f o r  Jason.  She departs t r u l y triumphant and unrepehtent, having driven her  c r u e l t y and inhumanity to a new extreme and l e a v i n g Jason alone to mourn his  c h i l d r e n and curse man's f a t e .  99  (3)  THE RENAISSANCE:  De Laperuse, G a l l a d e i and Dolce  In the p o r t r a y a l of Medea h e r s e l f these Renaissance w r i t e r s have followed Seneca's example more c l o s e l y than E u r i p i d e s ' .  The trend  to dehumanize Medea has continued. The treatment of Jason, on the other hand, shows greater v a r i a t i o n . As these w r i t e r s devote more a t t e n t i o n to Creusa - although she i s not yet a character on stage - and, i n the case of G a l l a d e i and Dolce, to the c h i l d r e n , there occur some s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Jason and Medea.  The marriage t i e s and the family  l i f e are s t a r t i n g to gain importance by t h i s strengthening of these secondary characters. As we have seen e a r l i e r , a l l three w r i t e r s regard Medea as a supernatural being, a w i t c h and a sorceress. Even Dolce, who presents the most sympathetic p i c t u r e of Medea, has the nurse p o i n t out that apart from her dangerous knowledge of magic, Medea i s harder and more c r u e l than any other woman. Although she might be p i t i e d , and although i t i s generally recognized that Creon and Jason have wronged her w i t h t h i s new marriage, Medea i s never treated or regarded as a woman l i k e others.  And, with the exception of Dolce's Medea, she i s not d i f f e r e n t  because she i s of b e t t e r b i r t h than the women of the chorus but only because she has magical powers which f r i g h t e n normal human beings. Dolce's Medea i s also an extremely proud woman, who i s conscious of her rank and of her offended honour: "Io sono f i g l i a d i Re, son Donna offesa."  (Act I I , p. 16)  As wives the Medeas of de Laperuse and G a l l a d e i are very s i m i l a r to Seneca's.  They both want Jason back, although they do not express  100  much love f o r him.  They too regard Jason as t h e i r p r i z e f o r having  saved a l l of the Argonauts. others.  Only Dolce's Medea does not mention the  She has saved Jason's l i f e and he has sworn l a s t i n g f a i t h -  fulness to her.  She, l i k e the Euripidean Medea, never begs Creon to  give him back to her. revenge.  She has been wronged; and she i s looking f o r  Although Jason i s c a l l e d a p e r j u r e r , there i s l e s s emphasis  on the sacredness of ©a-ths, than i n the Greek play.  There i s no question,  however, i n any of the three plays that Jason's and Medea's marriage i s not l e g a l l y binding.  I n Dolce's play the new marriage has already taken  place, while i n the other two plays the drama develops i n the midst of the marriage ceremonies.  Whatever her love f o r Jason may be or may have  been, Medea vows i n a l l three plays that her hatred s h a l l be at l e a s t as great as her love and that her divorce w i l l be marked by even greater crimes than her marriage. The Medea of de Laperuse never shows any f e e l i n g s towards her children.  They are merely mute v i c t i m s of her revenge.  As a matter of  fact she even o f f e r s the c h i l d r e n to her brother's s p i r i t , to save h e r s e l f from h i s wrath: l e l e voy, i e l'entens, i l veut prendre vangeance D.eamoy, c r u e l l e soeur, i l veut punir l'outrance Que i e l u i f i s a t o r t ; i l est ores recors Que trop bourrellement i e demembroy son corps. Non, non, mon f r e r e , non: v o i c y t a recompense. Iason t r a i s t r e me f i s t t e f a i r e ceste offense, Voicy, v o i c y ses f i l z . Renuoye l e s f u r i e s , Renuoye ces flambeaux, sans que t u m ' i n i u r i e s ; La main qui te meurtrit mesme t e vangera; Pour mon f r e r e tue, mon f i l z tue sera. Tien doncq', f r e r e , v o i c y pour apaiser ton i r e , Ie t ' o f f r e corps pour corps: i e t'en vay l ' v n o c c i r e . (Act  V, pp. 73-74)  101  Both G a l l a d e i and Dolce pay greater a t t e n t i o n to the c h i l d r e n than any of the previous w r i t e r s . G a l l a d e i not only gives them names to l i f t them out of t h e i r p o s i t i o n as mere anonymous, shadowy f i g u r e s , but he also has the c h i l d r e n discuss t h e i r f e e l i n g s towards t h e i r parents. The c h i l d r e n love and respect both parents.  They s u f f e r from the d i s s e n -  sion between them and they worry about t h e i r new step-mother.  The  younger son, Tesandro, even o f f e r s to accompany Medea i n t o e x i l e , so that she would not be so l o n e l y .  G a l l a d e i i s the f i r s t to t r e a t the theme  of.the disrupted family l i f e i n the Medea-story.  I t i s t h i s younger  son, i n c i d e n t a l l y , whom Medea d i v i d e s up between Jason and h e r s e l f . Why  the c h i l d r e n - and f o r that matter also Jason i n t h i s play - should  be so attached to Medea who  shows them very l i t t l e love and who f r i g h t e n s  even her own nurse, i s not made c l e a r i n the play.  Dolce also gives us  a d d i t i o n a l information about the c h i l d r e n , who are quite young, the oldest not being seven yet. pected to love a father who  These c h i l d r e n question why they are exc l e a r l y does not love them.  and appeal f o r help to the chorus i s touching.  Their  escape  The way Medea b r u t a l l y  dragss them o f f to t h e i r death c l e a r l y shows the change which has come her.  over-  Medea, however, does s u f f e r by her-ydeed and does keep the  children's bodies w i t h her, so that Jason, who  rejected them while they  were a l i v e , would not have them dead e i t h e r . The p o r t r a y a l of Jason v a r i e s quite considerably:  de Laperuse  appears to conceive him as a cowardly f o o l , G a l l a d e i almost as the t r a g i c hero of the p l a y and Dolce again as a power-hungry e g o i s t . The Jason of de Laperuse has perjured himself and has proven to  102  be f a l s e .  This i s pointed out by Medea's nurse, the children's tutor and  the chorus.  He d i d intercede with Creon to stop him from k i l l i n g Medea,  but he acted out of fear when he agreed to the new marriage.  He t r i e s  to put the blame for Medea's e x i l e on her alone and never even t r i e s to j u s t i f y h i s actions to Medea; he only points out that he has saved her l i f e , without Mm  she would already be dead.  Jason professes to  f e e l sorry for Medea and offers her money so that she w i l l have s u f f i cient means to leave.  He i s delighted when Medea's suggests the g i f t  for Glauque, and he himself proposes the children as bearers. He does not suspect Medea's motives f o r one moment.  He i s obviously attracted  by Glauque's beauty and youth and i t i s he who convinces a reluctant and suspicious but vain Glauque to accept Medea's g i f t .  A l l in all,  de Laperuse's Jason appears to be a rather p i t i a b l e and f o o l i s h hero, who even at the end s t i l l does not understand what went wrong: Helas! moy mal-heureux! mal—heureuse ma v i e ! 0 Dieux! que vous avez dessus mon bien enuie! Qu'ay-ie doncques f o r f a i c t ? quel est mon s i grand tort? (Act V, p. 75) A completely d i f f e r e n t Jason emerges from Galladei's play.  As  a matter of fact Jason seems to be the protagonist and tragic hero of this play.  Medea herself does not even appear t i l l Act I I . The chorus  stress Jason's heroism throughout the play and at the end they mourn the loss of a great prince and leader: Quel gran Giason, quel raro Prencipe, quel famoso Che doveva i n a l z a r t i Con l a sua g l o r i a sopra Tutta l a Grecia, i l Duca De' t a n t i , & t a n t i Heroi Giace prostrato & morto. (Act V, p. 71)  103  Creon chose Jason as h i s son-in-law out of a l l the e l i g i b l e s u i t o r s for h i s daughter on the advice of the o r a c l e . his  He threatened Jason and  family w i t h death i f he would not comply with Creon's wishes.  The  c r u e l t y , i n j u s t i c e and tyranny of Creon are stressed throughout the play.  He f i r s t gave Jason and Medea asylum i n Corinth and even purged  them of t h e i r g u i l t i n P e l i a s ' death.  Now he a r b i t r a r i l y accuses Medea  again of the crimes from which he had purged her.  Jason appears to be  a weary man, f e e l i n g persecuted by ever new troubles.  He had l i v e d  q u i e t l y i n ^ C o r i n t h , f e e l i n g n e i t h e r content nor unhappy when t h i s new blow of f a t e struck.  Although he does not love Medea - nor does he ap-  pear to love Creusa - he i s w e l l aware of the debt he owes her and of her g r i e f and anger caused by the d i v o r c e , remarriage and e x i l e .  He i s a f r a i d  of g i v i n g i n to her tears and has to be reminded by the tutor to act l i k e .theeherbehesis supposed to be. Having made up h i s mind to marry Creusa, he should now carry out h i s d e c i s i o n .  A f t e r a l l Medea i n j u r e d h i s honour  as a hero by her misdeed and he should consider h i s debt to her paid o f f . G a l l a d e i ' s Jason i s not a t t r a c t e d by the power and renown he w i l l gain, but he w i l l bow to n e c e s s i t y and f a t e .  He points out to Medea t h a t , a l -  though everyone hates and abhors her, he has always held her dear as long as fate permitted t h i s : mighty and of f a t e . resigned heroes. i s stronger.  Now they must both submit to the w i l l of the  This Jason i s the f i r s t i n . a l i n e of t i r e d and  He sees that r e a l i t y has changed h i s ideas and r e a l i t y  But h i s weakness shows through h i s heroic image, even i f  his entourage has not noticed t h i s y e t . Only at the end, a f t e r he has l o s t both sons, does Jason shake o f f h i s r e s i g n a t i o n and pursueL Medea  104  i n a Herculean rage, k i l l i n g himself i n order to j o i n his sons and be buried with them, but also to continue the vendetta against Medea i n the other world. Dolce's Jason again i s modelled quite closely on the Euripidean figure.  He w i l l always give preference to the useful over the honest  and t r u t h f u l , a creed which seems to be accepted by most of the characters i n this play.  He i s d e f i n i t e l y hungry f o r power and riches.  He i s a t -  tracted to Creusa not only because of her youth and beauty but also because of her r i c h dowry and her access to the crown.  Dolce's Jason i s  not a hero who has only now become corroded by misfortune and s o c i a l ambitions.  The nurse points out from the beginning that i t was not  noble courage which made Jason set out on the quest for the Golden Fleece but a craving for adventure. adventurer rather than the hero.  Dolce thus introduces Jason the  Dolce's Jason i s also very vain.  accuses Medea of having helped him out of passion and not  He  compassion:  ...non fu p i e t a , ma caldo foco, Ch'amoroso pensier t i mise i n core, D'haver un Greco Re per tuo marito; 0 mossa da bellezza, o da v i r t u t e , Che i n me t i parve d i vedere alhora, 0 dal chiaro splendor del mio lignaggio; (Act I I , p. 18) He imputes h i s own motives to Medea, points to the great advantages she gained from her l i f e with him and i n Greece and concludes that she has benefited more from their relationship than he has: Hai maggior beneficio ricevuto Da me, d i quel, che tu stessa t i v a n t i D'havermi f a t t o : . . . (Act I I , p. 19) If possible, this Jason i s even more smug and self-righteous than the  105  Euripidean one.  He i s censored both by the chorus and by Aegeus who  f i n d him unworthy of being c a l l e d a hero.  Even Creusa does not seem too  enamoured with him.  She almost despises him f o r having had c h i l d r e n by  someone l i k e Medea.  At the end, he f i r s t watches h e l p l e s s l y how Creon  and Creusa d i e and l a t e r , a f t e r the murder-vof the c h i l d r e n , he i s l e f t to lament h i s l i f e and curse Medea. While Dolce's Jason i s a father who loves himself more than anyone e l s e , i n c l u d i n g h i s c h i l d r e n , and who only discovers too l a t e how much they a c t u a l l y meant to him, the Jason of de Laperuse f i r s t agrees to l e t the c h i l d r e n go i n t o e x i l e w i t h Medea and i s accused by the chorus of having f a i l e d them: Mais cestuy^la q u i plus deust a v o i r s o i n De vous ayder, vous desfaut au besoin. (Act I I , p. 35) He l a t e r does o f f e r h i s l i f e i n r e t u r n f o r at l e a s t one of the c h i l d r e n . Galladei, following  Seneca's example, presents us w i t h a most devoted  father who agrees to the new marriage only to save the c h i l d r e n ' s l i f e and who, when he i s unable to save them from Medea's anger, even refuses to survive them. In these three Renaissance plays i t i s hard to trace a v a l i d r e l a t i o n s h i p between the spouses, as Medea i s dehumanized and cannot be considered as a partner i n a r e a l marriage.  Strangely enough, she seems  to be an advocate of feminine r i g h t s and powers i n de Laperuse's p l a y , although she c e r t a i n l y does not have the support of her sex.  Medea i s  such an i n c r e d i b l e monster i n G a l l a d e i * s play that one wonders why he l e t s h i s Jason proclaim always to have held her dear.  In Dolce's play  106  Medea i s a c r u e l conscious of  s o r c e r e s s a n d J a s o n a pompous e g o i s t .  t h e i r own w o r t h t h a t  have l a s t e d s i d e by s i d e f o r Medeas a n d J a s o n s a r e v e r y  Both are  o n e i s b o u n d t o w o n d e r how t h e y  s o many y e a r s .  As a c o u p l e none o f  r e a l i s t i c a l l y portrayed.  The o n l y  so could these  realistic  n o t e i n t r o d u c e d i n t h e s e R e n a i s s a n c e p l a y s i s t h e emphasis on C r e u s a as t h e o t h e r woman a n d o n t h e p r e d i c a m e n t o f will  b e t a k e n up a g a i n b y many o f The R e n a i s s a n c e w r i t e r s '  this  themes  i n t e r e s t i n man a s s u c h i s shown b y the c h i l d r e n and C r e u s a .  seem t o h a v e become m o r e i m p o r t a n t  s t r u g g l e between i n j u r e d honour and m o t h e r - l o v e . ing paradox  These  the l a t e r w r i t e r s .  i n c r e a s e d a t t e n t i o n p a i d to J a s o n ,  relationships  the c h i l d r e n .  than Medea's There  rival.  internal  i s an i n t e r e s t -  i n t h e p o r t r a y a l o f Medea as a s u p e r n a t u r a l b e i n g  b y t h e v e r y human j e a l o u s y o f h e r  Human  tortured  107  (4)  17th Century:  Corneille and  Longepierre  Both writers place great emphasis on the relationship Between the sexes and the triangle s i t u a t i o n , which i s p a r t i c u l a r l y  important  in Corneille's Medee. Medea i s a very proud woman i n Both, plays.  She i s very conscious  of her ancestry and w i l l not demean herself i n any way. i s Both impressed  Creon e s p e c i a l l y  and annoyed By her haughty arrogance.  Although Medea d i f f e r s from the Renaissance witch, there i s s t i l l great emphasis put on her supernatural capacities.  Not only has she the  usual powers over nature and the gods, But she can t r a n s f i x people with her magic wand, and i n C o r n e i l l e ' s play she can even Bestow i n v i s i B i l i t y to Aegeus and create a phantom to take his place i n prison. force over which Medea has no power i s love. regain Jason's love nor to root out her own into an equally passionate hatred. weary sorceress who,  The only  She i s neither aBle to love which can only Be turned  However, Corneille's Medea i s a  as she explains to Aegeus, would prefer to l i v e an  ordinary human existence without using her magic: Si j e vous a i s e r v i , tout ce que j'en souhaite, C'est de trouver chez vous une sure r e t r a i t e , Ou de mes ennemis menaces n i presents Ne puissent plus trouBler l e repos de mes ans. Non pas que j e les craigne; eux et toute l a terre A leur confusion me l i v r e r a i e n t l a guerre; Mais j e hais ce desordre, et n'aime pas a v o i r Qu'il me f a i l l e pour v i v r e user de mon savoir. (pp. 607-608, Act IV) Both Medeas have Been very happy i n t h e i r marriage to Jason and, Because they s t i l l love him, are now very jealous of h i s new  attachment.  Corneille's Medea i s a far more i n d i f f e r e n t mother than  1Q8  Longepierre's who  seems to suggest that p r e c i s e l y because she loves the  c h i l d r e n , she must k i l l them.  In both p l a y s , Medea v i s u a l i z e s future  slavery and unhappiness f o r the c h i l d r e n i f they remain i n C o r i n t h , and she therefore considers them better o f f dead. i s also k i l l i n g o f f her love f o r Jason: i s Medea f i n a l l y free of her love.  But i n these c h i l d r e n she  only with the c h i l d r e n ' s death  The c h i l d r e n have again faded info the  background i n these two p l a y s , as much greater emphasis i s put on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the  parents.  There i s a greater d i f f e r e n c e i n the p o r t r a y a l of Jason than of Medea i n these two plays.  In both, Jason has grown weary of Medea.  He  s t i l l p i t i e s her feut a new love has made him completely i n d i f f e r e n t to her s u f f e r i n g and quite reckless with regard to her dangerous anger. The image of the French c o u r t i e r has influenced the p o r t r a y a l of Jason. C o r n e i l l e ' s Jason, however, i s e n t i r e l y despicable - a s e l f centred h y p o c r i t e , an egoist and a  fortune-hunter:  Aussi j e ne s u i s pas de ces amants v u l g a i r e s ; J'accomode ma flamme au bien de mes a f f a i r e s ; Et sous quelque climat que me j e t t e l e s o r t , Par maxime d'Etat j e me f a i s cet e f f o r t . (Act I , p.  570)  He i s o c c a s i o n a l l y troubled by g u i l t f e e l i n g s about Medea, but he always r a t i o n a l i z e s h i s behaviour with concern f o r the welfare of the c h i l d r e n . As a man  t h i s Jason i s c e r t a i n l y not appealing, and i n the course of the  play h i s heroism becomes questionable  too.  Although he takes the c r e d i t  for having aborted Aegeus' attempt to kidnap Creusa, we f i n d out l a t e r that P o l l u x was the r e a l hero of that adventure.  Medea points out to  him at the end that h i s l i f e and h i s deeds are her creations and that  109  without her help he i s completely h e l p l e s s : Et que peut contre moi t a d e b i l e v a i l l a n c e ? Mon a r t f a i s a i t t a f o r c e , et tes e x p l o i t s g u e r r i e r s Tiennent de mon secours ce q u ' i l s ont de l a u r i e r s . (Act\Y, p. 6171 :  Jason's f a i t h l e s s n e s s becomes even more apparent by the reference to Hypsipyle whose love he used to h i s advantage and whom he then l e f t behind on Lemnos.  As Medea w e l l knows, he i s power-hungry and w i l l ex-  p l o i t women to achieve h i s aims.  Jason i s also very c a l l o u s i n h i s a t -  t i t u d e towards the women he has abandoned.  He f e e l s that Medea w i l l  have to f o r g i v e him because she loves him, j u s t as Aegeus i s supposed to prove h i s love f o r Creusa by l e t t i n g her marry Jason.  That Jason i s  not the devoted father he pretends to be i s obvious from the f a c t that he wants to k i l l h i s c h i l d r e n to avenge h i s b r i d e ' s death. Longepierre's Jason i s not quite the same power-hungry opportunist.  He i s , however, already the image of the romantic l o v e r , sighing  at h i s beloved's feet and vowing that he w i l l d i e f o r her.  His heroic  e x p l o i t s do not seem t o p l a y too great a part i n t h i s p l a y , although Creusa and Creon admire him as a great Greek hero.  H i s inconstancy i n  love i s also pointed out by Creusa who fears that i n time she w i l l meet w i t h the same fate as Hypsipyle and Medea: H y p s i p i l e e t Medee, objets de vos amours, Se sont l a i s s e surprendre a. de p a r e i l s d i s c o u r s , Et de nouveaux objets v b t r e ame possedee, A l a i s s e cependant H y p s i p i l e et Medee. (Act I I I , pp. 70-71) Jason, however, t r i e s to reassure her that her case i s quite d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r s . Jason.  