UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

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

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1975_A8 L56.pdf [ 8.54MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0093422.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0093422-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0093422-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0093422-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0093422-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0093422-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0093422-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0093422-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0093422.ris

Full Text

" ' IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MEDEA (A THEMATIC EXPLORATION FROM EURIPIDES TO MAGNUSON) Ingehorg.rElisabeth Lloyd B.A. University of British Columbia 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL .^ FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS ;" in the division of Comparative Literature We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1975 In presenting th i s thesis in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree ly ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thes is for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes i s for f i nanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permission. Department of Comparative L i t e r a t u r e The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 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 constitutes an almost diametrically opposed point of view. Most of the l a t e r plays range between these two poles, but the treatment of the material varies from play to play. Medea's crime - the murder of her children and of Creusa - i s the theme explored f i r s t . In the l a t e r plays this 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 for 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 control (especially i n Glover's, Klinger's, Legouve's, Anderson's and Alvaro's plays). The murder of her children 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 early Medeas exit i n triumphant exultation at the end of the play, 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 successful. The second part of the study explores the development i n the portrayal of Medea and Jason i n d i v i d u a l l y and of the relationship be-tween them. The variety i n Medea-portrayals i s wide-ranging: -Slhe can be an admirable and extraordinary woman or a monstrous witch, a super-natural being beyond human understanding or a wretched vic t i m of i i circumstances. There also has been a marked change i n the portrayal of Jason. While Euripides exposes him as a despicable and self—righteous 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 his nature. The image of tile c l a s s i c a l hero has been l o s t . The increased role of sex i n the relationship 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 attention has also been focussed on the children and on the effects of the marriage break-rdown on t h e i r l i v e s . (Dolce, Galladei, G r i l l p a r z e r , Legouve, Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson, Alvaro) F i n a l l y , the paper traces the general change i n attitude 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 plays i s the absence of a v i c t o r i n the struggle between Medea and Jason and, especially i n the post-Freudian plays, (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 individual onto the society or on to other forces beyond man's control. The variety of explanations offered for Medea's action 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 into the Medea-story.;.One of the themes raised already by Euripides . which reappears consistently i s that of the stranger and barbarian i n a c i v i l i z e d society. The 20th century, for instance, i i i introduces racial discrimination to highlight Medea's "otherness." (Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson, Jeffers, Alvaro, Magnuson). Although i t has proven to be impossible to discern a national trend in the treatment of the Medea-story, a faint historical 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, Alvaro), although the preference given to Euripides' play predominates. The general finding of this study i s that the Medea-story fascinates every new generation and continues to be a fresh source of inspiration for writers. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Page I. Introduction 1 II. Euripides' Medea - Summary of the Play 6 III. Medea's Crime 16 (1) Euripides 16 (2) Seneca 25 (3) Renaissance 35 - de Laperuse - Galladei - Dolce (4) 17th Century 47 - Corneille - Longepierre (5) 18th Century 5 3 - Lessing - Glover - Gotter - Klinger (6) 19th Century 6 1 - Grillparzer - Lucas - Legouve (7) 20th Century - Attempt at conclusion . 69 (a) before 1939 - Jahnn - Lenormand - Anderson (b) after 1945 - Jeffers - Anouilh - Csokor - Alvaro - Braun - 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 v i Page (5) 18th Century 159 - Lessing - Glover - Gotter - Klinger (6) 19th Century 161 - Grlllparzer - Lucas - Legouve (7) - 20th Century — Attempt at conclusion 165 (a) before 1939 — Jahnn — Lenormand — Anderson (b) after 1945 — Jeffers — Anouilh — Csokor — Alvaro — Braun — Magnuson VI. Bibliography 176 (1) Medea-plays 176 (2) Comparative Studies 178 (3) Other Secondary Works 179 •o VII. Appendix (1) Medea-plays list e d in chronological order 183 (2) SummariesvofStheiibast six plays 184 v i i MEDEA: Sind wir wieder verbunden? JASON: Von Ewigkeit her. MEDEA: Dass du schuldig an mir wirst? JASON: Dass du mich a l l e r Schuld zeihst. MEDEA: Aber anders wie einst? JASON: Immer anders! Franz Theodor Csokor, Medea Po s t b e l l i c a , Vorspiel. v i i i I. INTRODUCTION The legend of the sorceress Medea - saviour of Jason and the Argonauts and murderess of her own children - i s an ancient one. Euripides was probably the f i r s t to present this tale i n dramatic form as he was the f i r s t to represent the action 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 into a great tragedy. Of the many writers who have through