Creusa i s also bothered by Medea's l e g i t i m a t e c l a i m s on  Despite Jason's assurance that Greece and the gods disapprove  110  of h i s marriage to Medea, h i s new happiness cannot quite make him forget Medea. mother.  Longepierre's Jason i s as devoted a father as Medea a  There i s a r e a l tug-of-war between them f o r the c h i l d r e n .  Jason cannot l i v e without them, and Medea k i l l s them so that he s h a l l not have them e i t h e r .  Had Jason allowed Medea to keep the c h i l d r e n ,  she f e e l s she would have been able to love h i s image i n them, and the catastrophe could have been averted. Both w r i t e r s place great emphasis on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the  sexes.  C o r n e i l l e not only t r e a t s the dilemma of a man choosing be-"  tween the o b l i g a t i o n s to h i s w i f e , the mother of h i s c h i l d r e n , and the advantages of a b e a u t i f u l , young and r i c h g i r l , but also that of the g i r l , betrothed to a r i c h o l d man but i n love w i t h the more flamboyant pennil e s s younger man.  The war of the sexes:  at the centre of h i s play.  l o v e , jealousy and hatred, are  Not only does Medea, the rejected w i f e , seek  revenge but she i s joined i n t h i s by the rejected s u i t o r Aegeus.  Medea,  however, proudly declines a l l human help i n her revenge, although she does not r e j e c t Aegeus' o f f e r of marriage o u t r i g h t .  Longepierre also i s  preoccupied w i t h love but he stresses the unhappiness which i t i s bound to  cause. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between Jason and Medea and also Jason and  Creusa — who appears f o r the f i r s t time i n these plays as a character gains thus i n c r e a s i n g importance i n these plays. as the v i c t i m s i n t h i s war of the sexes.  The dead almost appear  Ill  (5)  18th Century;  Lessing, Glover, Gotter and Kllnger  Lessing: In h i s Miss Sara Sampson Lessing has concentrated solely on the  triangle relationship.  He shows a weak man entrapped by an e v i l  woman who destroys both him and the innocent g i r l who had the misfortune of f a l l i n g i n love with him. Glover In this play Creusa again loses a l l importance and the main focus is on the relationship between Medea and Jason and on the predicament of their children.  Medea i s a woman gifted with extraordinary wisdom and  powers, which so far she has used only to Jason's benefit.  She has a  reputation of being hospitable and compassionate: Oft hath her known .benignity preserv'd The Grecian strangers on our barb'rous coast. (Act  I I I , p. 40)  She i s also a proud and formidable woman who bows before no one, and her pride i s insulted by Jason's betrayal.  This Medea i s of great and ageless  beauty, and there i s c e r t a i n l y no i n d i c a t i o n that Jason ha's tired of, her > quite to the contrary.  Aegeus knows that h i s plans f o r Jason and Creusa  w i l l be f o i l e d the moment Jason sees Medea again. knowledge of magic, she has no power over love: body but not his feelings.  In spite of Medea's  she can command Jason's  There i s no doubt that she i s deeply i n love  with Jason and that t h e i r marriage has been a happy one.  When she hears Hecate's  B'iffifeus. prediction, she immediately jumps to the conclusion that i t i i s ;  Jason who i s to die through her.  She wants to avoid that at a l l cost:  "Destroy my Jason! The dear, f a l s e hero!  Perish f i r s t my a r t " (Act I I I ,  112  p. 54), and c a l l s him back for that reason.  She never does f e e l hatred  and anger to the same extent as previous Medeas. Glover's Medea i s a loving mother and i s loved i n return by her c h i l d r e n , who beseech t h e i r father not to take them away from her. The children want the family to be reunited and beg their father to come back to them.  There i s b i t t e r irony i n the fact that Medea, when she r e -  covers from her madness, t r i e s to seek comfort for her s i t u a t i o n with the children: I w i l l at l e a s t possess the short r e l i e f To see my infants. Sure, my f a i t h f u l friends, From my sad heart no e v i l s can erase Maternal gladness at my children's sight. Go, lead them from the temple - They w i l l smile, And l i f t my thoughts to momentary joy. CAct V, p. 87) When she has found out about the child-murder, she wants to l i v e no longer. Jason i s a hero who i s respected by a l l , a gentle and e a s i l y persuaded man.  although he seems to be  He i s torn between his c o n f l i c t i n g  r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and obligations towards h i s father and towards Medea. In his f i r s t encounter with Medea he i s contrite and humbles himself, r e a l i z i n g that he has wronged her greatly.  From the beginning, he has not  been sure himself about his true motives i n agreeing to the new marriage: Oh! i n some future hour of sad r e f l e c t i o n May not my heart with self-reproach confess, This plea of public welfare was ambition; And f i l i a l duty was ai feeble t i e To authorize the breach of sacred vows. (Act I I , p. 22) When he becomes aware of the s u f f e r i n g he has i n f l i c t e d on Medea by his breach of f a i t h , he resolves to renounce Creusa and f l e e Corinth with Medea.  Even a f t e r the murder of the children he blames himself  than her.  He has to be reminded to be more manful on several  rather  occasions,  113  both i n admitting h i s wrong, and i n being more resolute with h i s father and Creon.  Later he has to be prevented  from avoiding h i s responsibi-  l i t i e s by s u i c i d e . There i s no doubt that this Jason loves Medea: No other form of beauty, No q u a l i t i e s or talents to thy own Have I preferred .At thy approach Light flashes through my error; to thy feet Contrition brings me no .".ignoble suppliant: (Act I I , p. 35) He has been manoeuvred into a s i t u a t i o n from which only the manly resoluteness, he unfortunately acquires too l a t e , can e x t r i c a t e him. The children have to remind Jason that their welfare i s his responsibility.  But when he offers them his protection, they refuse  to be parted from their mother. l a t e r sees a basis for a new  They want a reunited family.  Jason  s t a r t between Medea and himself i n t h e i r  common love for the c h i l d r e n . With, their death h i s race has become extinctfand h i s l i f e i s of no value to him. to  Glover i s the f i r s t to point  the comraderie existing between Jason and Medea as a r e s u l t of their  shared labours i n the past.  The marriage i s based upon more than only  the vows exchanged between them: Not love alone, not Hymen's common t i e s , But fame and conquest, mutual t o i l s and hardships, A l l , which i s marvellous and great, conspir'd To make us one. (Act  IV, p.  62)  Their shared past and their children bind and hold them together, even after the catastrophe has  occurred.  Gotter Gotter's Medea i s an extremely isolated being: i n der Schopfung!" (p. 7)  she exclaims.  "Ich b i n a l l e i n  She i s not drawn as a well  114  defined character.  She i s made to change her mind so often that i t i s  impossible to gather what she i s supposedly thinking. s t i l l loves Jason, but she does not r e a l l y show i t .  It seems Medea  She  considers  their marriage, before her e x i l e , to have been a happy one.  No reasons  to explain Jason's unfaithfulness are put forward i n this play. mother Medea seems to have functioned s a t i s f a c t o r i l y .  As a  The children have  missed her during her absence and seem to be genuinely attached to her. Although Medea states that she must k i l l the children to free them from t h e i r dismal fate which awaits them i n Corinth, i t i s more l i k e l y that she k i l l s Jason's likeness i n them: Kein Erbarmen! Es i s t die Natterbrut Jasons— Sein Blut klopft i n ihren Adern, sein heuchlerisches Lacheln schwebt auf ihren Lippen (pp. 15-16) Yet she warns them against her and her love which s p e l l s t h e i r death. She intends to k i l l herself a f t e r she has murdered the children, but never carries out her intention. A l l we hear about Jason i s that he i s very b e a u t i f u l .  When he  f i n a l l y appears on stage, he i s obviously confused and i n h i s impotence to revenge himself, he commits suicide. He seems to have shown some concern for h i s children, as they were not exiled with their mother.  In  this play Creusa loses a l l importance but there i s again more emphasis placed on the c h i l d r e n and the disrupted family l i f e . Klinger In Klinger's Sturm and Drang play we have for the f i r s t time a confrontation of the two women vying for Jason's love.  We find the  expression of unlimited passionate love - l a grande passion - i n Medea,  115  while Cireusa expresses  gentle and compassionate human love:  Creusa  t r i e s to explain her feelings to Medea: Ich brenne nicht fur ihn. Keine Flamme umgliiht mein Herz. Sanft schimmert's nur i n meinem Busen. Reine Wiinsche fur sein Gliick steigen h i e r ungesehen auf. (Act I I I , p. 190) Medea's passion i s too great-anddtopcpoweffiul for Jason who to owe  a l l to h i s wife.  does not l i k e  Even though Medea t r i e s to be submissive  and  docile, she i s forcing h e r s e l f into a human mold she does not r e a l l y f i t . There can be no question that Medea t r u l y loves Jason and that her suffering over her r e j e c t i o n i s great. hurt i n her pride. rejected.  She i s not only jealous, but  deeply  She has given up a l l for this one human love and i s  Through her love for Jason Medea has been t i e d to^humanity and,  with i t s r e j e c t i o n , she breaks completely with the weak and f a l s e race of men  to become again her t e r r i b l e s e l f . While her love for Jason i s passionate, Medea i s most human i n  her love for her c h i l d r e n . However, the children have already made friends with Creusa and she feels Creusa w i l l rob her of them too. need be Medea i s prepared children with her: (Act  I I I , p. 211)  to give up Jason, i f only she can keep the  "Sie sey Dein Weib, nur nicht meiner Kinder Mutter!" She r e s i s t s her mother's command at f i r s t , but i s  forced into k i l l i n g them after a l l . her own  If  She i s f u l l y aware that she i s k i l l i n g  children and not just Jason's which increases her suffering.  In -  the end she takes them for b u r i a l i n the temple where Jason f i r s t swore his  love to her. Jason i s i n love only with Creusa.  He does not love Medea anymore  116  and even suspects that he has been a v i c t i m of her magic s p e l l before. He suffers under h i s bondage to Medea and f e e l s that he i s her creation. He wants to become .his own man, a hero i n h i s own r i g h t s .  With h i s  rejection of Medea he thinks to r e j o i n humanity: Ich fiirchte Dich nicht, und verkiinde D i r mit mannlichem Herzen meinen Entsch-lussP , von neuem i n die Menschheit einzutreten, aus welcher Du mich gerissen hast. Ich w i l l hoffen, fiirchten, leiden und geniessen, wie TZZ\ meines Gleichen. Dein Zauber s o i l mich nicht ferner vor den Schlagen des Schicksals sichern, nicht ferner w i l l i c h i n diirrem Erstaunen Deiner furchtbaren Grosse hindammern. An der S t e l l e , wo die Menschen Schmerzen fiihlen, w i l l auch i c h s i e fiihlen. Z u f a l l , Krankheit, Mangel t r e f f e n mich wie s i e . Ihre Uebel w i l l i c h tragen, um auch i h r Gliick zu fiihlen. (Act I I I , p. 200) 5  He accuses Medea of having no understanding of human emotions and sufferings, but he does not understand her either whose every emotion i s on a larger scale than a mortal's.  At the end, however, Jason does seem to  r e a l i z e that he i s g u i l t y too and he accepts h i s punishment:  "...ich  darf der Morderin nicht fluchen, die wuthend'e Erinnis driickt den Fluch i n mein gliihendes Herz zuriick."  (Act V, p. 239)  Jason i s a loving father who begs the very compliant and w i l l i n g Creusa and Creon to extend their protection to h i s children.  Jason wants  to keep h i s children because he understands their humanity and can make men out of them: Auf diese Kleinen f i e l durch mich das Loos der achwachen Menschheit. Du fiihlst es niemals r e i n ; Du fiihlst es nicht bestandig. Der Faden, der Dich an s i e kniipf t, isst Deinem Geist zu diinne. Ich w i l l s i e zu Menschen weihen, von Deinen Verbrechen reinigen, und zu Mannern bilden. (Act I I I , p. 210)  117  Again great emphasis i s placed on the children who are torn between their love for t h e i r father and mother and want them to stay together.  Jason and Medea are shown as a couple who are doomed because  of t h e i r d i f f e r e n t spheres.  Medea can never make herself into a r e a l  human being, and Jason w i l l always fear the sorceress i n her.  Jason,  on the other hand, i s a mortal with a l l the f a i l i n g s and weaknesses common to humanity, who  can never understand or accept Medea's l o f t y  spirit: Der Mensch wird nur zum Mensch gezogen; der Traum, der uns zu hohern Wesen hebt, verschwindet, wenn unsre Seelen, durch unsre Augen, durch unsre Sprache s i c h vermischen. (Act I, p. 170) Jason lacked the heroic stature which Medea's passionate nature demanded. His new marriage was not inspired by p o l i t i c a l consideration or by love but by a longing f o r a simple human existence f a r from the awesome greatness and solitude of Medea.  118  (6)  19th Century:  G r i l l p a r z e r , Lucas, Legouve  The 19th century writers not only show an increased interest i n the relationship between Jason and Medea and Jason and Creusa but also between Medea and Creusa.  The effects of a break-up of a marriage  on the children involved are again explored as both G r i l l p a r z e r and Legouve present us for the f i r s t time with a Creusa who i s not only a r i v a l for the love of Jason but also f o r that of the children. Grillparzer G r i l l p a r z e r gives us the f u l l e s t development ter  of Medea's charac-  so f a r since h i s t r i l o g y The Golden Fleece shows us Medea, the maiden  i n her native Colchis before the intrusion of the Greek adventurers and before the a r r i v a l of the Fleece, symbol of human l u s t and greed.  Medea-,  in those days, was as innocent and pure i n her way as the seemingly ageless and colourless Creusa i n the l a s t play of the t r i l o g y , Medea.  It is  through the intrusion of the strangers, f i r s t Phrixus, then Jason and his  Argonauts, that Medea's eyes are opened to the ways of the world.  She becomes mature, wise and understanding, but also g u i l t y , f o r her love i s coupled with g u i l t .  In the Medea we f i n d a woman who has aged  because she has accepted l i f e as she found i t .  She has seen a l l her  hopes and dreams shattered, yet she i s s t i l l trying v a l i a n t l y to make the  best of i t although she r e a l i z e s that l i f e means s u f f e r i n g , humilia-  tion and misery.  Hence stems Medea's darkness compared to Creusa's  lightness or transparency. Creusa's s i m p l i c i t y r e f l e c t s the uncomplicated and uneventful l i f e she has l e d . But her simplemindedness  turns into tactlessness,  119  her kindness i n t o c r u e l t y , because she lacks experience and understanding. In front of t h e i r mother she c a l l s Medea's c h i l d r e n orphans and happily revives childhood memories with Jason thereby excluding Medea completely. Whenever Creusa gets a glimpse of r e a l i t y , she shies back and refuses to hear or see the truth.. In the end we cannot r e a l l y f e e l sorry f o r Creusa's f a t e .  I t does not seem to come t o t a l l y undeserved.  After f a l l  she deprives Medea of husband and c h i l d r e n while professing her f r i e n d ship and assistance to the stranger who puts h e r s e l f under her p r o t e c t i o n . G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea t r i e s very hard to mould h e r s e l f i n t o a model Greek wife and to please both Jason and the Greeks.  She buries the  Fleece and a l l that goes with i t ; she changes her dress and even t r i e s to play the l y r e . her,  But i t i s already too l a t e .  Jason no longer loves  Nor could a man l i k e Jason ever be held by one woman only, since  he i s always i n need of fresh conquests to prove himself.  Medea's a t -  tempts at pleasing him are doomed from the outset and lead to the scene of her greatest h u m i l i a t i o n .  Jason refuses to l i s t e n to her play the l y r e  and sing a childhood song she learned with great d i f f i c u l t y because he i s too engrossed w i t h Creusa.  By the time he pays a t t e n t i o n to her, she has  forgotten the song, and Jason asks Creusa t o sing i t f o r him instead. In the ensuing struggle over the l y r e , the instrument breaks and frees the o r i g i n a l Medea from the self-imposed yoke of submission to Jason and Greece.  I t i s now that Medea's struggle f o r s u r v i v a l and her revenge begin. Medea has remained l o y a l to Jason although she knows him only too  w e l l , as she assures Creusa: Du kennst i h n ni£ht, ich. aber kenn' i h n ganz! Nur er i s t da, er_ i n der weiten Welt, Und a l l e s andre n i c h t s a l s S t o f f zu Taten.  120  V o l l Selbstheit, nicht des Nutzens, doch des Sinns, Spielt er mit seinem und der andern Gliick: Lockt's ihn nach Ruhm, so schlagt er einen t o t , W i l l er ein Weib, so holt er eine s i c h , Was auch dariiber b r i c h t , was kummert's ihn! Er tut nur recht, doch recht i s t , was er w i l l , Du kennst ihn nicht, i c h aber kenn' ihn ganz! Und denk' i c h an die Dinge, die geschehn, Ich konnt' ihn sterben sehn, und lachen drob. Cpr- 25-26) Medea's love i s mingled with hatred or at least disenchantment from the beginning of her union with Jason.  Yet there i s always the awareness  of a bond between them which cannot be broken by words or deeds: Das war es, was mein Vater sagte! Ich d i r zur Qual, du mir. - Doch weich' i c h nicht! Vor allem, was i c h war, was i c h besass, Es i s t ein einziges mir nur geblieben, Und b i s zum Tode Ibleilb' icPi es i dein Weib • (p. 15) Medea feels deeply for her children and i t i s only a f t e r their r e j e c t i o n of her that she has to admit to herself that resignation i s no longer possible and revenge becomes almost inevitable.  She, who has  been heartbroken at being allowed only one of her children to accompany her  into e x i l e , cannot bear to see them betray her f o r Creusa.  feelings for her children are passionate and v i o l e n t .  Medea's  She has often  seen and hated t h e i r father's image i n them and has thereby frightened the  children who prefer the even-tempered  and sweet Creusa.  They also  reject Medea because l i f e with her means discomfort, uncertainty and misery. the  Seeing the children following their father's example i n choosing  easy way out, when to her l i f e only means suffering, she cannot f e e l  remorse after t h e i r death because she has saved them from l i f e - the r e a l bane of mankind. Dir Ich  She t e l l s Jason:  scheint der Tod das Schlimmste; kenn'ein noch v i e l Aergres: elend sein.  121  Hatt'st du das Leben holier nicht geachtet, Als es zu achten i s t , uns war' nun anders. Drum tragen wir! Den Kindern i s t ' s erspart! (p.  72)  In Jason G r i l l p a r z e r seems to have portrayed the man he saw and d i s l i k e d i n himself.  Jason i s the adventurer, the man who must conquer  to prove himself - moving from v i c t o r y to v i c t o r y but hiding an inner void. or  Jason l i v e s only through h i s deeds and conquests, be i t i n love  i n war.  However, when he obtains the Golden Fleece, and with i t  Medea, Jason becomes a proprietor and as such he has to f a i l .  This i s  the reason for h i s attempt to shed the past and return to h i s youth. Creusa represents a l l the ambitions and hopes of the young man,  as yet  untainted by the price he has had to pay for success or by the greed associated with the quest.  But Creusa i s also another conquest - a new  adventure to embark on. r e a l i t y of l i f e .  Medea becomes an unwelcome reminder of the  Jason's heroism i s b r i t t l e .  more than a man of action.  He i s an opportunist even  He accepts the benefits of Medea's deeds -  perhaps even suggests or inspires them - but refuses to accept the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for them: (p.  47)  "Nicht der Gedanke wird bestraft, die Tat."  Medea who has acted out.of love becomes a scapegoat and a burden  to him now he has returned to Greek c i v i l i z a t i o n .  Grillparzer thus ex-  poses Jason's hollow heroism as l u s t and greed f o r power and happiness. Given h i s d i s p o s i t i o n , Jason i s bound to be an unsatisfactory husband.  Medea's f i r s t  resistance to his advances was a challenge to  him, but once overcome he dropped her l i k e a broken toy: So stand er da, i n Kraft und Schonheit prangend, Eiri Held, e i n Gott, und lockte, lockte, lockte, Bis es verlockt, sein Opfer, und vernichtet; Dan warf er's hin, und niemand hob es auf. (p. 25)  122  Although he i s the l a s t one w i t h a r i g h t to accuse her, he loathes her a l l the more because he owes her too much.  Even h i s admission, that he  might have a share i n the g u i l t by h i s omission to a c t , he only uses to gain Creusa's sympathy.  Jason i s also the man drawn to two types of  women (as G r i l l p a r z e r seems to have been):  one mature, passionate and  perhaps too demanding, the other young and pure - almost f r i g i d . Jason r e a l l y f e e l s f o r anyone but himself i s hard to gauge.  What  The end of  the play seems to i n d i c a t e that he s u f f e r s mainly from s e l f - p i t y and hurt p r i d e .  He does not seem to have gained any i n s i g h t and c e r t a i n l y  looks rather despicable i n comparison to Medea's calm d i g n i t y .  Again  there seems to be a male-female r o l e r e v e r s a l i n Jason and Medea.  It is  the masculine i n Medea and the feminine i n Jason which both a t t r a c t s and repels them and which binds them u n t i l the end despite t h e i r e f f o r t s to free themselves from t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . Lucas Again Medea and Creusa meet face to face i n t h i s play.  Medea  even restores Creusa who has l o s t consciousness a f t e r having been a t tacked by a l i o n whom Jason l a t e r s l a y s .  Creusa loves and admires Jason  as the greatest of mortals, but w i l l not confess t h i s to him u n t i l she i s dying,, I n answer to Medea's warnings, she j u s t i f i e s her consent to the proposed marriage w i t h f i l i a l obedience.  Although t h i s Medea i s a  b e a u t i f u l woman w i t h r e g a l bearing, Jason i s unmoved by her beauty. He does not b e l i e v e i n her love, but f e e l s she only used him as a con-, venient means to leave Colchis and gain personal fame i n Greece.  He  excuses h i s i n f i d e l i t y w i t h h i s weariness of her uneasy love and of her  123  crimes and a need to provide a secure future f o r the c h i l d r e n .  Jason,  renowned f o r h i s god-like beauty and bearing and h i s success w i t h mortal and immortal women, seems to be nothing but a f r u s t r a t e d hero.  A l l his  deeds have been brought about w i t h the help of Medea's magic.  He i s  protected from a l l danger; he cannot achieve anything because he i s never allowed to r i s k anything. Medea's deeds have destroyed him as a man as w e l l as a hero.  However, he admits, a l b e i t only to h i m s e l f , that  t h i s i s but a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n .  In t r u t h what he wants i s Creusa w i t h  her youth, her beauty and her innocence.  I t i s the excitement of the  conquest of a new v i r g i n which a t t r a c t s him.  I n a way the Medea and the  Jason of Lucas appear to be worthy of each other.  Both seem to be oppor-  t u n i s t s and quite cold-hearted. I t i s hard to say whether i t i s more i n c r e d i b l e that Jason and Creusa a c t u a l l y p l a n t o marry i n the temple, where Medea and her c h i l d r e n have taken refuge on t h e i r a r r i v a l i n Corinth, or that Jason stands by while Medea puts the poisoned garments • personally on Creusa, pretending to accept the l o s s of husband and c h i l d r e n w i t h a completely u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c r e s i g n a t i o n . As parents both Medea and Jason seem to be f a i r l y concerned for the welfare of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . voyage to Corinth;  Medea feared f o r t h e i r l i v e s on the  she considerately has them moved out of earshot,  when she i s f i r s t t o l d about Jason's new involvement, and she wants to f l e e w i t h them. and i n e x p l i c a b l e .  Why she eventually k i l l s them any way remains unexplained Nor does i t make sense that Jason fears from the f i r s t  for  t h e i r c h i l d r e n , professes that they hold the f i r s t place i n h i s heart,  yet  decides to ship them o f f to the centaur who educated him rather than  124  keep them with him i n Corinth.  Although the children do not play such  a prominent part i n t h i s play, Medea points to the e v i l effects a marriage break-up has on the children involved. Pourtant, outre l ' e f f e t des querelles jalouses, Plus d'un abus se j o i n t au changement d'epouses C'est j e t e r l a discorde et l e s debats amers Au milieu des enfants dont les droits sont divers. La f r a t e r n e l l e paix leur refuse ses charmes. Aussitot q u ' i l s sont grands i l s recourent aux armes. Plus l o i n qu'on ne l e c r o i t on pousse 1'attentat; La famille est l a base ou repose l ' E t a t . (p. 33) Legouve Again the male-female relationship i s emphasized the  children becomes central to the play as a whole.  and the l o t of  Medea, sad, d i s -  i l l u s i o n e d and g u i l t y , but s t i l l of noble and majestic appearance, meets Creusa who i s the image of the young Medea before .her'  innocence was  s u l l i e d by Jason's g u i l t y passion, which caused her to forsake parents and country and to commit f e a r f u l crimes at his behest. are  The two women  attracted to each other but nevertheless remain f a i r l y guarded.  Medea confides i n Creusa u n t i l she finds out that i t i s Jason Creusa loves. ing  Her jealousy aroused, she resolves to k i l l Creusa, who  is will-  to save her from the angry populace but not to give up Jason i n  spite of Medea's pleas and her father's orders.  Medea, who has already  been banished from a l l other parts of Greece, carries with her an aura of  horror which arouses extreme panic and hatred i n the people of Corinth.  Creon and Orpheus, who know her personally, however only fear a desperate deed of revenge from a humiliated and rejected wife and mother.  Hippolyte Lucas, Medee, Tragedie d'apres Euripide,Michel Levy Freres Paris, 1855. (All quotes from Lucas' Medee are taken from this text.)  125  As a wife Medea i s l o y a l , possessive and very jealous. love Medea has become g u i l t y .  Out of  She i s w i l l i n g to accept this g u i l t , but  she refuses to give up the man who was the cause of i t a l l .  Medea i s  very conscious of the fact that i t i s not only love but also common g u i l t which unites them: The close entwining of our hearts doth not from love alone a r i s e - but quite as much from g u i l t ! In a l l my crimes thou had'st thy share! - b r i e f l y , then, we are accomplices, e'en more than consorts! (p. 20) However, Medea comes to accept Jason's betrayal and i s even prepared to l e t him go.  But she i s incensed at Jason's baseness i n trying to use  her love of the children to gain her consent to the divorce, and of then depriving her of the children too.  There i s no doubt that this Medea  loves her children f a r more than she loves Jason.  From the beginning  she fears that they may be the means of punishment f o r her crimes.  She  r e a l i z e s that a c h i l d needs joy and a sense of security and that the l i f e they lead with her i s perhaps not i n their best i n t e r e s t : My ceaseless grief must weary them! A c h i l d has need of happiness, and r e c o i l s from endless tears and features seamed with care! Besides, no daughter of Greece am I, but a barbarian! my very love i s f i e r c e , the very transports of my passionate a f f e c t i o n alarm my l i t t l e ones! While k i s s i n g them, I often f e e l I frighten them! (p. 12) There i s thus from the beginning an i n d i c a t i o n that i t i s Medea's love which i s f a t a l to the children.  Because she understands  the children's  fears, Medea i s able to forgive them t h e i r betrayal. . Her mother-love overcomes her desire f o r revenge and she i s ready to f l e e with them into an unknown future, f o r this Medea has no friends, no promised e x i l e and  126  no dragon c h a r i o t awaiting her.  When t h e i r f l i g h t i s prevented, Medea  k i l l s her c h i l d r e n because she loves them and w i l l not l e t them f a l l i n t o enemy hands.  I f they are to d i e f o r her crimes, they must die  by her own hand. Legouve's Jason, on the other hand, i s a very unpleasant person an envious and conceited braggard, a l i a r and an oath-breaker. the type of hero who r e l i e s on brute force only.  He i s  Slaying dragons and  seducing maidens are a l l the same to him: Thou lovest the blooming v i r g i n s , e'en as the mountain-bear the savory honey—combs, the leopard the w e l l — f a t t e n e d f l o c k , or the t o r rent i t s flowery banks, — that i t may s u l l y tthveir fragrant treasures and w h i r l them headlong i n i t s t u r b i d course! (p. 6) Jason i s the aggressor and the conqueror.' Destruction i s h i s way l i f e , and that which i s not given f r e e l y , i s taken by force.  of  But once  he has obtained the object of h i s d e s i r e , he has no f u r t h e r use f o r i t . To t h i s Jason Legouve opposes the poet Orpheus who  conquers with the  word, and who has the wisdom to c u l t i v a t e that which he has won.  The  s e t t l e r i s contrasted w i t h the w a r r i o r , the man of reason w i t h the opportunist.  In such a comparison between the preserver and the des-  t r o y e r , Jason i s bound to be the l o s e r x .  He i s needed to free the  people from t h e i r f e a r s , but he i s not respected as Orpheus i s . Jason spurred Medea on to her crimes, but does not h e s i t a t e to desert her f o r a new love.  H i s baseness i s f u l l y revealed to Medea when he uses the  c h i l d r e n to gain h i s ends: Yes! l a c e r a t e my heart w i t h thy base treachery, discard me, and i n my place e l e c t another, a l l t h i s I can imagine! such crimes are of thy race; but to speak of thy c h i l d r e n , to f e i g n  127  anxiety f o r t h e i r welfare, while thy heart i s busy with adulterous plans, to mingle t h e i r innocence with thy g u i l t y thoughts, and shield thine infamy beneath the name of father - this i s beyond a l l bearing! Thou t h r i l l ' s t me with horror! (p. 20) For  Jason the children's death could only be of secondary im-  portance to Creusa's.  I t i s not the achievement of utter and f i n a l  destruction as i t was i n Euripides' play, f o r instance. In Legouve's play we find no male-female r o l e reversal. A l though Jason i s at the root of Medea's crimes and does not hesitate to benefit from them, he i s also a man of action himself. He i s comp l e t e l y unscrupulous and instigates the crimes f o r which she i s then l e f t to bear the f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . the  Through her love of Jason and  crimes engendered by i t , Medea i s isolated throughout the play and  i n the end becomes a figure of utter despair, who has been completely destroyed by her love. The 19th century brings us again Jason, the adventurer, the conqueror and l a d i e s ' man.  L i f e has been a series of conquests i n which  Creusa and the throne of Corinth are h i s next goal.  Medea, generally,  i s more mother than wife and the k i l l i n g of the children has f o r the f i r s t time an element of salvation i n i t , although i t i s s t i l l mainly motivated by a desire f o r revenge.  Furthermore, i n both G r i l l p a r z e r ' s  and Legouve's plays, Medea has become the betrayed mother as well as the betrayed wife.  128  (7)  20th Century - Attempt at Conclusion Interest i n the relationship between Jason and Medea and  their children,and i n Creusa, as the other woman, i s generally great i n the 20th century plays.  One of the new aspects introduced i n some  of these plays i s the portrayal not only of the dilemma of the man between two women but of that of two women i n love with the same man. There i s an emerging consciousness of sisterhood amongst women, which i s not strong enough, however, to overcome the r i v a l r y for the love of the man. Ca)  Before 1939 - Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson Undoubtedly Jahnn's Medea i s not an ordinary woman.  She i s  the proud granddaughter of Helios and, although she has l o s t her immortality, she has retained s u f f i c i e n t magic powers to frighten those around her, including Jason who i s the main b e n e f i c i a r y of her magic. Only her younger son understands her t e r r i b l e predicament: cannot benefit from her magic.  she herself  She abhors her ugliness as much as Jason  does, but asks some semblance of love from him, so that she may carry on i n her e f f o r t s to keep him young and b e a u t i f u l .  Jason's betrayal  makes her aging and her d a i l y struggle with the gods meaningless. While Medea was able to forgive Jason's constant i n f i d e l i t i e s , she cannot allow this new marriage which would deprive her of Jason Her love of him i s exceedingly possessive:  completely..  Jason i s her creation.  Once  he cuts himself loose from Medea and h i s sons, the catastrophe i s i n e v i t able.  Medea's love turns to hatred, and she must destroy every l i n k  with humanity to set herself free to return to her divine o r i g i n .  129,  Neither the Medea-figures of Lenormand or Anderson possess magic powers.  They are of royal rather than divine descent.  The princess i n  Lenormand's play Asie i s a proud woman of primitive o r i g i n but with a wisdom and understanding which i s not acquired by mere education. She f e l l i n love with the white stranger who appeared l i k e a god out of the jungle; she saved h i s l i f e and helped him to power.  Her love of De  Mezzano i s also very possessive. She loves him best when he i s completely dependent on her: Tu etais a moi comme un cadavre. A moi, comme une chose qui ne peut pas s'enfuir! (p. 24) In Europe the princess has become dependent on De Mezzano and has l o s t her hold over him.  Although she loves him enough to leave her homeland  with him, she shows at a l l times a great resentment of C h r i s t i a n i t y and European c i v i l i z a t i o n and a l l i t implies.  Her pride i s not only injured  by De Mezzano's r e j e c t i o n of her but also by h i s attempts to humiliate her i n front of her children and to erase a l l traces of their maternal heritage.  His promise to bring progress to her country makes h i s  betrayal even more infamous. to s p o i l her future. strong for her.  De Mezzano denies Katha her past and intends  She recognizes that the machines and he are too  As she has been deprived of a l l hope for the future,  she i s determined to destroy h i s future too, by whatever means necessary. For  the f i r s t time since Glover's Medea, we find i n The Wingless  Victory a Medea-figure who i s b e a u t i f u l , good and noble, and who i s s t i l l loved by her husband.  Oparre i s a devout, newly converted Christian,  ready to humble herself and forget her royal origins i n an e f f o r t to gain acceptance i n her husband's hometown.  Although only a meagre welcome i s  130  extended to her, she i s w i l l i n g to stay for Nathaniel's  sake.  Nathaniel  never ceases to love Oparre; i t i s only the threat to his wealth which divides them. absolute:  Oparre s love for Nathaniel and her f a i t h i n him r  are  she s a c r i f i c e s home, children and herself for her love.  cannot understand Nathaniel's weariness, his need for security and  She ac-  ceptance by his own kind and for wealth so that he may buy the respect he has always craved.  Love i s Oparre's whole l i f e .  Although Jfaihnjn's Medea loves her children, her love i s a sensuous love-and "Was  as possessive as her love of Jason.  She accuses the eldest son:  Sklaven du vergonn'ttesit: badend d i c h zu schaun, sahn meine Augen n i c h t . "  (p. 605) Her mother—love, however, never competes with her desire for revenge. She does not have to give up her children who hers than a l i v e .  i n death are more completely  Medea i s w e l l aware of the fact that her c h i l d r e n find  her repulsive, and that at least the older son has l i t t l e love for her. However, she hopes the older son's proposed marriage w i l l f i n a l l y give her some j u s t i f i c a t i o n .  She w i l l see with her own eyes his youthful body  for which she has paid so dearly. before k i l l i n g her sons.  There i s no inner struggle i n Medea  Once Jason has renounced her, their fate i s  sealed and Medea mercilessly sets her plans i n motion. Lenormand's Katha i s a loving mother who  has greatly suffered  from the e a r l i e r separation from her children who strangers by the Catholic missionary school. her children and worries about their f r a i l t y .  were turned into  She i s concerned about Both parents have a strong  f e e l i n g of g u i l t towards t h e i r children and see only a bleak future ahead for  them.  Perhaps i t might have been better i f they had never been born:  131  "Nous sommes aussi coupables l'un que l ' a u t r e . a v o i r d enfants!" (p. 47) r  Nous ne devions pas  As long as they l i v e , these c h i l d r e n w i l l  be torn between t h e i r father and t h e i r mother and between the races and cultures each represents. Only i n death can t h e i r heritage be d i v i d e d . Anderson's Oparre i s a tender mother who accompanies her daughters i n t o death a f t e r having s a c r i f i c e d them to her love of Nathaniel.  Both  parents are, however, f a r more concerned w i t h t h e i r own dilemma than w i t h the fate of the c h i l d r e n . For Jahnn's Jason Medea's g i f t of youth and beauty i s as much of a curse as a boon.  He i s troubled by the unnaturalness of h i s s i t u a t i o n :  h i s i n a b i l i t y to age, h i s excessive sexual drives and h i s r i v a l r y w i t h h i s sons.  Although i r r e s p o n s i b l e and pleasure-seeking, Jason i s not  wholly c a l l o u s .  He p i t i e s Medea and recognizes that he i s i n her debt,  but i t i s only w i t h an e f f o r t that he can support her presence since only youth and beauty a t t r a c t him.  There i s l i t t l e of the heroic l e f t  i n t h i s b e a u t i f u l and l i g h t - h e a r t e d male. punishment i s e x c e s s i v e l y c r u e l .  There i s no doubt that Jason's  Not o n l y does Creusa wither away and  decay j u s t when she has aroused h i s desires to a fever p i t c h , but Medea t e l l s him l a t e r that, had he overcome h i s r e v u l s i o n , Creusa would have been restored to her former youth and beauty.  In the end Jason i s  nothing but a b e a u t i f u l and empty s h e l l enslaved to l u s t which was at the root of h i s b e t r a y a l .  Jason's quest f o r immortality has turned i n t o  a nightmare of death. Lenormand's De Mezzano and Anderson's Nathaniel McQueston are adventurers returned home. De Mezzano has loved war and v i o l e n c e , but  132  now wants to s e t t l e down, shed his past l i f e and a l l that reminds him of  it.  He i s an opportunist who w i l l always r a t i o n a l i z e his s e l f i s h deeds.  What i s useful to him becomes a necessity and nothing i s allowed to stand in his way. type: (p.  Aimee, though unable to r e s i s t him, r i g h t l y recognizes his  "Les hommes comme toi...sont l e d e l i c e et l e fleau du monde."  