the centuries retold Medea's story, trying to improve or modernize i t , not one has been able to stay so close to the myth without los i n g touch with 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 writers; 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 writers have contributed valuable modifications or additions to the o r i g i n a l story which, i n some instances, have become part of the material 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 direct contrast to the Euripidean one, was Seneca who por-trays Medea as a monstrous witch to whom human moral standards no longer apply. At the beginning of Euripides' play Medea seems to be defeated while Jason i s at the height of his glory, at the end, however, thei r positions are reversed. On the other hand Seneca, whose Medea has no redeeming features, presents a gradual crescendo of e v i l ending i n a veritable orgy of destruction, but Jason remains unbroken and defiant. 2 From an extraordinary woman Medea has been transformed into a supernatural demon-like being, exemplifying the evils of uncontrolled passions. Fur-thermore in the Senecan play, the children are to be taken from Medea in any case, and their murder is therefore no longer the deliberate, carefully planned deed i t was in the earlier play. Euripides' and Seneca's plays represent opposite poles in the treatment of the Medea-story between which, most other plays range, a l -though some of the distinct and opposing features of these two plays have eventually become merged in the more recent plays. In the 16th and 17th century there seems to have been an inclination to follow in Seneca's footsteps and only later 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 limits set by the classical plays. The traditional 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 conflict in 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 conflict must be found: Medea, betrayed by Jason and murderess of her own children. Within the framework each writer presents his own answer to the problem, an explana-tion which differs from play to play. For later 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 increasingly d i f f i c u l t through the years. In our age, children are no longer regarded as v i t a l for the preservation of a man's fame and the i r death i s no longer imperative for Jason's destruction. New explanations have therefore been found for Medea's action. In some plays the child-murder i s hardly a crime any more. In others, i t has ceased to be a dramatic or psychological necessity, 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 Euripides' play Medea's tragedy starts at the point where the extenuating circumstances end. A l l subsequent attempts to explain Medea's deed, to find reasons and excuses have wrought a change i n Medea herself. No longer i s she the determined being who deliberately chooses to do e v i l from which she knows she w i l l suffer greatly but which w i l l revenge her injured honour. Necessity, insanity, love or other circum-stances beyond her control force Medea to commit her crime. The c h i l d -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 victim 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 plays, of different race or colour. Moreover, Medea acts no longer primarily to protect her injured honour i n the l a t e r plays. Sexual jealousy spurs her on to her revenge on Creusa. Driven to her deeds by necessity or passion, she can no longer be held f u l l y responsible for her crimes. But not only Medea has been transformed through the centuries.; Jason, too, has been changed from avclassical hero into 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 his oath to Medea, but Euripides did 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 . The flaw l i e s within and i s not caused by Jason's deeds or omissions. Euripides thus removes the Homeric hero from his pedestal while l a t e r plays destroy the myth of heroism as such. The negation of heroism i s connected with a refusal 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 ind i v i d u a l to the gods, to fate, to society or other forces outside man himself. Individual g u i l t 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 difference between them l i e s i n the degree of insight gained through the i r suffering. 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 national or h i s t o r i c a l trends i n the treatment of the Medea-story. Moreover, the findings have not revealed very s i g n i f i c a n t patterns. I t i s , for example, not p a r t i c u l a r l y revealing that the most cruel and cold-hearted Medeas are portrayed i n some of the French plays. Although more Medea-plays have been written i n 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, attracted 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 writers are concerned about the fate of the children, but then so are writers of other nations. And the three American plays of the 20th century show so great a variety 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 this thematic exploration, although the gradual movement from the Senecan influence to the Euripidean which started after the Renaissance has come to a" halt 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 either i n the age or stage i n a writer's career at which he i s attracted to the Medea-material. Some writers l i k e Jeffers and Alvaro, for instance, were commissioned by leading actresses to write t h e i r plays for them. One minor f a c t , however, might be surprising: there e x i s t s no Medea-play written by a woman a l -though Medea has been a favourite part for many great actresses. We are l e f t then with an almost inexplicable fascination of what i s b a s i c a l l y a banal story - the well-known triangle s i t u a t i o n of a man between two women. However i t does constitute a basic problem of human relations which seems to be of fresh interest to every new generation. In the following pages Euripides* Medea w i l l f i r s t be discussed as a model for 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 relationship between Jason and Medea and the changing attitude towards Medea. 