75) .Without scruples, she w i l l always get what he wants l i s t e n i n g  to no reason but h i s own. Nathaniel set out from Salem seeking fame and fortune.  He i s easy  going and g u l l i b l e , so that the townspeople have no trouble getting h i s money while p l o t t i n g his destruction.  Only too late does Nathaniel  r e a l i z e that wealth does not bring happiness and that respect cannot be bought.  Although Nathaniel does not become u n f a i t h f u l to Oparre he i s  a weak man whose love cannot support public disapproval: I love you s t i l l - but they've made our love a torment - i t ' s the world that does i t - i t won't have us together. - We touched at ports before we came here — east and west — and always I saw them pointing at us - there goes a white man wljith a black woman — they think us obscene - somehow they make i t obscene.. - They make me ashamed of my love (p. 106) Nathaniel seems to be a kind but rather i n d i f f e r e n t father, while Jaharin's Jason seems to f e e l very l i t t l e love for h i s sons,, who are his r i v a l s i n youth and beauty, and constitute a threat to him. shake them o f f as well as Medea:  He wants to  "Auch meiner Kinder Winseln i s t mir  widerlich, weil s i e mieh hassen von j e t z t ab." (p. 643) r e l i a b i l i t y i s stressed from the beginning.  Jason's un-  He f i r s t cheats the younger  boy out of the horse he desires and then the older one out of Creusa's love.  Jason's father—love only awakens when the children are dead and he  133  has already l o s t Creusa. necessary  Their death however seems to be far more  for Medea,who wants to l i b e r a t e herself from a l l reminders  of her marriage, than for the revenge on Jason whose r e a l punishment l i e s in Creusa s death and i n the curse overshadowing his future. 1  Of the three De Mezzano i s by far the most loving father.  As a  matter of f a c t , h i s only weakness seems to be h i s c h i l d r e n . His feelings for  them are tinged with a sense of g u i l t and a sense of duty: Puisque j ' a i commis l a faute d'engendrer des metis, aux desirs contradictoires, aux ames perpetuellement offensees, aux destins d i f f i c i l e s , je ne puis l a reparer qu'en me consacrant a eux. La malediction qui coule dans leur sang augmente mon amour et me d i c t e mon devoir. (p. 91)  De Mezzano feels that the only way he can find a place i n l i f e for them i s by "painting them white" and turning them into l i t t l e French boys as one can never be homeless or uprooted as long as one i s with someone of his  own  race.  This i s Aimee's great a t t r a c t i o n for him:  L'homme, meme arrache, transplant*!, souffle d'un continent a l'autre, sera toujours a sa place entre les bras d'une femme de sa couleur...(p. 74) (P- •'.') It  i s i r o n i c therefore that Aimee seems to be the only person  who understands Katha and sympathizes with her. She senses her i s o l a t i o n , her helpless anger and desperation.  She points out to her father and  De  Mezzano the f a c i l e reasoning and the hypocrisy with which, they are trying to cover up the cruelty of t h e i r own  crime:  depriving a homeless stranger  of husband and c h i l d r e n . Aimee's sympathy i s , however, tinged with condescension. young.  She sees Katha as an animal deprived of her mate and her  Nor does the p i t y she f e e l s for Katha overcame her love for  De Mezzano or her involvement i n the conspiracy against the princess:  134  Oh, l a p i t i e peut f a i r e n a i t r e l e remords, mais helas, l a s'arrete son pouvoir. E l l e n'a jamais empeche que fut commise 1'action mauvaise. (p. 41) Thus, as i n Grillparzer's atrl legouve's plays, the woman who 1;  could have been  the urgently needed friend and helper i s also her r i v a l for the a f f e c t i o n of the man  and the children.  In this play the children are attracted  by the gentle and kind Aimee and a l l she stands f o r , but they s t i l l love t h e i r mother and f e e l g u i l t y because of their divided l o y a l t y . In Anderson's The Wingless Victory F a i t h , Nathaniel's sweetheart, never t r i e s to regain his love. friend e i t h e r .  Their love for the same man  childhood  But she cannot be Oparre's also stands between them.  But more than the love for Nathaniel, i t i s Oparre's colour which prevents F a i t h from reaching out a s i s t e r l y hand to Oparre.  In spite of  her sympathy and p i t y , s o c i a l pressure and conditioning i s too strong for F a i t h .  At the end she i s s e l f l e s s enough, however, to urge Nathaniel  not to l e t Oparre leave alone, even i f her advice i s not heeded.  Both  Aimee and F a i t h survive at the end of the plays, but not so Jahnn's Creusa who, however, i s not a mere innocent v i c t i m .  Her g u i l t l i e s i n  having f i r s t encouraged the son's love and then betrayed him for the father.  She too seems to have to pay the p r i c e for following her desires  only. In a l l three plays the children become^ the innocent victims of t h e i r parents' unconventional  love.  Their l i v e s seem to hold l i t t l e  happiness i n store for them and once they lose the protection of both r> parents they are doomed.  While the c h i l d r e n are of great importance i n  a l l three plays, i t i s e s p e c i a l l y i n Lenormand's Asie that the r e l a t i o n ship between the couple and their quarrel over the children i s at the  135  heart of the play.  The children themselves become important  characters  who not only choose between their father and their mother but also between what each race has to o f f e r them.  In a l l three plays, how-  ever, death seems to come as salvation from a future of misery, slavery or p r o s t i t u t i o n . (b)  A f t e r 1945 - J e f f e r s , Anouilh, Csokor, Alvaro, Braun, Magnuson With the exception of Anouilh and Braun, a l l of these l a s t  playwrights present us with Medeas who are both proud and of noble origin.  Only i n Csokor's play i s there no mention of her super-  natural, or at least extraordinary, powers.  However, Medea i s gen-  e r a l l y an isolated being ravaged by s o l i t a r i n e s s and suffering. three of the plays Medea's "otherness" i s further accentuated  In  by the  fact that she i s of a d i f f e r e n t race, although the colour problem as such i s of importance only i n Magnuson's A f r i c a n Medea.  In that play Medea  k i l l s her children because of t h e i r father's white blood which flows i n their veins.  Like Lenormand's Katha she considers the children  hers alone only i n death.  Medea's homelessness i s generally not stressed.  Only i n Braun's play i s she refused a refuge even by Aegeus, and has thus t r u l y nowhere but the desert to turn to. There seems to be almost an equal number of Medeas who are weary of their former way of l i f e , who would l i k e to forget the past and who have made a v a l i a n t e f f o r t to adapt to t h e i r new s i t u a t i o n , as there are Medeas who refuse to compromise and r e s t r a i n t h e i r passion. Anouil's Medee f i e r c e l y refuses any rapprochement to humanity and Braun's Medea i s already on the brink of insanity and steeped i n crime at the beginning of the play.  Medea's past clings to her and overshadows the  136  present.Bast crimes seem to engender new and greater crimes.  Not one  of these l a t e r Medeas bears Jason the s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g love of Anderson's Oparre, although at l e a s t Alvaro's and Csokor's Medea-figures s t i l l love t h e i r husbands at the beginning o f the p l a y . • Anouilh's and Braun's Medeas, on the other hand, never even t r y to hide t h e i r hatred and rage. Most of the times Medea seems to love her c h i l d r e n although these have ceased to be q u i t e as important as i n the previous three plays.  Creusa, as the r i v a l mother, and the b e t r a y a l by the c h i l d r e n  are no longer mentioned i n these most recent p l a y s .  Generally the i n -  terest i n Creusa as an i n d i v i d u a l seems to have diminished again.  Only  Csokor's Medea p o s t b e l l i c a again contrast the ageing wife w i t h her p r e t t y young r i v a l .  This i s also the only play i n which there i s  again a reference to the respect women can have f o r each other, i n s p i t e of t h e i r love f o r the same man. A f t e r Dora f i n d s out that the kerchief she has received from Anna i s i n f e c t e d w i t h leprosy, she submits h e r s e l f to the w i l l of the stronger woman. She turns against Peter who i s the cause of her misery and accepts Anna's suggestion that she serve i n a leper v i l l a g e .  Both women have l o s t what was most precious  to them, but they accept t h e i r f a t e without b i t t e r n e s s and part from each other w i t h forgiveness instead of hatred. In Anouilh's and Braun's plays i t i s Jason who i s weary of h i s past and who wants to f i n d peace and order i n h i s new l i f e .  I n both of  these works Jason grows i n the course of the p l a y and i s a sadder but wiser man at the end.  Medea's revenge does not leave him broken but  more than ever determined to r e s t o r e order and to l i v e a normal human  137  l i f e , forgetting Medea's passion and destructiveness.  In a l l the other  plays, Jason i s again the e g o t i s t i c adventurer s t r i v i n g f o r s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l gain or, i n Csokor's play, for mere s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n . Jason generally i s ambitious, power-hungry Medea and the memories of the past  and future-oriented.  she represents  have become a burden  to him which he must shed so that he may "escape" into the future. ever, Jason does not succeed i n denying the past either.  How-  Again Jason,  the adventurer, i s but a b r i t t l e hero whose f a t a l flaw i s inherent i n the adventurer's desire to conquer and dominate, without regard to the pJavLia and suffering he causes. In a l l these plays Jason i s l e f t a broken and defeated man at the end, but only- Csokor's Peter t r i e s to commit suicide. Jason i s generally not greatly concerned about his children and his father—love tends to awaken only when they are already dead.  Csokor's  Peter, f o r instance, seems to have no feelings of remorse at leaving a pregnant Anna although l a t e r he i s f u l l of wild accusations when he hears about the abortion.  Alvaro's Jason too stands i d l y by while h i s children  are threatened and stoned by the angry mob, trembling Creusa.  caring only for the f a i n t and  When he eventually rushes to t h e i r rescue, i t i s a l -  ready too l a t e . The idea of the doomed couple — the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of marriage reappears e s p e c i a l l y i n Anouilh's and Csokor's plays and turns them from tragedies of ?therindividual into tragedies of marriage. ;  Medee i t i s habit which has k i l l e d love.  In Anouilh's  Jason and Medea were comrades-  at—arms and accomplices.but have grown bored with each other.  In spite  138  of a long h i s t o r y of i n f i d e l i t i e s on both sides, they have never been able to break free, and i t i s Jason's attempt to compromise and to f o r get the past which unchains Medea's rage.  Csokor's Anna, too, could  have forgiven i n f i d e l i t i e s but not a r e j e c t i o n of a l l she believed i n and had fought f o r . Again i t i s Peter's easy compromise with, l i f e which clashes with Anna's absoluteness.  War which turned Anna into a fellow-  soldier and comrade has destroyed t h e i r relationship as man and woman. They know each other too well to survive as a couple. Due to the d i v e r s i t y i n the portrayals of both Jason and Medea and of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , i t i s nearly impossible to draw a v a l i d conclusion or e s t a b l i s h a common trend.  Usually there seems to be no  equal balance between Jason and Medea, the greatness of the one i s gained at the expense of the other.  However, the opposition of Medea's  triumph-to Jasonssnrumri. at the end of the play has become less frequent. Often both Medea and ffason haveJsuffered defeat, but only one of them has gained the insight which lends a certain tragic dignity.  139  VI. (1)  CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARDS MEDEA  Euripides I t i s not too easy to e s t a b l i s h a c l e a r a t t i t u d e towards  E u r i p i d e s ' Medea.  There i s always the dilemma of r e c o n c i l i n g Medea's  deeds, which cannot but shock and h o r r i f y , with her p e r s o n a l i t y and circumstances which, i n t u r n , have aroused our sympathy.  her  This ambi-  guity of f e e l i n g i s heightened by the f a c t that sympathy f o r Medea i s f i r m l y established from the beginning and increases  gradually  throughout the p l a y , t i l l suddenly at the end we can no longer r e c o n c i l e our f e e l i n g s w i t h the f a c t s as they are presented.  Medea's former mis-  deeds, the murders of her brother and P e l i a s , are d e l i b e r a t e l y minimized i n order to give our sympathy free r e i n .  Her adversaries obviously t r e a t  her badly even though she i s superior to them.  The one man who  treats  her as a f r i e n d and a h i g h l y respectable person i s no l e s s than the King of Athens, which i s another point i n Medea's favour.  And although  Medea c l e a r l y states her i n t e n t i o n s from that moment on when she f i r s t knows that her.plans have a chance of succeeding, i t has by that time become d i f f i c u l t to b e l i e v e that she w i l l a c t u a l l y carry out her plans. We do not see her commit the murders of her c h i l d r e n ; we only hear t h e i r frightened c r i e s for help.  These desperate c r i e s off-stage suddenly  force the f u l l horror of her a c t i o n on our consciousness.  I t i s at  t h i s point that the f r i g h t e n i n g conspiracy which almost turns us i n t o accessories i s f u l l y exposed.  We can no longer f e e l sympathy f o r Medea. .  Yet we have gone along w i t h her already f o r such a long time, that we are now l e f t with a welter of unresolved  and contradictory emotions.  140  Her exit on the dragon chariot with the bodies of her children removes her p h y s i c a l l y and metaphorically from the human sphere, but the spectators s t i l l have to cope with the problem of Medea the aggrieved human being and child-murderess. It i s probably easiest to trace the general reaction towards Medea by following the responses from the chorus which might serve as a guide to audience reaction.  These Corinthian women come f i r s t of  a l l to offer their support to Medea, the deserted wife.  They seem to  harbour no h o s t i l i t y or i l l - w i l l against her as a barbarian or as a scoirceress.  Quite the contrary* they come as friends to see what they  can do to a l l e v i a t e her g r i e f and to prevent her from doing anything rash i n her f i r s t urge of self-destruction: My willingness to help w i l l never Be wanting to my friends.  (1. 178-9) Medea responds to t h e i r appeal and t e l l s them of her wrongs and her desire to take revenge, with which the chorus concur::? Your are i n the r i g h t , Medea, In paying your husband back.  0 . 267-8) The chorus give Medea s i l e n t support, although its i s quite clear that she has already at that time murder on her mind, although they assume i t to be Jason's and perhaps Creon's.  The women sympathize  even more  with Medea a f t e r every successive encounter, f i r s t with Creon then with Jason.  These Corinthian women c l e a r l y i d e n t i f y with Medea's l o t . They  do not seem to be aware that Medea i s no ordinary woman. Not only i s she a foreign princess, but even a barbarian, whose customs and demeanour must be quite d i f f e r e n t from those of these women.  The chorus never  141  refer to this c u l t u r a l and r a c i a l difference. otherness as the reason for her troubles.  They do not blame her  In Euripides' days women,  i n general, had as few p r i v i l e g e s as foreigners any way.  Nor do these  women stop to think that, i f Medea has no home to return to and no father or brother to defend her, i t i s because she i s not the helpless, dependent woman she claims to be now. Her l i f e has been one of independent decisions and actions.  Rather, the chorus respect her because  she risked a l l for the man she loved.  Medea followed Jason of her own  free w i l l ; she was not abducted from her father's house.  And although  i t was mainly Jason who benefited from her former murders, which now leave her friendless and without refuge, she was never forced to commit these deeds. After Aegeus has promised Medea asylum i n Athens and she has, for  the f i r s t  time, revealed her plans i n d e t a i l , the chorus t r y to d i s -  suade her but s t i l l show sympathy and understanding for her s i t u a t i o n : Since you have shared the knowledge of your plan with us, I both wish to help you and support the normal Ways of mankind, and t e l l you not to do t h i s thing. (1.  811-813)  The womSn are quick to see that Medea's deed w i l l bring great unhappiness to herself also.  After the children have l e f t with their f a t a l  wedding g i f t s , they know that:" children's l i v e s . "  "Now there i s no hope l e f t for the  (1. 976) They express their p i t y not only for the  young bride who w i l l "accept the curse of the gold", (1. 978) and for Jason who, trying to improve h i s s o c i a l position, brings death to his bride and his children, but also f o r Medea:  142  In your g r i e f , t o o , I weep, mother of l i t t l e Y o u who w i l l m u r d e r y o u r o w n , I n vengeance f o r the l o s s of m a r r i e d l o v e Which J a s o n has b e t r a y e d As he l i v e s w i t h a n o t h e r w i f e . (1. E v e n when t h e m e s s e n g e r b r i n g s news o f r i b l e deaths, deserved.  the chorus s t i l l  996-1001)  the p r i n c e s s '  f e e l that  and C r e o n ' s  J a s o n g o t no more t h a n  H o w e v e r , when Medea r u s h e s i n t o  t h e c h o r u s eallJItDttheearth  children,  the house to k i l l  and the, s u n , M e d e a ' s  horhe  her  children,  ancestor,to  hE&dhjgld b a c k h e r hand* Check h e r , and d r i v e f r o m o u t t h e house The b l o o d y F u r y r a i s e d b y f i e n d s o f H e l l . (1. 1258-1260) Though i t that  i s o n l y when t h e y h e a r  the c h i l d r e n ' s desperate c r i e s  t h e women c a l l Medea a "woman f a t e d  for e v i l "  (1.  1272)  for  help  and h a r d -  hearted: 0 y o u r h e a r t m u s t h a v e b e e n made o f r o c k o r s t e e l , Y o u who c a n k i l l W i t h y o u r own h a n d t h e f r u i t o f y o u r own womb. (1. They c a n o n l y compare M e d e a ' s deed t o n e s s k i l l e d h e r c h i l d r e n and h e r s e l f . the root pathy that  o f much e v i l .  to Jason; t h e ways of  the c o n f l i c t of  The  that  of  Ino,  Woman's  chorus, however,  1279-1281) who i n a f i t  never  transfer  he i s p i t i e d i n h i s s o r r o w as i s M e d e a .  their  i s one o f  s y m p a t h y a n d a v e r s i o n t o w a r d Medea i s l e f t  Undoubtedly  though,  i t made a p o w e r f u l  sym-  thus  unresolved. this  we c a n n o t know f o r  t h e f e w p l a y s b y E u r i p i d e s w h i c h won a p r i z e ,  o n l y came t h i r d .  at  They c o n c l u d e  t h e g o d s a r e b e y o n d t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f man a n d  w r i t t e n b y a man a n d a c t e d b y m a l e p e r f o r m e r s ,  mad-  l o v e and j e a l o u s y a r e  How t h e f i f t h c e n t u r y A t h e n i a n m a l e a u d i e n c e r e a c t e d t o  It  of  sure.  although  impact,  play,  as  it it  143  s t i l l does today. and again.  I t i s a play which has been r e - i n t e r p r e t e d time  The story of a mother murdering her own c h i l d r e n seems to  have fascinated many w r i t e r s . However, i n none of the l a t e r plays are we l e f t w i t h such a dilemma of c o n t r a s t i n g emotions as i n E u r i p i d e s ' Medea.  