6 IX. Euripides' Medea — Summary of the Play Euripides s t a r t s h i s play on Medea at 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 with the Golden Eleece and, t h e i r quest over, the victorious Argonauts had disbanded. However, Jason's and Medea's wanderings had not yet ended. We find them as homeless exiles i n "Corinth where Jason has just concluded an advantageous second marriage to the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth, disregarding his commitments to his barbarian wife, Medea, and to his children 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 fate might improve again. With t h i s opportunity to obtain a dominant position i n Corinth his future looks indeed very promising. The only obstacles i n his way seem to be Medea and their shared past, which, she represents and which she w i l l not allow him to forget. Medea, on the other hand, i s at the lowest point of her career: homeless, ex i l e d , a barbarian amongst Greeks, she has not only been cast off by the man she loved above a l l else, for 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 isolated as a homeless stranger, deprived of ci t i z e n ' s rights i n a foreign land. These facts are a l l brought forth by Medea's nurse before we actually see or hear Medea herself. The nurse begins i n the past and bewails the fact that the Argo ever reached Colchis. I t would have been better for a l l concerned i f Medea had never set eyes on Jason. She describes Medea's present distracted state, her suffering, her refusal 7 to eat, her regret for father and home "betrayed when she came away with, a man who now is determined to dishonor her." (.1.32-33)1 From the start, we are introduced to concepts which prove to be k of supreme importance to Medea: 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 afraid of Medea's violent temper. She fears Medea's thoughts of revenge, which at this point she assumes to be directed against Jason and his new family. The children unaware of their mother's grief, return from play. From their 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 exile once more, asfCreon intends to banish her and her children from Corinth. No help from Jason i s to be expected: as for him obviously "old ties give place to new ones." (1.76) Again a warning note of danger to the children i s sounded now that i t becomes evident that Medea must need strike 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 f i r s t outcry, heard from inside her house. 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 this text.) 8 Thus before we even see Medea we r e a l i z e that she Is i n a very dangerous frame of mind. Above a l l , Medea i s bent on t o t a l destruction of Jason, not just of his person, but also of his 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 for her own and then again for Jason's and his bride's death. However, when Medea appears and speaks to the women, she i s ap-parently s e l f — c o n t r o l l e d , Her speech i s clear and to the point. There are no signs of d i s t r a c t i o n , wild passion or mental imbalance. She very deliberately sets out to win the women's sympathy for her l o t and their support for whatever her plans may be. From the f i r s t she stresses that she, as a stranger, must be doubly careful not to cause offense to her neighbours. However, Jason's betrayal has overwhelmed her because i t has come so unexpectedly. She then proceeds to discuss her pa r t i c u l a r fate as an example df woman's l o t i n general, stressing woman's help-lessness, her dependence on man, her lack of control over her own fate, and her lack of freedom to choose or change husbands. Moreover, as Medea lacks the protection 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 children to leave Corinth. As he fears Medea's cleverness and her knowledge of witchcraft, he i s determined to see her banished i n spite of her pleas and promises. He reveals that he loves his daughter more than his 9 country, and that he wants Medea exiled to protect his daughter from any possible harm. Having found Creon's weakness and, for that reason, pleading her own children's cause, Medea,in spite of Creon's i n i t i a l firmness, manages to get one day's delay-in her banishment. Medea i s . very manipulative i n this sceoe, playing on Creon's emotions with her humility while dissimulating Her true feelings. After Creon's departure and the chorus' expression of sympathy with Medea's new predicament, she immediately makes i t clear that she had been i n f u l l control of the situ a t i o n and that a l l her moves i n the interview with Creon had been calculated. She now has one day to ac-complish her revenge. There i s never any question i n her mind whether she w i l l revenge herself; the only question i s how to accomplish, t h i s without getting caught or having to k i l l herself 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 as-sured of a place of refuge after having carried out her plans. What-ever the outcome may be however, she i s determined not to "be mocked by Jason's Corinthian wedding." (1. 405) The chorus then points to the reversal of nature caused by the deceitfulness of men and their breaking of oaths. Now unfaithfulness should no longer be attributed to women. I f there were women poets they would be able to t e l l the other side of the story. Here sympathy for Medea has reached a climax which bodes i l l for Jason who appears next. Jason immediately reminds Medea that, i f she i s i n a predicament now, she has only herself to blame. I t i s owing to her violent temper 10 that Banishment has Been imposed on her. He offers- her financial as-sistance so that she "and the children may not Be penniless or in need of anything in exile." (1.461/2) Medea", for the f i r s t and only time, loses her puBlic composure as she is confronted By Jason's self—right-eousness. She flares 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 his cause. If she has done ev i l and has made enemies, i t has Been only- for his 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 really 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 his new marriage goes, he feels that i t i s the opportunity to improve his and his family's