No wonder then that we would dearly l i k e to f i n d some exten-  uating circumstances  f o r her, such as i n s a n i t y , d i v i n e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  or the f a c t that, i f Medea does not k i l l the c h i l d r e n , the Corinthians certainly w i l l .  But there i s no excuse.  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her a c t i o n s .  Medea claims and accepts  She knowingly committed e v i l and  full we,  l i k e the chorus, approved i t , at l e a s t i m p l i c i t l y through our sympathy f o r her.  Therein l i e s , no doubt, the unrivaled greatness of E u r i p i d e s '  Medea. I t i s therefore not too important to f i n d out what r e a l l y motivated Euripides to present us w i t h h i s v e r s i o n of the Jason-Medea story.  Was  i t j u s t a d e s i r e to shock and h o r r i f y ? Was he, as a s o c i a l  c r i t i c , t r y i n g to point out the unfairness of the Athenian marriage laws and of the general a t t i t u d e towards women and foreigners?  Maybe,  but i t c e r t a i n l y i s not the most important message of the p l a y , or i t would no longer hold such an appeal f o r a modern audience.  Is the  Medea merely a study of human passions, s e l f i s h n e s s and greed? t a i n l y these are a l l depicted i n the play.  Or was Euripides  to d e f l a t e the Greek heroic t a l e s by p u t t i n g overdimensional  Cer-  attempting figures  l i k e Medea or Jason i n a r e a l i s t i c human s e t t i n g and show what t h i s would do to them?  This i s again a p o s s i b i l i t y , as Euripides seems to  have done the same t h i n g to other heroes, such as Orestes, f o r instance.  144  There I s a t r a d i t i o n a l view t h a t E u r i p i d e s ' Medea i s a m i s o g y n i s t ' s a t t a c k on women i n g e n e r a l , which, however, seems to be an u n t e n a b l e argument.  F o r no matter how  e v i l Medea may  appear, what E u r i p i d e s  does t o J a s o n , the f e a r l e s s l e a d e r of the Argonauts, i s undoubtedly f a r more damning.  At l e a s t Medea's g r e a t n e s s , even i f i t i s i n c r i m e ,  i s u n q u e s t i o n a b l e , w h i l e Jason's fame and s t a t u r e as the hero o f the Argonauts has been reduced t o n o t h i n g . Whatever E u r i p i d e s ' r e a l m o t i v a t i o n and the cause of h i s f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h the Medea s t o r y may see—produced  have been, he has - as we  shall  a g r e a t e r and more e f f e c t i v e p l a y than h i s many s u c c e s s o r s .  O f t e n i n t r y i n g to c o r r e c t s o - c a l l e d f l a w s ' i n E u r i p i d e s ' p l a y , t h e s e l a t e r w r i t e r s have c o n s i d e r a b l y weakened the o v e r a l l impact o f t h e i r plays.  145  (2)  Seneca In a c e r t a i n sense, i t i s much e a s i e r to form an opinion about  Seneca's Medea than about E u r i p i d e s ' .  Although she displays great  emotional i n s t a b i l i t y , she i s not as ambiguous and as complex a f i g u r e as the Medea of Euripides.  F i r s t of a l l , one's f e e l i n g s never r e a l l y  become engaged, and no sympathy f o r her l o t i s e n l i s t e d .  Seneca's  Medea e x i s t s from beginning to end outside the human sphere.  She does  not confide her troubles or her p l a n s , and neither chorus nor audience are drawn i n enough to make them f e e l accomplices i n her deed.  This  distance between Medea and her surrounding i s brought out quite c l e a r l y by the a t t i t u d e of the chorus towards her. sympathy w i t h Medea or her l o t .  The chorus never express  She i s never regarded as a woman amongst  other women. Medea i s i s o l a t e d , by her o r i g i n and her behaviour as much as by the chorus' a t t i t u d e towards her, the stranger and the barbarian, and by t h e i r fear of her sorcery. They regard Medea as a curse and f e e l Jason i s completely j u s t i f i e d i n l e a v i n g her and marrying someone more suitable: Delivered from the wedlock of uncouth P h a s i s , . ••• schooled f e a r f u l l y and w i t h u n w i l l i n g hand to fondle the bosom of an incontinent mate, now, happy groom, take unto yourself an A e o l i a n maid; only now can you marry w i t h the blessings of the bride's k i n . Cp. 369) Even the nurse, who seems to be c l o s e s t to her, fears her more than she loves her. compassion.  But then Medea h e r s e l f never appeals f o r human sympathy and I t i s true she begs Creon f o r mercy and a repeal of her  e x i l e , but she does t h i s merely to gain time.  Medea i s so convinced  of the due claim she has on Jason and of the debt Greece owes her, that  146  she demands the return of her possession rather than compassionate sympathetic understanding of her s i t u a t i o n .  and  That the people of Corinth  do not share her conviction,,is made quite clear by Creon and the chorus. A l l , with perhaps the exception of Jason, view Medea as a frightening monster which cannot be removed from Corinthian s o i l too quickly. It must be stressed, however, that although Medea c e r t a i n l y receives very unsympathetic not e n t i r e l y u n j u s t i f i e d .  treatment by the chorus and Creon, this i s Already i n the prologue Medea threatens death  and destruction to Creon, h i s house and the whole c i t y .  She stresses  time and time again her supernatural powers and gloats over her crimes. Obviously, i t would be d i f f i c u l t for either chorus or audience to i d e n t i f y with such inhumanity and g l o r i f i c a t i o n of crime. c l e a r l y a monster from beyond the human.realm who  Medea i s  reaches the apex of  her criminal career with the murder of her children.  We can only watch  her self-induced progress from fury to fury with mounting horror but without getting involved i n her fate. As Medea never confides i n the chorus, they never have a chance to advise her.  The play therefore never evokes the f e e l i n g of personal  g u i l t for our acquiescence and lack of interference, which c e r t a i n l y plays a part i n the reaction to Euripides' play.  Although aSeneca c l e a r l y  states at what point Medea f i r s t decides to hurt Jason through t h e i r children, i t i s with a sense of helplessness that we must l e t this action engendered by a supernatural power take i t s course.  Added to that i s the  fact that Medea's emotions v a c i l l a t e so much that one can never c l e a r l y predict her next decision and whether she w i l l a c t u a l l y carry i t out.  147  Her h e s i t a t i o n j u s t before k i l l i n g the c h i l d r e n and the very f a c t that some time elapses between the f i r s t and the second murder, seem to point again to mental i n s t a b i l i t y rather than to a r e a l upsurge of mother-love.  I t seems to be c l e a r that Seneca does not intend to show  us a Medea torn between two conflictingf-passions, her desire f o r revenge and her love f o r her c h i l d r e n , who destroys h e r s e l f as w e l l as the c h i l d r e n by her crime, but a Medea who  i s t o t a l l y i n the sway of her  passions and has abandoned a l l reasoning powers: I am buffeted by a r i p t i d e , as whan rushing winds wage r u t h l e s s war and from both sides opposing waves l a s h the seas and the cornered surface seethes... (p. 392) Seneca's Medea has r e a l l y no choice, e i t h e r f o r good or f o r e v i l . KeitNeiftier di^cSe.neeai' sjeeja to have been p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t e d i n p o i n t i n g c  out s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e s i n the treatment of strangers and women, nor i n d e f l a t i n g the ancient myths by p o r t r a y i n g them i n a r e a l i s t i c s e t t i n g . Quite to the contrary, Medea never becomes r e a l but remains the sorceress and witch of the ancient myth.  But n e i t h e r must i t be assumed that  Seneca's only i n t e n t i o n i s to shock and h o r r i f y .  There, i s an obvious  moral purpose involved i n showing the d e s t r u c t i o n wrought by unbridled passions.  According to S t o i c concepts, Medea's passionate love was bound  to have as disastrous r e s u l t s as her hatred.  That the Medea seems to be  a showpiece d'emoEStrating the e v i l e f f e c t s of anger also seems confirmed when comparing the p o r t r a i t of anger contained i n h i s moral essay De I r a w i t h a d e s c r i p t i o n of Medea, such as the one given by the nurse: Her cheeks are h e c t i c , her breath a deep panting, she shouts, she floods her eyes w i t h a gush of t e a r s , she beams with ecstasy,  148  she passes through the gamut of every p a s s i o n . She i s f r u s t r a t e d , she t h r e a t e n s , she s e e t h e s , she complains, she groans. How w i l l h e r mind's weight v e e r , how w i l l h e r t h r e a t s be d i r e c t e d , where w i l l t h a t s u r g i n g wave break? Her f u r y s p i l l s over i t s bounds. (p. 377) Medea s h o u l d t h e r e f o r e be regarded as an a l l e g o r i c a l f i g u r e  depicting  the e v i l s and the madness o f e x c e s s i v e anger. Perhaps dangers to him.  Seneca a l s o i n t e n d e d to p o i n t out i n t h i s p l a y the  i n h e r e n t i n man's t r y i n g t o go beyond the n a t u r a l l i m i t s s e t When the Argonauts  they d i d conquer exploration.  s e t out on t h e i r v e n t u r e i n t o the unknown,  the ocean and open the way  f o r man's f u r t h e r and  wider  However the p r i c e p a i d f o r t h e success o f t h e i r quest  was  not o n l y the end o f the golden age of c o n t e n t , and the d e a t h o f the adv e n t u r e r s ; but the p r i z e i t s e l f , Greece  the Golden F l e e c e , was  t o g e t h e r w i t h i t s c u r s e , Medea.  brought back t o  Jason's b i t t e r r e s i g n a t i o n  d e f i a n t words a t the end o f the p l a y seem t o c o n f i r m t h a t man c a r r y the burden o f h i s l i f e ,  and  can o n l y  There i s no u l t i m a t e hope f o r humanity.  Jason thus seems t o have matured i n t o the example of a S t o i c  hero.  149  (3)  THE RENAISSANCE:  de Laperuse, Galladei and Dolce  The trend to dehumanize and to i s o l a t e Medea from her surroundings was started by Seneca and i s continued i n these Renaissance plays. Her l o t can never be compared to that of other women because she i s separated from them by her supernatural powers.  Even i f sympathy can be aroused  for her because ofvrthe wrongs she has suffered - as i n Dolce's play, for instance - there can be no i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Medea as a woman.  It i s  highly i r o n i c , therefore, that the Medea of de Laperuse, the most callous and inhumanr/bf the three, should proclaim herself an example for her troubled s i s t e r s to follow: Qui aura desormais de faux amant l e blasme, A l'exemple de toy se garde du danger Par qui i'apren mon sexe a se pouuoir vanger! (Act V, p. 76X In the course of these plays the chorus tend to lose t h e i r importance as v a l i d commentators or sounding-board f o r the action or opinions expressed.  I t becomes more and more d i f f i c u l t for an audience  to be guided by or r e l y on the chorus i n forming i t s opinion and to i d e n t i f y with them.  The audience must,therefore, pay more attention to  the interplay between, and the reactions of i n d i v i d u a l characters i n the plays. The chorus of de Laperuse do not seem to be able to make up their mind, bewailing once Medea's l o t and then again Jason's, when they are not indulging i n rather inane and i r r e l e v a n t comments. and consider her;a curse on Jason and Greece.  They fear Medea  I t would have been best  for a l l concerned i f Medea had never existed: Medee, trop heureuse Et hors de tous regrets, S i par mer fluctueuse N'eusse suiuy l e s Grecsj  150  Encore plus heureuse Si ton mal-heureux sort Ne t'eust f a i c t amoureuse De l'aucteur de ta mort! Encor plus fortunee S i , sans plus long seiour, Tu fusses morte et nee En vn et mesme iour! CAct I, p. 31) They ndg express some sympathy with Medea's l o t , but are quick to point out  that a l l her moaning and wailing i s not going to bring Jason back.  Although they agree that both Creon and Jason are i n the wrong, they do not approve of Medea's revenge.  The chorus also t r i e s to warn Creusa  about accepting g i f t s from the enemy but, at the end, they meekly bow to  fate.  A l l i n a l l , this chorus seem to advocate moderation i n a  s i t u a t i o n which i s too explosive for them to understand.  They are not  w i l l i n g to take a stand either way. Galladei's chorus are t o t a l l y prejudiced i n favour'of Jason and very v i n d i c t i v e towards Medea,  They are also i n c r e d i b l y curious and  absolutely avid to receive a l l the h o r r i b l e news f i r s t .  As a l l the action  i s reported, i t seems to be the chorus' main function to intercept messengers and coax them into divulging the news to them f i r s t .  Thus mes-  sengers to Creon and to Jason are delayed long enough to make their warnings f u t i l e . as a wife.  Creon i s advised by the oracle to give Creusa to Jason  Jason, although penniless and homeless, has the reputation  of a hero and c e r t a i n l y commands the respect of the Corinthians.  The  chorus, and even Jason's tutor, f u l l y support Creon's decision as a l l fear and abhor the e v i l witch Medea:  151  Quando questo nefando Monstro fara p a r t i t a Del nostro Regno? quando Uscira d i Corinto Questa peste cr,udele? (Act I I I , p. 43) They, l i k e Seneca's chorus, deplore the p r i c e they had to pay f o r the Golden Fleece: A' n o i , Argo porto l a pretiosa P e l l e de l'oro, a fair Grecia f e l i c e . Ma aggiungi a c i o , Medea D'ogni maligna & rea Malia sola inventrice, (0' merce indegna) che dolente & t r i s t o T i p e n t i r a i d i t a i dannoso acquisto. (Act I I , p. 28) Only the chorus suspect Medea's sudden change to humility which they find more frightening than her rage.  However, they c e r t a i n l y don't  help matters by continually delaying messengers who  carry v i t a l inform-  ation. ' At the end the chorus ask why the good and the bad had to be destroyed together: 0 c i e l perche consent! Ch'egualmente patisca II giusto e ' l peccatore? Perch'a morte condanni L'iniquo, & l'innocente? Perche un pietoso padre, Perch'una scelerata Madre, conduci & meni Ad uno istesso fine Miserabile & brut to-?  CAct.Vi p. 75) The only hope l e f t to man  i s i n the hereafter, i f monsters l i k e Medea  are allowed to give free r e i n to t h e i r v i o l e n t passions.  Galladei's  Medea c e r t a i n l y never asks for or receives any sympathy from anyone else i n the play - except from Jason and i t i s hard to conceive how an audience could f e e l anything but horror and revulsion for her. Dolce's chorus, after an i n i t i a l disapproval, turn out to be very  152  supportive of Medea, objecting only to the c h i l d murder.  Otherwise they  i d e n t i f y completely with Medea's revenge and even applaud her for i t . They seem to be blind to the consequences Medea.  of their cooperation with  Only at the end they are suddenly brought face to face with  the r e a l i z a t i o n of t h e i r share i n the g u i l t .  They seem to be taken i n by  Medea's f l a t t e r i n g comment that Corinth i s not worthy of such excellent and charitable ladies as they are.  The irony of that statement becomes  evident at the end of the play, when many innocent Corinthians have l o s t their l i v e s i n the conflagration caused by Medea's magic.  It i s true  that at f i r s t neither the chorus nor Medea's nurse ^gnaWery happy with her craving for revenge although they sympathize with her l o t , especially now that she i s a queen no longer.  Medea quite systematically sets out  to win the sympathy of the chorus and by her f l a t t e r y gradually succeeds i n evoking t h e i r compassion and even i n e n l i s t i n g t h e i r help.  Although  they know that Medea intends to k i l l Creon and Creusa they s t i l l  ex-  press very strong support: Stimate d'haver noi In ogni uostra uoglia E compagne e s o r e l l e . (Act I I , p. 16) They do intercede for the children though.  They can understand Medea's  wish to k i l l her r i v a l and enemy but they can never forgive an inhuman deed such as the murder of innocent children.  Medea t r i e s to explain  that they cannot understand how deeply she has been offended. point, however, the chorus start turning against her.  At this  Only when she l e t s  herself be convinced to spare the children and k i l l Jason instead, does the chorus again approve her.  At the end, r e a l i z i n g that they have not  153;:  prevented Medea, they r e v i l e her but also acknowledge their own g u i l t y silence: Quanto mal commettemmo A non haver scoperto Cio, c h ' e l l a i n n o i commise: Creonte, e l a f i g l i a ; E i f a n c i u l l i meschini, Hora sarebbon v i v i , E l l a portato havria degno f l a g e l l o Ne l a i s t e s s a cittade De l a sua crudeltade. CAct V, p. 38) Later they resign themselves to the fact that a f t e r a l l no man can foresee what the future w i l l bring.  These women of the chorus appear  to be as changeable and undecided as Medea herself. The portrayal of Creon becomes more interesting as the chorus loses i n status and r e l i a b i l i t y .  De Laperuse's Creon f r e e l y admits  Jason's share i n the g u i l t , but i s prepared to disregard i t . very i r o n i c i n h i s exchange with Medea.  Yet he does fear her, not  only as a threat to him, but also to the country. moment's hesitation to keep Medea's children.  He agrees without a  He i s suspicious of  Medea's motives and regards her as a hardened criminal. he grants her the day's delay despite himself. r e a l adversary Medea has to overcome.  He i s  Eventually  Creon i s thus the only  He regards her as a monster against  whom he, a mere mortal, stands no chance.  In this play, Creon seems to  be the most sympathetic of the main characters, although he i s not g u i l t less either.  His opinion would probably carry a great deal of weight  with an audience.  He seems j u s t i f i e d at least i n trying to free h i s  country from the e v i l Medea, even i f i t i s hard to understand why he should want Jason, about whom he has no i l l u s i o n s , f o r a son-in-law.  154  G a l l a d e i ' s Creon, on the other hand, i s depicted as a rather c r u e l tyrant who doggedly continues the wedding preparations even when a l l portents forecast e v i l .  He has sent a messenger to Delphi to consult  the o r a c l e again, but the e v i l ticdVi.ngs a r r i v e too l a t e to stop the catastrophe.  This Creon cannot be regarded as an innocent or blameless  v i c t i m of Medea's passion f o r revenge; he i s the one who  practically  coerced Jason i n t o l e a v i n g Medea. Dolce's Medea i s treated q u i t e d i f f e r e n t l y by Creon and by Aegeus. Creon recognizes that Medea i s worthy of b e t t e r treatment: Se, come s e i ne l'apparenza humana Fosse conforme a l e parole i l core, Non solo i n mia c i t t a luogo honorato T e r r e s t i ; ma v o r r e i , che f o s t i ancora Dopo Creusa l a p r i m i e r a Donna. CAct I I , p.  14)  But he f e a r s her^.as a sorceress and a threat to h i s throne and has, theref o r e , no a l t e r n a t i v e except to k i l l or at l e a s t banish her.  Aegeus i s  j u s t as aware of Medea's rank and s o c i a l p o s i t i o n , but does not consider her a threat.  For him she i s a valuable a l l y , and he greets her l i k e a  beloved s i s t e r or daughter.  He o f f e r s Medea asylum, but does not know  or care to know i f and How she w i l l revenge h e r s e l f .  That he i s sus-  p i c i o u s of perhaps being involved i n something unsavoury, might e x p l a i n why he i s so eager to leave Corinth immediately i n s p i t e of Creon's pressing i n v i t a t i o n to stay f o r the wedding f e s t i v i t i e s . Medea i s c e r t a i n l y able to arouse sympathy.  Dolce's  However i t must become  f a i r l y evident that she too, l i k e a l l the other characters i n the play, i s motivated s o l e l y by what i s u s e f u l to her.  L i k e Creon, Jason and  even Aegeus, Medea w i l l always prefer usefulness to&honesty.  