lot as exiles which makes this match so attractive. He strongly protests that he was not motivated by sexual attraction or a desire to have more children and proceeds to accuse women of being ob-sessed by sex. Men, he thinks, would be Better off 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 his 11 wife and i s acting Badly. Medea feels that Jason's shame for his foreign wife i s at the root of h i s Betrayal. She utters some veiled threats. Jason, however, does.pot understand how serious she r e a l l y i s , and leaves feeling he has done his Best i n t h i s matter. The chorus now sings about the wisdom of moderation i n lovej about the joys of Belonging to one's country and about the value of true friendship, thus Bridging the gap Between the false friend, Jason, and the true friend, Aegeus who appears next. Aegeus i s the only man who treats Medea as a friend and as an equal. He addresses her as a peer and as a woman famous for her wisdom. This attitude stands i n sharp contrast to the patronizing or suspicious tone Creon and Jason have assumed towards her. Aegeus explains he has come from Delphi where he sought a cure for his childlessness. Now he i s seeking an,interpre-tation of the oracle's words. Aegeus then notices Medea's distraught a i r and enquires into her troubles. He i s sympathetic to Medea's pl i g h t and promises her asylum i n Athens, although he refuses to help her escape. Medea asks Aegeus to reinforce his promise with solemn oaths to the gods to protect her from her enemies once she has reached his house. For Medea an oath i s s t i l l the most binding commitment between humans i n spite of Jason's betrayal. After Aegeus' departure, Medea, assured of a refuge, reveals for the f i r s t time her plans i n f u l l as she i s now certain 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 children remain i n Corinth: 12 For I w i l l send the children with, gi f t s In their hands To carry to the bride, so as not to Be Banished A finely 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 in agony; Such poison w i l l I lay upon the gifts 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 shall 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 shall leave the land and flee from the murder of my Dear children, and I shall have done a dreadful deed. (1. 784-796) She w i l l now have to pay. the price for mistakenly following Jason from her father's house, But he must suffer too. Medea, like a Homeric hero, wants to Be remembered as "one who can hurt my enemies and help my friends," (1. 809) and that, in her opinion, is sufficient j u s t i f i c a -tion for her deeds. However, the chorus reminds her that this i s not the normal way of mankind, that she, a woman, i s , in fact, assuming a man's point of view. Medea has suffered too much to be able to consider a compromise. This is 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 is soon to Become the refuge for this impure and unnatural murderess of her own children. (1. 846-865) In his second encounter with Medea, Jason is completely taken in By her contriteness. Not for one moment does he douBt her words or wonder at the sudden change, so sure is he of the Tightness of his 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, his 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 fate i s sealed. Medea had stressed that the g i f t s must pass directly from the children's hands into the Bride's. As Bearers of the fatal 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 grief, 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 lives with another wife. (1. 996-1001) When the children return with their 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 is saying farewell to her children, not Because she is leaving for exile, 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 their father with the pain They feel, 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 it? CI- 1049-1050) Fully aware of a l l the implications of her proposed deed, she sends the 14 children away and awaits the news- of the princess' death!: I know- indeed what e v i l \ i intend to do, But stronger than a l l my afterthoughts i s my fury, Fury that Brings upon mortals the greatest e v i l s . CI. 1078-1080) The Corinthian women follow with a comment on the troubles of parenthood. The worst a f f l i c t i o n for a parent i s to see your c h i l d die Before you. The messenger now enters with news from the royal palace which Medea i s anticipating with fiendish delight: But speak. How did they die? You w i l l delighr me twice As much again i f you say they died i n agony. CI.1134/5) He gives a lengthy and detailed account of the acceptance of the g i f t s and their.gruesome effects. Now the children's death i s unavoidaBle. They w i l l have to die either By the Corinthians' or t h e i r mother's hands. Medea steels herself for her dreadful task knowing that i t w i l l Bring her unhappiness for the rest of her l i f e . " Oh, come, my hand, poor wretched hand, and take the sword, Take i t , step forward to this B i t t e r s t a r t i n g point, 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 for This one short day Be forgetful of your children, Afterward weef>.];< for 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 children's pathetic c r i e s for help are already heard from inside the house. I t i s too l a t e ; neither the gods nor the chorus have come to the children's defence. At t h i s point, Jason rushes on stage to protect his children 15 from the vengeance of Creon's relatives, only- to hear that Medea has already k i l l e d them. As he tries to Batter down the doors of the house, Medea appears on the roof in a chariot drawn By dragons, with the Bodies of the children Beside her. Jason, realizing his defeat, hurls aBuse and loathing at her, the BarBarian, the monster, who has taken everything from him: For me remains to cry 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 alive. Oh, my l i f e i s over! (I. 1346-135Q) Medea replies that although the children died By her hand, "they died from a disease they caught from their father." (1. 1364) She refuses to let him Bury the children and mourn them. She w i l l herself "estaBlish. a holy feast and'sacrifice each year forever to atone for the Blood guilt." (1. 