155  A l l three Renaissance w r i t e r s —  perhaps G a l l a d e i more than the  other two - seem to wish to portray the supernatural.  Descriptions of  i n c a n t a t i o n s , s p e l l s , curses, premonitions and oracles abound.  This  stress on the supernatural however does reduce the t r a g i c aspect of the plays.  An e v i l witch cannot be considered a t r a g i c heroine.  I t appears f a i r l y obvious that G a l l a d e i ' s melodrama probably has no f u r t h e r motive than to shock and h o r r i f y .  The p l a y i s crowded  w i t h gory d e s c r i p t i o n s recounted i n minute d e t a i l .  There are so many  h o r r i b l e deaths and s u i c i d e s — even the p r i e s t e s s at Delphi k i l l s hers e l f instead of the s a c r i f i c i a l animal.  Furthermore a j a r r i n g note  i s introduced i n the middle of the p l a y when the two boys; Dindimo and Tersandro, pause i n Act IV, while d i s c u s s i n g t h e i r troubled f a m i l y l i f e , to p r a i s e P h i l i p of A u s t r i a and the C a t h o l i c r e l i g i o n imposed and enforced by him.  Perhaps G a l l a d e i was a f r a i d that P h i l i p of A u s t r i a  might take offence at the c r u e l t y and tyranny of Creon, king of Corinth. His attempt to outdo Seneca cannot be taken very s e r i o u s l y , however. Dolce, apart from h i s preoccupation w i t h power and rank and the master-servant  r e l a t i o n s h i p , seems to be the f i r s t w r i t e r since E u r i p i d e s ,  who again shows some concern f o r e x i s t i n g prejudices towards strangers and barbarians.  E s p e c i a l l y , Creon f e e l s very s t r o n g l y t h a t , only i f  separated from t h e i r mother, Medea's c h i l d r e n w i l l have a chance to grow up to be worthy sons of t h e i r f a t h e r .  In a d d i t i o n , the opinion i s ex-  pressed by a l l characters and throughout the play that the u s e f u l must always take precedence over the honest and the true. an a t t i t u d e can only be d i s a s t e r .  The r e s u l t of such  156  I f de Laperuse t r u l y held h i s Medea to be a representative of womanhood, be would appear to be the misogynist Euripides was not. (It i s p o s s i b l e that de Laperuse's death at the age of 24 apparently caused by s y p h i l i s , might have had some bearing on h i s a t t i t u d e towards women.) In any case, h i s Medea i s so inhuman that i t would be hard for anyone to i d e n t i f y w i t h her.  Aside from t h i s , one i s hard pressed  to trace anything other than a f a s c i n a t i o n with v i o l e n c e , crime and the  supernatural i n h i s version of the Medea-story. Although each of these w r i t e r s has touched on c e r t a i n aspects  and problems of the s t o r y which w i l l Be taken up and further developed by l a t e r w r i t e r s , n e i t h e r of these three plays can r e a l l y Be considered great tragedies or great plays.  In a l l three plays Medea has l o s t her  t r a g i c stature due to her inhumanity and extraordinary powers of w i t c h craft. The chorus can no longer Be regarded as a wise and good counsellor; they have Become p a r t i s a n , undecided and i n e f f e c t u a l and can therefore no longer Be regarded as a guide to audience r e a c t i o n .  At the same time,  Creon has emerged as a worthy adversary of Msfea, whether h i s p r o t r a y a l i s sympathetic or not.  Reasons of s t a t e appear f o r the f i r s t time as a  motivation f o r Jason's remarriage and Medea's Banishment.  And there i s  a strong preference given to the u s e f u l over the honest and j u s t , e s p e c i a l l y i n Dolce's play.  Hand i n hand w i t h t h i s goes the trend to give l e s s  importance to Jason's Broken oath.  P e r j u r y f o r reasons of expediency does  not n e c e s s a r i l y a f f e c t h i s heroic image.  157  (4)  17th Century:  Corneille and Longepierre  The chorus have disappeared i n Both of these plays and have been replaced by various confidents whose function i t i s to l i s t e n , give advice and comment on the action.  They are thus more of a  t h e a t r i c a l convenience than actual characters. In Corneille's play almost a l l the characters are g u i l t y i n some respect or other.  Medea's crime therefore i s monstroiuts only  i n i t s magnitude and ruthlessness.  The usual contrast between Tier ex-  traordinary evilness and the mere human f r a i l t y of the other characters does not e x i s t i n t h i s play.  Revenge i s on everybody's mind.  With t h e i r  l a s t words both Creon and Creusa ask Jason to avenge t h e i r death, a l though they do recognize that greed and vanity have made them g u i l t y . t o o . Their treatment of Aegeus, who himself favours revenge for h i s insulted honour by any available means, also b e l i e s t h e i r n o b i l i t y . Only Pollux, who as Jason's confident i s not r e a l l y a character as such, seems to be blameless. Longepierre does not present quite such a black picture of humanity as C o r n e i l l e . miseries.  I t i s fate or the heartless gods who are to blame f o r men's  Jason i s hopelessly infatuated with Creusa and - with the  exception of h i s love for h i s children — b l i n d to a l l except h i s desires. Creusa at f i r s t fights her love for Jason and f e e l s concern and p i t y for Medea's fate and that of the children. matters of state.  Creon i s mainly concerned with  He refuses to have Medea k i l l e d , but he agrees to  her e x i l e out of p o l i t i c a l necessity.  I t i s Medea's t o t a l i s o l a t i o n  and the threatened separation from her children which f i n a l l y lead her to k i l l them.  Love i s a very v i o l e n t and destructive force i n human  l i f e and can only lead to unhappiness.  Longepierre seems to underline  158  above a l l that happiness i s not man's l o t i n l i f e .  Only occasional  moments of joy are possible, and then they are hardly ever shared the beloved.  by  This idea i s probably best expressed by the dying Creusa  for whom Jason's presence i s both utter b l i s s and u t t e r torment. It i s obvious that both plays s t i l l show a great  preoccupation  with the supernatural, but there are fewer scenes of violence and horror than i n the Renaissance plays.  The c h i l d r e n are k i l l e d off-stage.  Creon and Creusa are consumed by an i n v i s i b l e f i r e which i n t e r n a l i z e s and i n a sense diminishes t h e i r torture compared to the former h o r r i f y i n g descriptions of t h e i r death.  There seems to be a d e f i n i t e change i n  taste. There i s also a renewed concern with the concept of barbarity, e s p e c i a l l y i n Longepierre's Medee. Usually i t i s Medea who a barbarian, e s p e c i a l l y by Creon who  i s cursed as  shows great prejudice against her:  Va, sors de mes Etats, sors barbare Etrangere. Abandonne Corinthe, et cours en d'antres l i e u x , Porter tes attentats et l e courroux des Dieux. D'un monstre t e l que t o i d e l i v r e mon Empire, Cesse d'infecter l ' a i r qu'en ces lieux on respire; De ton h o r r i b l e aspect ne s o u i l l e plus mes yeux; Et n'empoisonne plus l a lumiere des Cieux. (Act I I , p. 58) But Medea points out the Greek barbarity of separating a mother from her c h i l d r e n : Tu m'Stes mes Enfans; tu me r a v i s , barbare, Le seul bien qui pouvoit adoucir mon malheur. CAct I I , p.  67)  And before k i l l i n g the children Medea i s torn between the "barbarian p i t y " which would l e t them l i v e and the murder which turns her into a barbarian mother.  She has no choice hut to be barbarian.  p o s s i b i l i t y for happiness for Medea either.  There i s no  159  (5)  18th Century:  Lessing, Glover, Gotter and Klinger  In Lessing's play the contrast between the barbarian, u n p r i n c i pled passion and c i v i l i z e d Greek., reason i s translated into the opposition of the anti-bourgeois bohemian and the orderly bourgeois way:of l i f e . Lessing also creates the f i r s t Medea—play i n a modern s e t t i n g . Glover Glover's Medea i s not only absolved of g u i l t , she i s also the Medea who meets with most sympathy and compassion from those around her. She herself i s known to have shown compassion to doomed Greeks and s t i l l now shows a great deal of consideration for her entourage.  The play i s  unique i n that, even a f t e r the i n f a n t i c i d e , the others do not abhor but p i t y her.  The true v i l l a i n of Glover's play i s .Creon who, by his r  v i o l a t i o n of a l l that i s sacred and by his chauvinistic a t t i t u d e , arouses not only the wrath, of the gods — and e s p e c i a l l y of the goddesses - but also of the Corinthian people who r i s e against him.  A kind of melancholy  order i s reinstated i n Corinth a f t e r Creon's arrogance and presumption have been punished and Medea, the instrument of the gods and the granddaughter of the Sun, has been restored to~her own. Glover shows, e s p e c i a l l y i n the portrayal of Creon, a strong preoccupation with the dominating male and with prejudice against strangers. Creon, for instance, even takes i t upon himself to punish Medea for her disobedience  i n having l e f t her father's home.  Mention i s also made of  the i n j u s t i c e of the divorce laws giving a l l rights to the husband: How could'st thou lead this a l l - e x c e l l i n g princess From clime to clime, the associate iri thy t o i l s , To f a l l the v i c t i m i n a foreign land Of those unrighteous statutes, which appoint Imperious husbands masters of divorce;  160  How think, t h ' e s t a b l i s h ' d p r a c t i c e of the Greeks, Or a l l , which varnish'd p o l i c y might plead, Could e'er absolve thee from a solemn t i e With such uncommon o b l i g a t i o n s bound By those superior, those unwritten laws, Which honour whispers to the conscious heart? (Act I I , pp.24-25) Gotter Gotter's melodrama was interspersed by music and seems to have been a great success i n i t s day.  However, nothing new has been added  by Gotter to the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Medea-story. Klinger K l i n g e r ' s Medea i s hated and misunderstood by a l l but her c h i l d r e n . When humanity f i n a l l y r e j e c t s her and she regains her demonic majesty, her break w i t h mankind i s t e r r i H e .  K l i n g e r shows us a p o r t r a i t of a  semi-goddess whose greatness i s unbearable to the common man. K l i n g e r also touches some s o c i a l i s s u e s , such as the consequences of a marriage break-up, the p a t e r n a l i s t i c treatment of women and the fear and suspicion shown to the barbarian outsider by the masses.  That  t h i s r e f u s a l to accept otherness or s u p e r i o r i t y i n f e l l o w beings can hs:a>v e devastating consequences i s made abundantly c l e a r i n t h i s play. Medea also questions the r e a l value of the famous Greek c i v i l i z a t i o n when opposed to the simple f a i t h of the barbarian: Ruhig wiirden d i e machtigen, furchtbar erhabenen K r a f t e i n meinem f r e u n d l i c h e n Busen geschlummert haben, denn n i e hatte i c h unter meinem treuen a u f r i c h t i g e n Volke d i e F a l s c h h e i t , d i e L a s t e r geahndet, d i e i c h i n D i r , i n Deinem Volke entdeckte, die Du und Dein Volk gegen mieh begangen hast. Von.dem Augnblicke, da i c h Griechenlands Boden betrat,v e r f i n s t e r t e d i e schwarze Erfahrung an euch, den r e i n e n Geist der Enkelin der Sonne, und muss s i e s i c h e i n s t euch,als Tochter der f u r c h t baren Hekate zeigen, so zwlngt i h r s i e dazu. CAct I I I , p.  204)  161  (6)  19th Century:  G r i l l p a r z e r , Lucas and Legouve  In these plays the chorus has again been dispensed with and the attitude towards Medea v a r i e s . understood  Generally we f i n d her to be mis-  and ostracized, although she seems to make a greater e f f o r t  than ever before to adapt h e r s e l f to the Greek way of l i f e .  In a l l  three plays Creon seems to have turned into a reasonably just and f a i r r u l e r , yet, he regards Medea as a monster and a threat. Orlltlparzer In G r i l l p a r z e r ' s play Medea's notoriety precedes her actual appearance on stage.  Her reputation as a witch and the rumour of her  crimes arouse great fear amongst the Corinthians.  Creusa r e c o i l s on  f i r s t hearing hennam'e, but i s won over by Medea's genuine desire to please although her occasional bursts of passion s t i l l repel her.  Grill-  parzer's Creon seems to be a very sensible man who has only the best interests of h i s daughter and h i s country i n mind.  But he too shares  the general overbearing attitude of the Greeks towards the stranger and the barbarian.  Again there i s a strong emphasis on the barbarity of  the so-called c i v i l i z e d Greeks i n t h e i r treatment  of strangers. A l -  though inherently a reasonable man, Creon i s affected by the greed of mankind when he demands the Fleece from Medea and has i t sent to Creusa thus p r e c i p i t a t i n g the catastrophe himself. his  experience and uhfortunafeeiHy^reaMzesstoo  He, however, learns through late h i s own i n j u s t i c e  towards Medea and Jason's share of g u i l t . Although G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea i s humiliated and hurt, she attains a resigned and s o l i t a r y d i g n i t y at the end. or sympathizer.  She never has a r e a l friend  Gora, her nurse, who inspires the revenge with her tales  162  of Althea, despises her.while Medea t r i e s to adapt herself and denounces her when she f i n a l l y acts.  Creusa lacks i n experience and insight to  become the f r i e n d Medea seeks, and i t i s she who deals h e r " f i n a l l y the most crushing blow by estranging the c h i l d r e n from her too.  Throughout  the play Medea retains her humanity, which assures her the sympathy of the audience i n s p i t e of the enormity of her deed.  Also the horror of  the i n f a n t i c i d e seems to be mitigated and to come almost as an a n t i climax following on the children's betrayal of Medea.  There seems to be  no inner struggle between mother-love and desire for revenge.  The murder  appears to be the i n e v i t a b l e product of the s i t u a t i o n Medea finds herself in. was  The children were fated to die and for Medea (and G r i l l p a r z e r ) death a f t e r a l l not the worst thing that could happen to them. It seems to be f a i r l y clear that G r i l l p a r z e r was personally very  involved i n the t r i a n g l e s i t u a t i o n he portrayed i n h i s Medea. He appears to have recognized himself i n Jason, the way Jason recognized  himself i n  the mirror image held up by Medea: Entsetzliche! Was rasest du gen mich? Machst mir zu Wesen meiner Traume Schatten, HaHts^t mir mein Ich vor i n des deinen Spiegel Und r u f s t meine Gedanken wider mich? (p. 38) In Jason he castigated his own i n a b i l i t y to find happiness i n h i s r e l a t i o n ship with women.  In t h e i r union he portrayed his fear of the chains of  marriage and his b e l i e f that a l a s t i n g relationship between a man and a woman was impossible.  On a more general plane, the play also r e f l e c t s  G r i l l p a r z e r ' s conviction that man s t r i v e s i n vain for power and happiness. Lucas Lucas' Medea i s not such, an i s o l a t e d f i g u r e , nor does she seem  163  to be o v e r l y affected by her s i t u a t i o n . stays staunchly at her side. her regal bearing.  Throughout the play, her nurse  Creusa and her maidens are impressed by  I t i s o n l y her name which provokes a r e a c t i o n of  fear and horror because word of her crimes has preceded her.  Although  Creon regards her as a monster, he never doubts that Aegeus, who i s a f r i e n d and admirer of Medea's, w i l l o f f e r her h i s p r o t e c t i o n on her journey and a safe haven i n Athens.  The play's decided weakness seems  to stem from an attempt to incorporate too many divergent patterns of the Medea—story.  I t therefore l a c k s coherence and c r e d i b i l i t y .  Legouve Here again i s a v e r y s o l i t a r y and i s o l a t e d Medea.  The only  person to whom Medea can confide her t r o u b l e s , Creusa, turns out to be her r i v a l .  This Creusa i s more r e a l i s t i c and c e r t a i n l y has more i n s i g h t  than G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Creusa, however i t i s love that makes her g u i l t y too. Although Creon and Orpheus are at f i r s t on Medea's side and t r y to protect her against the enraged populace, Medea's threats and f i n a l revenge turn them against her too. I t i s f i n a l l y the threat of the enraged mob descending on Medea which d r i v e s her to the murder of her c h i l d r e n - f a r more an act of s e l f d e s t r u c t i o n than of revenge on Jason.  At the end of the p l a y Legouve's  Medea seems l i k e a trapped animal whose l a s t escape route has been cut off.  She k i l l s her young to save them from the attacker and i s poised  for the f i g h t unto death.  This Medea i s not triumphant a f t e r her deed,  but "alone, trembling and h o r r o r - s t r i c k e n " Cp. 34).  She had feared that  the c h i l d r e n would be her means of punishment, but she had never r e a l i z e d the nature and the extent of that punishment.  Both Medea and Jason have  164  been destroyed by t h e i r relationship which united them to the end i n mutual horror and g u i l t .  165  (7)  20th Century:  Attempt at Conclusion  The 20th century has produced the most divergent attitudes towards Medea so f a r .  Almost a l l the themes raised at one time or  another i n the past are incorporated and developed i n one of the plays. The Medea-portrayals themselves range from h o r r i f y i n g witch or semigoddess to the image of s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g womanhood. attitude towards l i f e and towards her surroundings d i f f e r e n t and set apart from ordinary women.  Yet whatever Medea's  may be, she i s always  The emphasis on her "other-  ness" i s stronger than i n any previous century:  In some plays her masculine  t r a i t s are stressed, i n others, her f a m i l i a r i t y with the unknown and mysterious forces of tire universe, her witchcraft or her divine o r i g i n . In six of the nine plays Medea i s of d i f f e r e n t colour and race, which adds r a c i a l discrimination to the discrimination against the stranger and barbarian.  Thus Medea's action i s seen as a desperate  response to  an i n i m i c a l environment,.and the g u i l t has been shifted from the i n d i v i d u a l onto society whose prejudices and i n j u s t i c e s are exposed, (a)  Before 1939  - Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson  Jahnn's Medea stands completely alone, understood and loved by no one, not even her children. Her i s o l a t i o n i s however to a great extent voluntary: Von Von Und Ich  meinem Zorn verstehst du n i c h t s . meinem L e i d effahrst du n i c h t s . deinen Untergang erkennst du nicht. aber sehe, sehe, sehe. Cp. 613)  Rejected love turns Medea into a monster of hatred who  repulses a l l l i f e ,  and i t i s this voluntary i s o l a t i o n which turns her to e v i l . l i k e Klinger's Medea when she  exclaims:  She sounds  166  In grauenhafter Einsamkeit steh i c h . • Und bose wird der Einsame. (p. 625) Even her servants who showed her at l e a s t a measure of l o y a l t y are badly recompensed i n the end: Zuriick b l e i b t harrend, was im Hause diente. Ihr w o l l t e i n Wort von mir. E i n S c h i c k s a l s o l l t i h r haben. Versinken s o i l mit euch b i s auf den Grund des Meeres und tausend K l a f t e r t i e f e r noch das Haus. (pp. 664-665)  But Jahnn also wanted to exemplify i n Medea the f a t e of woman who  sa-  c r i f i c e s her own youth and beauty to bear c h i l d r e n to her husband.  Her  strength i s sapped so that he may have sons to carry on h i s name. However, w i t h her l a s t orgy of hatred and revenge Medea removes h e r s e l f completely from the human plane.  L i k e the gods she r e j o i n s , she seems  to t h r i v e on human blood and she does not appear to have much i n common with ordinary women anymore.  The transformation from haggard wife to  revengeful goddess of d e s t r u c t i o n seems to be too abrupt to be f u l l y convincing. The Medea-figures  i n the other two plays are no longer of d i v i n e  o r i g i n and they arouse a great deal of sympathy.  Lenormand's Katha has  been uprooted from her n a t i v e s o i l and i s treated w i t h undeserved c a l lousness and c r u e l t y by her new compatriots.  Betrayed again and again,  she can see no other s o l u t i o n to her despair than death f o r the c h i l d r e n and h e r s e l f .  She i s as much the v i c t i m as the instrument of her revenge.  Oparre does not t r y to f i g h t her husband's c u l t u r e and standards as Katha does.  She i s a devout converted C h r i s t i a n and t r i e s her utmost to  adapt to the customs of the Salem p u r i t a n s . However, her every move i s  167  misinterpreted and, when even Nathaniel seems r e l i e v e d to see her leave, she too i s desperate i n her i s o l a t i o n .  She plans no revenge because  she does not blame her husband but only the townspeople who have pressured him i n t o forsaking her. In Anderson's p l a y the noble barbarian princess stands i n strong contrast to the narrow-minded, cold-hearted and m a t e r i a l i s t i c McQueston f a m i l y and the Salem puritans.  With, only one exception, Oparre and her  c h i l d r e n are treated l i k e unclean animals or incarnations of the d e v i l . The darker colour of Oparre's s k i n makes her no b e t t e r than a slave i n the eyes of the people of Salem.  This contrast between the "barbarian"  and the " c i v i l i z e d " leads to a strong condemnation of f a l s e C h r i s t i a n i t y . Under the cloak of r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e often hides a p i t i l e s s c r u e l t y u s u a l l y a t t r i b u t e d to barbarian heathens.  By denouncing society's hypo-  c r i s y , Anderson has added a new note of s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m .  Already i n  Lenormand's p l a y much of the blame f o r the catastrophe seems to be l a i d on the a t t i t u d e of the others towards Katha. throughout the play.  R a c i a l prejudice i s rank  De Mezzano himself seems to have l i t t l e regard f o r  the people whose leader he was f o r eight years, a fact of which the princess i s w e l l aware. Mon pere et mon f r e r e , a cause de l e u r couleur, n'etaient meme pas des hommes, a tes yeux. "Un sauvage de p l u s ou de moins, qu'est-ce que ca peut f a i r e ? " J ' a i entendu l a phrase. (p. 80) I t i s an a t t i t u d e not unknown to contemporary s o c i e t y .  For a l l the  whites these yellow barbarians are l i t t l e more.than animals to be tamed and e x p l o i t e d . Even De Mezzano's c h i l d r e n are regarded as l i t t l e t r a i n e d monkeys whom s o c i e t y i s not yet ready to accept as human beings.  168  Lenormand stresses above a l l the problems of the mixed marriage and of r a c i a l l y mixed children, while Anderson points an accusing finger at us a l l by s h i f t i n g the g u i l t to the puritans of Salem and showing us how slow prejudices are to d i e . Although Jahnn was the f i r s t to raise the colour problem, he does not develop i t f u l l y .  Medea, being of divine o r i g i n and endowed with  magic powers, i s not as affected by r a c i a l discrimination as the Medeafigures of the other two plays.  Medea's children are even of god-like  appearance because Jahnn seems to have seen i n the mixed race hope f o r a p o s i t i v e development of humanity.  Yet these children of mixed blood are  doomed as those i n Lenormand's and Anderson's plays. Lenormand also depicts the crass arrogance of the white race i n attempting to bring the benefits of progress to these backward nations. There i s a warning note sounded throughout the play that perhaps one day the exploited w i l l turn on t h e i r "benefactors": Craignez l e s c e r v e l l e s sauvages gonflees de vos inventions. Craignezijh'iAsie'cruelle en vetements de t r a v a i l . S i vous f a i t e s d ' e l l e un enfer p a r e i l au votre, i l en s o r t i r a des demons qui repandront vos poisons sur l a t e r r e . Et vous serez leurs premieres victimes. (p. 123) As already Seneca warned, the £rlte<a country may have to pay f o r the riches brought back by i t s explorers may be too great.  Usefulness and the pros-  pect of p o l i t i c a l and economic gain again tend to overcome honesty, reason and ultimately j u s t i c e . While Lenormand and _Anderson seem to show increased s o c i a l awareness and tend to s h i f t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y from the i n d i v i d u a l onto society, Jahnn s t i l l stresses i n d i v i d u a l g u i l t .  Jason not only betrays Medea  169  threefold but also each one of h i s sons.  Creusa, too, turns t r a i t o r  i n p r e f e r r i n g Jason to h i s son. Furthermore the oldest boy betrays the love of the younger one a f t e r h i s meeting w i t h Creusa. A l l of Jahnn's characters also show a tremendous need f o r love regardless of the consequences.The younger boy exclaims: "Du d a r f s t mich toten, wenn du mich nur l i e b s t . "  (p. 629)  Jahnn's E x p r e s s i o n i s t p l a y has many s i m i l a r i t i e s w i t h K l i n g e r ' s jafeuiEm und Dra-iggMedea.  I n both plays Medea attempts to become human f o r  love of Jason and f a i l s to keep h i s love.  Her break w i t h humanity i s  appcalyptic and seems to emphasize that a union between mere man and a supernatural being i s unnatural and doomed to f a i l . Jahnn f u r t h e r stresses man's quest f o r immortality:  as symbolized by the ..Golden Fleece:  can be staved o f f temporarily but w i l l always win i n the end..  death  Jahnn's  obsession with pan-sexualism, i n c e s t and brother—love, however, puts a s t r a i n on the Medea m a t e r i a l .  17Q  (b)  After 1945  - J e f f e r s , Ariouilh, Csokor, Alvaro, Braiin, Magnuson  I t i s d i f f i c u l t to find some common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n the attitude towards Medea i n the plays written a f t e r 1945.  A l l the writers  recasting the theme must i n i t i a l l y have been attracted by the t r a - , d i t i o n a l story.  They must have been w i l l i n g to work within a given  frame and use a set configuration of characters.  In other words,  where there i s a Medea, there always must be a Jason, a betrayal f o l lowed by revenge and children fated to die by t h e i r mother's hand. However, the i n e v i t a b i l i t y and c e r t a i n t y of the story's outcome has not led to a unity i n conception or i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the material. On the contrary, t h i s given structure has i n some cases been stretched to the breaking point or again i t has been use as a convenient dramatic vehicle.  In  i s completely story.  AnouiOh's Medee*, for instance, the murder of the children unmoflivated;  i t merely forms part of the t r a d i t i o n a l  At the centre of this play i s instead the relationship between  Jason and Medea, their disgust with each other and their i n a b i l i t y to break free from each other. This b a s i c a l l y rather ordinary story of a man between two women and of the rejected woman's revenge seems thus to be capable of being treated with i n f i n i t e v a r i e t y .  "^The story i s based on a fundamental  truth of human r e l a t i o n s : love does not have the same meaning to a  man  and to a woman.  the  The woman i s seen as the preserver of the home and  past, for whom love means everything and who long as her love i s reciprocated.  i s unswervingly l o y a l as  The absoluteness  of her love i s carf  ried over into her revenge, when her love i s rejected.  For the man  love  171  i s adventure and conquest; he i s always s t r i v i n g towards new horizons and new experiences.  He i s driven to explore the unknown and the un-  c e r t a i n , i n other words, the future.  Wife and c h i l d r e n become a  burdensome reminder of a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y he no longer recognizes.  They  are shackling him to a past he r e j e c t s . In s p i t e of t h i s set pattern underlying a l l of the Medea-plays some s i g n i f i c a n t differences become apparent i n a comparison of the Euripidean Medea and Jason w i t h t h e i r  20th  century counterparts.  Some  of these changes are q u i t e s u b t l e , some have occurred gradually during the course of the centuries while others again are rather s t a r t l i n g and appear to stand i n d i r e c t contrast to the o r i g i n a l . One of the more fundamental changes which has occurred through the years i s due to the f a c t that l e s s and l e s s importance has been a t tached to the fact that Jason broke h i s oath to Medea.  Condemnation of  Jason i s therefore u s u a l l y based on other grounds, such as callousness, egotism, ambition, opportunism and sexual i n f i d e l i t y .  In other words,  t r a i t s which were already present i n E u r i p i d e s ' Jason but which only added to h i s b a s i c g u i l t of treason and p e r j u r y have now become the main reason f o r h i s punishment.  Often also Jason may appear as a p e r f e c t l y reasonable  man. who i s above reproach, while Medea's rage i s out of a l l proportion or completely unfounded.  Most often though the  20th  century view seems  ttaoitbJeisJra'sjoJns'csi s f a i l i n g s were inherent i n h i s nature so that h i s ?  punishment, f o r a f a u l t he could not help but commit, must appear exc e s s i v e l y harsh. As Jason's oath loses i n importance so does Medea's sense of injured honour.  More and more her revenge appears to be caused by her  172  excessive possessiveness and jealousy; aspects of a crime passionnel rival.  Medea's crime gains a l l the  the rejected wife takes revenge on her  This change i n the underlying cause of Medea's revenge also  brings about a change i n the nature of the crime i t s e l f , and as a r u l e the motives leading to the murder of Creusa are d i f f e r e n t from those leading to the murder of the c h i l d r e n . Medea's crime has thus become two separate acts. p l a y these two deeds were complimentary and inseparable.  I n Euripides For h i s Medea,  neither deed was complete w i t h i n i t s e l f but only together w i t h the other c o n s t i t u t e d " p e r f e c t i o n i n revenge."  There i s another reason why  Medea's crime has become two separate a c t s . lessness i s tantamount to a l i v i n g death.  For E u r i p i d e s ' Jason c h i l d A l l h i s l i f e and h i s achieve-  ments become f u t i l e without c h i l d r e n to c a r r y h i s name and t e l l of h i s glory.  This importance of c h i l d r e n f o r a man i s further stressed i n  Medea's d i s c u s s i o n w i t h Aegeus, who w i l l go to any length i n order to have progeny.  Medea's revenge i s thus incomplete unless Jason loses  not only h i s c h i l d r e n but also the mother of h i s future c h i l d r e n .  Creusa,  therefore, presents a threat to Medea not merely because she i s a r i v a l for Jason's love but a l s o because she i s the prospective mother of h i s future c h i l d r e n .  I n the 20th century, c h i l d r e n are g e n e r a l l y f a r l e s s  v i t a l to a man's l i f e and, although Jason may grieve over t h e i r death, he i s not as completely and u t t e r l y destroyed as h i s Euripidean precursor. Contemporary w r i t e r s have therefore been forced to f i n d other reasons f o r Medea's child-murder. culpate her.  Often these explanations of her deed tend to ex-  Necessity, love, a desire to protect or save, or delusion  173  and i n s a n i t y , a l l become reasons leading to the i n f a n t i c i d e .  G u i l t no  longer seems to r e s t on Medea e i t h e r . In these post-Freudian plays g u i l t i s often explained away as far as both Jason's and Medea's actions are concerned.  We are shown  how one x-.action inexorably leads to another u n t i l Jason's b e t r a y a l and Medea's murders are no longer deeds f o r which they are p e r s o n a l l y r e sponsible but merely products of the s i t u a t i o n i n which they have become entangled.  In most of these recent p l a y s , Medea and Jason - the couple -  are doomed from the s t a r t and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p can only end i n a catastrophe. This l i f t i n g of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y from the protagonists brings about one of the most fundamental changes i n the s t r u c t u r e of the p l a y : v i c t o r y has become synonymous w i t h defeat.  The triumphant  exultation,  experienced by the Euripideah or by the Senecan Medea, i s no longer p o s s i b l e f o r the Medeas of the 20th century.  Medea, l i k e Jason, has  become a v i c t i m . There are f u r t h e r changes i n the p o r t r a y a l of other characters i n these 20th century p l a y s .  I t has been noted already that Creusa has  s t e a d i l y gained i n importance during the years. as a f o i l and counterpart to Medea.  In many plays she serves  Often she i s the only one to show  some understanding of Medea, however, a f r i e n d s h i p between the two women i s prevented by t h e i r love f o r the same man.  Creusa's r i s e i n importance  seems to be d i r e c t l y l i n k e d to the change i n motivation from i n j u r e d honour to jealousy. Creon, who at times has been portrayed as an o u t r i g h t v i l l a i n or a  174  crafty p o l i t i c i a n , has become a concerned and capable statesman i n many of these most recent plays. peace.  He i s seen as a guardian of j u s t i c e and  Often he may f e e l sympathy and compassion for Medea but, since  she poses a threat to the welfare of h i s people, he must place the good of the state above h i s personal f e e l i n g s .  Characteristics of Euripides'  Aegeus seem thus to have been incorporated into the 20th century Creon. The role of Aegeus, i f he i s introduced at a l l , appears to be rather vague and dubious i n most of the modern plays. The chorus, who has gradually l o s t i n importance since Euripides' Medea and who has disappeared  completely from the 19th century plays,  for instance, i s reintroduced i n the 20th century.  This i s no doubt due  to the lack of concern with realism i n modern theatre.  But the chorus  does not regain the p o s i t i o n they held i n the Greek theatre.  They seem  to serve p r i m a r i l y as a group of commentators who are u s u a l l y very partisan and biased either for or against Medea. One of the most s t r i k i n g features common to almost a l l of these plays i s the increase i n violence and b r u t a l i t y .  Already Euripides'  Medea contains a large measure of gruesome d e t a i l which i s , however, made bearable by the general tone of the play and the stature of Medea herself.  With few exceptions, the 20th century writers exhibit a gloating  fascination with c r u e l t y and b e s t i a l i t y , often expressed  i n strong and  revolting language, which does not seem to have a place i n tragedy. i s a violence and savagery unequaled since the Renaissance.  It  Violence seems  to be increasing i n our d a i l y l i v e s and to have become a sign of our times. Like the present, the Renaissance was a time of t r a n s i t i o n and of great  175  upheavals i n men's l i v e s and t h i n k i n g .  This might be one explanation f o r  the s i m i l a r preoccupation w i t h violence i n both of these periods. Through the years many s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l problems have been exposed i n various Medea-plays.  The most important of these i s the  theme of the stranger and the o p p o s i t i o n of the barbarian to the c i v i l i z e d person.  This theme has been an important part of the Medea-  story since the days of E u r i p i d e s .  I n the 20th century Medea's "other-  ness" has o f t e n been further emphasized by p o r t r a y i n g her as a woman of d i f f e r e n t race or colour.  I n the most recent p l a y s j however, the  emphasis on s o c i a l i s s u e s appears t o have diminished s l i g h t l y , arid i n t e r e s t i s focused mainly on the i n t r i c a c i e s of human r e l a t i o n s i n general and e s p e c i a l l y on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between men and women. I t has been found then that some of the major themes of E u r i p i d e s ' Medea are s t i l l of v i t a l i n t e r e s t today.  Moreover, the  Medea-story has proved to be r i c h enough to serve as an i n s p i r a t i o n or a dramatic v e h i c l e f o r new themes and concerns which were unknown i n E u r i p i d e s ' time.  176  VI. (1)  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Primary Works - Medea Plays  Alvaro, Corrado.  Lunga notte d i Medea.  Milano:  Bompiani, 1966.  ' . "The Long Night of Medea" trans. E. Fisher Friedman Plays f o r a New Theatre. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1966. Anderson, Maxwell. 1936. Anouilh, Jean.  The Wingless Victory.  Medee.  Braun, Mattias.  Paris:  Medea.  Washington:  Anderson House,  La Table Ronde, 1947.  Frankfurt am Main:  S. Fischer Verlag, 1959.  Corneille, P i e r r e . "Medee"Theatre complet, TomesPremier. Editions Gamier Freres, 1971.  Paris:  Csokor, Franz Theodor. Medea p o s t b e l l i c a , unverkaufliches Manuskript. Wien: Thomas Sessler Verlag. Dolce, Lodovico.  La Medea.  Vinegia:  Gabriel G i o l i t o de F e r r a r i , 1560.  Euripides. "Medea" trans. Rex Warner Euripides: The Complete Greek Tragedies, ed. by David Grene-jand Richmond Lattimore. New York: Washington Square Press, 1971.*) "Medea" trans. P h i l i p Vellacott Medea and Other Plays. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1968. The Medea trans. Gilbert Murray.  London:  Unwin Brothers  Limited, 1965. Galladei, Maffeo. Glover, Richard.  Medea. Medea.  Venetia: London:  Giovan G r i f f i o , 1558. H. Woodfall, 1790.  Gotter, F r i e d r i c h Wilhelm. Medea. Gotha: Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, 1775. G r i l l p a r z e r , Franz. "Medea" Franz G r i l l p a r z e r : Medea,ed. Marie Luise Kaschnitz. Frankfurt/M: U l l s t e i n Biitecner, 1966. Jahnn,Hans Henny. "Medea" Dramen I. Frankfurt am Main: Verlagsanstalt, 1963. J e f f e r s , Robinson. Medea. r a t i o n , 1970.  New York:  Europaische  New Directions Publishing Corpo-  177  Klinger, F r i e d r i c h Maximilian. "Medea i n Korinth" Werke, Zweyter Band, Theater Zweyter T e i l . L e i p z i g : Verlag von Gerhard Fleischer, 1832. Laperuse, J . de. "Medee" Le Tresor des pieces angoumoisines, inedites ou rares, Tome I I . Angouleme: Societe Archeologique et Historique de l a Charente, 1866. Legouve, Ernest. Medea trans. Thomas Williams from the I t a l i a n version of Joseph Montanelli. New York: John A. Gray & Green, 1867. Lenormand, H.-R. "Asie" Theatre Complet, Tome IX. Michel, Editeur, 1938.  Paris:  Albin  Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, "Miss Sara Sampson" Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Miss Sara Sampson, E i n Biirgerliches Trauerspiel by Karl E i b l . Frankfurt am Main: Athenaeum Verlag, 1971. Longepierre, Hilaire-Bernard de Requeleyne, baron de. Editions A.-G. Nizet, 1967. Lucas, Hippolyte.  Medee.  Paris:  Medee.  Paris:  Michel Levy Freres, 1855.  Magnuson, Jim. "African Medea" New American Plays, v o l . 4, ed. William M. Hoffman. New York: H i l l & Wang, 1971. Seneca, "Medea" trans. Moses Hadas, Roman Drama. Indianapolis: The Library of L i b e r a l A r t s , The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1965 "Medea" Seneca, Samtliche Tragodien, (ibers. & e r l . v. Theodor Thomann, Band I. Zurich: Artemis-Verlag, 1961. "Medea" Seneca's Tragedies, trans. Frank Justus M i l l e r , v o l . The Loeb C l a s s i c a l Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960. "Medea" An Anthology of Roman Drama trans. E l l a Isabel Harris New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960. A l l quotes used i n this paper are taken from this edition as i t was the most recent and most accurate t r a n s l a t i o n available i n the English language.  178  (2)  Secondary Works - Comparative Studies  Block, Achim. Medea-Dramen der W e l t l i t e r a t u r .  Diss.  Frenzel, Elisabeth. Stoffe der W e l t l i t e r a t u r . Verlag, 1963, p. 420.  Stuttgart:  F r i e d r i c h , Wolf-Hartmut. 1968, p. 177.  GSttingen, 1957. A l f r e d Kroner  "Medeas Rache" Wege der Forschung, LXXXIX,  F r i t z , Kurt von. "Die Entwicklung der Iason-Medeasage und die Medea des Euripides" Antike und moderne Tragodie. B e r l i n : Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1962, p. 332. Hamburger, Kate. "Medea" Von Sophokles zu Sartre, Griechische Dramenfiguren antik und modern. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1962, p. 161. Lebel, M. "De l a Medee d'Euripide aux Medees d'Anouilh et de J e f f e r s " Phoenix, X, 1956, p. 139. McCracken, George. "Medea i n Modern Dress" 1937-38, p. 38. Mead, Louise M.  The C l a s s i c a l Journal, 33,  "A Study i n the 'Medea'" Greece and Rome, 12, 1943, p. 15.  Medea, Theater der Jahrhunderte. Ed'In^eafehimT^Schondorfif:ifkc Munchen: LangenMuller Verlag, 1963. Sanderson, James L. Medea: Myth and Dramatic Form. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1967.  179  (3)  Other Secondary Works  Bailey, Mabel D r i s c o l l . Maxwell Anderson, The Prophet as Playwright. London and New York: Abelard-Schuman Limited, 1959. Bishop, J . David. "The Choral Odes of Seneca's Medea" Journal, 60, 1965, p. 313. Burnett, Anne. "Medea and the Tragedy of Revenge" LXVIII, 1973, p. 1.  The C l a s s i c a l  C l a s s i c a l Philology,  Buttrey, T.V. "Accident and Design i n Euripides' Medea" Journal of Philology, LXXIX, 1958, p. 1.  American  Clark, Barrett H. Maxwell Anderson, The Man and His Plays. Kraus Reprint Co., 1970. Conacher, D.J. Euripidean Drama: Myth, Theme and Structure. University of Toronto Press, 1967. D i l l e r , Hans. OuuoC S'e xoetcrcrujv p. 267.  TOJV  New York:  Toronto:  e]acov gptAe.uuaT<i>v Hermes, XCIV, 1966 •  Dunkle, J . Roger. "The Aegeus Episode and the Theme of Euripides' Medea" TAPA, C, 1969, p. 97. Ebener, D i e t r i c h . "Zum Motiv des Kindermordes i n der Medeia" Museum, 104, 1961, p. 213.  Rheinisches  Erbse, Hartmut. "Ueber die Aigeus^szene der euripideischen 'Medea'" Wiener Studien, LXXIX, 1966, p. 120. Euripide, Entretiens sur l ' a n t i q u i t e classique, Tome VI. Geneve, 1958.  Vandoeuvres-  Euripides. Herausgeg. y. Ernst-Richard Schwinge. Wege der Forschung, Band LXXXIX. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968. Euripides, A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. E r i c h Segal. C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968. Evans, Elizabeth C. "A Stoic Aspect of Senecan Drama: TAPA, 81, 1950, p. 169.  Englewood  Portraiture"  Garton, Charles. "The Background to Character Portrayal i n Seneca" C l a s s i c a l Philology, LIV, 1959, p. 1. Henn, T.R.  The Harvest of Tragedy.  2nd ed.  London:  Methuen Co. Ltd., 1966.  180  Henry, Denis, and Walker, B. "Loss, of Identity: Medea Superest? A Study i n Seneca's Medea" C l a s s i c a l Philology, LXI, 1966, p. 169. Hering, Christoph. - F r i e d r i c h Maximilian Klinger, Per Weltmann a l s Dichter. B e r l i n : Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1966. Herrington, C.J. Hohl, Siegmar.  "Senecan Tragedy"  Arion, 5, 1966, p. 422.  Dag Medea-Drama von Hans Henny Jahnn, Diss. Miinchen,  1966.  Hubert, J.D. "Une Tragedie de l a s e n s i b i l i t e , La Medee de Longepierre" Romanische Forschungen, LXIX, 1957, p. 28. Hurst, Andre.  "Le Char du s o l e i l "  H i s t o r i a , 20, 1971, p. 303.  Jonkers, E.J. "Mag men van slechten mensen giften aannemen?" XL, 1968, p. 9.  Hermeneus,  Kaschnitz, Marie Luise. Franz G r i l l p a r z e r : Medea, Dichtung und Wirklichkeit. Frankfurt/M': Verlag U l l s t e i n , 1966. Kerenyi, C.  The Heroes of the Greeks.  London:  Thames and Hudson, 1959.  Kullmann, Wolfgang. "Medeas Entwicklung b e i Seneca" Forschungen zur romischen L i t e r a t u r , F e s t s c h r i f t Karl Biichner. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1970. Lattimore, Richmond. Story Patterns i n Greek Tragedy. Athlone Press, 1964. Lesky, Albin. 1958.  Die griechische Tragodie.  Stuttgart:  Die tragische Dichtung der Hellenen. & Ruprecht, 1972.  London:  The  Alfred Kroner Verlag, Gottingen:  Vandenhoeck  "Zur Prohlematik des Psychologischen i n der Tragodie des Euripides" Gymnasium, 67, 1960, p. 10. The L i v i n g Heritage of Greek Antiquity/X'heritage vivant de l ' a n t i q u i t e grecque. La Haye: Mouton & Co., 1967. Lucas, D.W. 1959.  The Greek Tragic Poets,  rev. ed.  Marti, Berthe M. "Seneca's Tragedies: 76, 1945, p. 216.  A New  London:  Cohen & West,  Interpretation"  "The Prototypes of Seneca's Tragedies" Philology, XLII, 1947, p. 1.  TAPA,  Classical  181  Maurach, Gregor. "Jason und Medea b e i >Seneca" XII, 1966, p. 125.  Aritike und Abendland,  Maurens, Jacques. La Tragedie sans tragiqne, l e neo-stoicisme dans l'oeuvre de P i e r r e C o r n e i l l e . P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Armand C o l i n , 1966. Meissner, Bernhard. p. 155.  "Euripides Medea 1236-1250"  Hermes, XLVI, 1968,  Musurillo, Herbert. "Euripides' Medea: A Reconsideration" Journal of Philology, 87, 1966, p. 52.  American  Owen, William H. "Commonplace and Dramatic Symbol i n Seneca's Tragedies" TAPA, XCIX, 1968, p. 291. Palmer, Robert B. "An Apology f o r Jason: A Study of Euripides' Medea" The C l a s s i c a l Journal, 53, 1957, p. 49. P o l i t z e r , Heinz. Franz G r i l l p a r z e r . Zurich: Verlag F r i t z Molden, 1972.  Wien, Munchen»  Pratt, Norman T. J r . p. 1.  "The Stoic Base of Senecan Drama"  Reckford, Kenneth 1-2.  "Medea's F i r s t E x i t "  Rees, B.R. "English Seneca: p. 119.  A Preamble"  Zurich:  TAPA, 79, 1948,  TAP A, XCIX, 1968, p. 329. Greece and Rome, 16, 1969,  Regenbogen, Otto. "Schmerz und Tod i n den Tragb'dien Senecas" Kleine Schriften. Munchen: C H . Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1961. Rohdich, Hermann. Die Euripideische Tragodie, Untersuchungen zu ihrer Tragik. Heidelberg: Carl Winter, Universitatverlag, 1968. Roman Drama. Ed. T.A. Dorey & Donald R. Dudley. Kegan Paul, 1965. Schlesinger, Eilhard. p. 26.  "Zu Euripides' Medea"  London:  Routledge &  Hermes,, XCIV, 1966,  Seidler, Herbert. "Das Goldene V l i e s s " G r i l l p a r z e r Forum Forchtens t e i n . Wien und Miinchen: Oesterreichischer Bundesverlag, 1966, p. 64. Seneca. Moral Essays trans. University Press, 1958.  John W. Basone.  London:  Harvard  182  Senecas Tragodien. Herausgeg . v. Eckard Lefevre. Wege der Forschung, CCCX, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1972. Smoljan, Olga. F r i e d r i c h Maximilian Klinger, Leben und Werk. Arion Verlag, 1962. S n e l l , Bruno. 1955.  Die Entdeckung des Geistes.  Hamburg:  Weimar:  Claassen Verlag,  Scenes from Greek Drama. Berkely and Los Angeles: v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1964. Sprengler, Joseph. G r i l l p a r z e r der Tragiker der Schuld. Alfons Burger Verlag, 1947.  Uni-  Stuttgart:  Stegmann, Andre. "La Medee de C o r n e i l l e " Les Tragedies de Seneque et l e theatre de l a Renaissance, reunies par Jean Jacquot. P a r i s : Editions du Centre National de l a Recherche S c i e n t i f i q u e , 1964. Steidle, Wolf. "Bemerkungen zu Senecas Tragodien" 1944, p. 250. Studien zum antiken Drama.  Philologus, 96,  Miinchen:  Wilhelm Fink Verlag,  1968. S t i e f e l , Rudolf. 1959.  G r i l l p a r z e r s "Goldenes V l i e s s " .  Bern:  Francke Verlag,  Strohm, Hans. "Euripides, Interpretationen zur dramatischen Form" Zetemata, 15j 1957. Le Theatre tragique, reunies par Jean Jacquot. P a r i s : Editions du Centre National de l a Recherche S c i e n t i f i q u e , 1970. Tobin, Ronald W. "Tragedy and Catastrophe i n Seneca's Theater" C l a s s i c a l Journal, 62, 1966-67, p. 64.  The  Wolf-Cirian, Francis. G r i l l p a r z e r s Frauengestalten. Stuttgart & B e r l i n : J.G. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachfolger, 1908. Wolffheim, Hans. Hans Henny Jahnn, Der Tragiker der Schopfung. furt am Main: Europaische Verlagsanstalt, 1966.  Frank-  Zempel, Heinrich. Erlebnisgehalt und Ideelle Zeitverbundenheit i n Fr. M. Klingers Medeadramen. Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1929.  VII (1)  APPENDIX  MEDEA-ELAYS LISTED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER  AUTHOR  TITLE  DATE  Euripides  Medea  431 B.C.  .Seneca  Medea  ca. 55 A  de Laperuse  Medee  1553  Galladei  Medea  1558  Dolce  La Medea  1560  Corneille  Medee  1635  Longepierre  Medee  1694  Lessing  Miss Sara Sampson  1755  Glover  Medea  1761  Gotter  Medea  1775  Klinger  Medea i n Korinth  1786  Grillparzer  Medea  1821  Lucas  Medee  1855  Legouve  Medea  1870  Jahnn  Medea  1920  Lenormand  Asie  1931  Anderson  The Wingless Victory  1936  Jeffers  Medea  1946  Anouilh  Medee  1946  Csokor  Medea p o s t b e l l i c a  1947  Alvaro  La lunga notte d i Medea  1949  Braun  Medea  1958  Magnuson  African Medea  1971  184  (2)  SUMMARIES OF THE LAST SIX PLAYS  J e f f e r s , Medea (1946) This play follows Euripides' Medea quite closely with only few modifications-  Medea i s , however, A s i a t i c and a witch, but not an e v i l  one at f i r s t .  No great interest i s placed i n the problem of r a c i a l d i s -  crimination as such.  The women of the chorus are very partisan i n their  support of Medea u n t i l she commits her crime, at which point they turn from her.  Creon banishes Medea and her children although he p i t i e s her  and admits that she has just cause for grievance.  I t i s Medea's nurse  who brings Aegeus to her as a means of salvation.  From him she hears  how important children are to a man.  Aegeus reluctantly promises to  protect Medea i f she comes to Athens and w i l l make him f e r t i l e .  Jason  does not want to keep the children with him, but offers to have them educated at Epidauros.  But Medea refuses to hand her children to strangers.  She w i l l part with them only, i f they are allowed to stay i n Corinth, and to achieve this purpose sends her f a t a l g i f t s to Creon and Creusa. Creon's death there i s a general uprising i n the masterless c i t y .  With Medea  k i l l s the children because they are her l a s t bond with Jason and to prove that her hatred of Jason i s greater than her love for her children.  Jason  i s l e f t miserable and defeated while Medea exittzsi suffering, but triumphant and unscorned..  185  Anouilh,, Medee (1946) In a gipsy wagon outside of town, Medee awaits Jason's return from C o r i n t h . family.  He has gone to ask. f o r asylum f o r himself and h i s  Medee i s disturbed by the sounds of j o y coming from the town  which j a r her somber mood. When a messenger a r r i v e s to t e l l her of Jason's impending marriage to Creon's daughter, the news i s an almost welcome r e l i e f to her.  She can now give free r e i n to her hatred.  The  r e l a t i o n s h i p between Jason and Medee had already long been l o v e l e s s . Only habit and a sort of c o m p l i c i t y held them together.  Jason, how-  ever, has now grown t i r e d of t h e i r r e s t l e s s and unsavoury l i f e .  He  seeks order and s e c u r i t y , isfei-ri do a sense of belonging, even though i t may mean compromise. no to l i f e .  Medee refuses to give i n ; she w i l l always say  A f t e r Creon's and Creusa's deaths, she k i l l s the c h i l d r e n  l i k e l i t t l e s a c r i f i c i a l animals without a moment's h e s i t a t i o n . represent the l a s t l i n k s binding her to Jason.  They  She then sets h e r s e l f  aflame i n her gipsy caravanahopitBlwilfi'tilislast desperate deed to impress her image forever on Jason.  He, however, i s determined to forget her, to  s t a r t a new l i f e and to b r i n g order and s e c u r i t y to the ordinary people whose d a i l y l i v e s are unaffected by Medee's desperate act.  186  Csokor, Medea p o s t b e l l i c a 0-9-47) Peter (Jason), a Greek p a r t i s a n leader, and b i s wife Anna (Medea), a doctor with, the partisans, meet a f t e r a year's separation i n a remote communist g u e r i l l a camp towards the end of the second world war.  Anna  is to he the c e r t i f y i n g doctor at an execution ordered by Peter. The evidence against the accused couple i s meagre and uncertain, but their attitude and background are such that they must die.  Waiting f o r the  execution, the woman thinks of her son who w i l l revenge her while the man only thinks of himself. l i k e to help them.  Anna i s very upset by her task and would  The woman warns her that men only want power and  g r a t i f i c a t i o n and that Anna's i d e a l of a new and just s o c i e t y a f t e r the war i s but an empty dream. Anna,  In spite of her protests, Peter comes to  that night and she conceives.  The war over, Anna s t i l l wears  her uniform and works i n an orphanage.  Peter, as p o l i c e commissioner,  stops a street a l t e r c a t i o n arid offers a roof for the night to the b e a u t i f u l , pampered and pleasure-hungry Dora.  The next day Peter cannot r e s i s t her  attractions and decides to leave Anna whom he considers a comrade rather than a woman.  Peter and Anna are v i s i t e d by- Zoe, a former partisan  fighter who had k i l l e d her lover to stay true to the cause and l a t e r purposely contracted leprosy so that she might infect the enemy troops. However, peace has made her s a c r i f i c e useless. to  Anna has Peter take Zoe  a leper hospital where she can s t i l l be of use t e l l i n g the other patients  about the new world which i s dawning. t e l l Anna about Peter's betrayal.  In the meantime Dora returns to  She i s attracted by a b e a u t i f u l l y  embroidered kerchief Zoe l e f t Behind and Anna eventually gives i t to her.  187  Before Peter's return Anna aborts her Baby.  Only too l a t e do Peter and  Dora r e a l i z e where their search for pleasure and g r a t i f i c a t i o n has l e d . Dora takes Zoe's place i n a promiscuous leper v i l l a g e , while Anna w i l l devote herself to the war orphans and w i l l continue working f o r a better world.  Peter i s l e f t Broken, But he must l i v e , as suicide  would Be too easy.  188  Alvaro, La lunga notte d i Medea 0-9-49..). Medea, a Beautiful amazon (Negro, In the English, t r a n s l a t i o n ) , anxiously awaits Jason's return from the Corinthian palace.  Jason and  Medea want to l i v e a quiet, secluded l i f e In Corinth forgetting the past. But Medea i s d i s l i k e d By the populace who Blame her supernatural powers for any misfortune or disaster.  Creon fears Jason's and Medea's power  and fame and, for p o l i t i c a l reasons, intends to Bind Jason to his house By marriage.  Medea and her children are not only Banished But outlawed.  Medea's only wish i s f o r a safe refuge for herself and her children far from the angry crowds and the intrigues of r u l e r s .  Aegeus, who once  loved Medea and seeks a cure for i n f e r t i l i t y from her, refuses, however, to save her children; he w i l l only grant them refuge, i f they make their own way to safety.  Creon and Jason then decide to hold the children as  hostages against Medea's good Behaviour. ready to give up his wordly amBitions. Medea and the memories of the past. over during the wedding f e s t i v i t i e s .  Jason i s power hungry and not  He must f l e e forward away from  Medea promises to hand the children Although the children are well  received at f i r s t , Creon suspects Medea's g i f t s .  A f a l s e rumour of  Creusa's death By poison spreads and the children are forced to f l e e the i n f u r i a t e d crowd who t r i e s to stone them.  When the moh Breaks down  the doors of her house, Medea k i l l s the children and asks for death for herself.  Jason, who at f i r s t was only concerned f o r the frightened  Creusa, arrives too l a t e to save his sons. the moB,  Creusa, watching him Brave  f a l l s to her death from the lookout tower.  Medea survives to  mourn her children, while Jason returns to h i s native v i l l a g e , unknown and nameless, his dreams of power and adventure shattered.  189_  Braun, Medea (1958) Jason's and Medea's l i f e Before coming to Corinth has Been one of destruction, death., violence and crime. friendship and riches.  To Creon, However, they o f f e r  Jason, who only cares f o r fame, gold and power,  sees i n Creon's daughter Glauke a means to p o l i t i c a l power. Medea, on the  verge of insanity already at the Beginning of the play, never appears  quite human. the  The women of the chorus are concerned ahout the safety of  c i t y and h o s t i l e to Medea who causes uproar and dissension.  Creon  f i r s t orders Medea's death, then relents and allows her a day's grace for  the children's sake.  Jason l o s t Iolcos Because of Medea's p r e c i p i -  tated murder of Pelias and now wants to rule Corinth instead.  He t e l l s  her that he i s t i r e d of the criminal l i f e they have led and tempted By peace, order and the fellowship of other men.  Medea rejects the tempta-  t i o n of the c i t y and refuses to play their game. hatred to h i s well-meaning indifference.  She prefers Jason's  Aegeus, whose son f e l l i n the  Battle f o r Corinth, shows Medea the importance of children to a man. He f l a t l y refuses to help the feared and hated Medea. refuge i n Athens f o r this Medea.  There i s no  She cannot escape from her past crimes  and must l i v e up to her reputation. evil"; there i s no escape or reprieve.  E v i l only engenders more and greater Medea deceives Both the chorus  and Jason Begging that the children may stay as they are not safe with her.  She admits to Jason that she has considered k i l l i n g them. Medea's  g i f t s are to assure t h e i r acceptance. the  Shenshows no sign of triumph, at  news of Creon's and Glauke's death., But denies her g u i l t and hys-  t e r i c a l l y asks for her children which, she then k i l l s and buries.  She  190.  Is  i n s a n e , dehumanized and animal-like. Defeated and despised she  leaves f o r the desert while Jason and the chorus rush to the aid of the c i t y which i s torn by r i o t s and c i v i l war.  191  Magnuson, African Medea 0-971). This play follows- the Euripidean model f a i r l y c l o s e l y , hut i t s action i s set i n a large c i t y on the West Coast of A f r i c a at the beginning of the 19th century. Medea i s a t r i b a l princess from the i n t e r i o r and Jason a white slave trader who i s on the point of marrying the  Portuguese governor's daughter.  He enters this new marriage because  he wants power, riches and a chance to be free to move into the future. The Argo expedition of the Greeks has been transformed into a slave drive up the Congo from which Jason returned a l i v e only thanks to Medea's help.  She i s a wise woman of noble descent l i k e d and respected by the  chorus - a group of helpless slave women. not  Governor Barretto e x i l e s Medea  only because he fears her occult powers but also because there are  signs of an imminent  slave uprising which could be fanned by Medea.  Barretto, however, refuses to k i l l Medea as he i s t i r e d of violence and bloodshed.  Medea receives her day's grace and immediately starts to  plot revenge.  Adago, the only black chief invited to the wedding, pro-  mises Medea escape from A f r i c a , i f she reaches his t r i b e and w i l l cure him of i n f e r t i l i t y .  The children are sent with the g i f t s and their  e x i l e i s revoked but the governor's daughter does,not wear the poisonous robe immediately.  Medea's plans seem f o i l e d .  In the meantime the  slave revolt has broken out i n the c i t y , the p o l i c e have mutinied, but the  governor's mansion i s s t i l l untouched.  Medea's robe i s not worn  u n t i l the actual wedding ceremony when the flames destroy the governor and his daughter.  Medea k i l l s her children because of the white blood  which flows i n their veins and because they must not f a l l into enemy hands.  192  She leaves triumphant with t h e i r Bodies, leaving Jason to mourn By the r o t t i n g slave ship "Argo."  

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