1382/3) Jason, on the other hand, i s doomed to die a totally unheroic death, "struck on the head By a piece of the Argo's timBer," • (1. 1387) for he is "a breaker of oaths, a deceiver" CI. 1392) and there-fore not of heroic stature. Medea's triumph at this moment is complete and her revenge totally successful. Her honour has been vindicated as her enemies w i l l certainly 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 his hopes for the future shattered, He has nothing But a miseraBle death to look for-ward to. He is as defeated as Medea seemed to Be at the Beginning of the play. Medea*s fin a l triumph i s further stressed By her elevated position on the roof. 16 III. Medea's Crime (1) Euripides Even those only superficially acquainted with the Medea-story as we have come to know i t , w i l l Be struck at least By the one horrifying fact that we are confronted here with a mother who murders her own children in cold Blood. If, i n i t i a l l y , we have fel t sympathy for Medea and her plight, 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 in 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 his children. Or was Medea ordered and forced By the gods to take this terriBle revenge on Jason Because he had sinned against them when he Broke his oaths? In this case, as for instance in the case of Orestes, the gods would Be, i f not wholly then at least partially, responsihle for Medea's murders. Or is Medea, as the grantd-daughter of Helios, no true human Being, But a witch, a monster or a demon, whose deeds, like those of the gods, cannot really Be measured By human moral standards? However, i f Medea is ex-cused on the grounds of insanity, victimization By the gods or super-human privileges, she might easily 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 responsiBility for her deeds and not as a victim of circumstances. As far 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 well 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 clever woman, i s confirmed By Creon, Jason and Aegeus. However, each of these three men have a different attitude towards Medea's knowledge. Of the three only Creon fears her, more because of her violent and wild temper than because of her witchcraft. Jason, who obviously should know more about Medea's supernatural powers than the others, adopts a patronizing a i r towards her and evidently does not fear her. He doesn't even give her credit for any extraordinary g i f t s employed i n saving his 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 clear then that, at least u n t i l after the murder of the children, we are to regard Medea as a woman who may have some knowledge which i s not accessible to a l l , but not as a supernatural being or a demon. She i s , of course, not just an ordinary woman: by b i r t h she i s a royal princess, by marriage the.„wife of the leader of the Argonauts; her position as a barbarian, an e x i l e and a stranger naturally sets her apart from the other women i n Corinth. However, Medea herself equates her lo t with that of other women, and the Corinthian women accept her as one of them. U n t i l the murder of her children Medea must, therefore, be regarded as a human being. I t may be argued, and I think successfully, that i n k i l l i n g her children 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 chariot. Whether she returns to her ancestor, the sun, and rejoins her myth, or whether she spends the rest of her days i n grief and atonement for the children's death., we do not know.' But her l i f e as a human being seems to Be over after the i n f a n t -i c i d e and the f i n a l triumphant encounter with jKason. Nor can we put the Blame for Medea's deeds on the gods, although. Jason suggests that, already i n using her powers to save him, she did so only as an instrument of Aphrodite and not of her own v o l i t i o n . How-ever, Medea categorically denies t h i s . Later i n her grief over the children's impending fate, she does once state: 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 helpless tool used by the gods i n the i r schemes of revenge on Jason or herself, nor can she claim insanity. 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 fury, Fury that Brings 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 for her: 19 This one short day he forgetful of your children, Afterward weep,; for 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 for her to murder them. It is true that the nurse feels the children are threatened, But she also fears Medea's anger towards herself: Such a look she w i l l flash 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 like the lashing out of a wounded animal, who w i l l strike at whoever is closest, rather than an animosity directed at the children specifically: Don't Bring them near their mother in 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 un 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 clearly, she does.not resent the children, for instance, for resemBling their father or for Being the product of a now hateful union. It must Be accepted that Medea genuinely loves her children, But unlike Creon, she does not give them prime importance in her l i f e ; her love, now turned to hatred, must Be considered f i r s t . 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) 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. As unquestioning as her love has Been, so now i s Medea's hatred. Once she knows how to hurt Jason most and Bring about his total destruction, even her love for the children cannot save them any more; Medea is determined to regard them only as the perfect tools to accomplish her revenge. That this i s not an easy decision for Medea to make, is a l -ready clear when she sees the children for the f i r s t time after having decided on her plans of revenge. But aBove a l l , in her long monologue after having sent the children to the palace and to their certain death, we see her torn Between her love for the children and her fierce pride and sense of honour, knowing a l l the time though that her vacillations are frui t l e s s : the children are already doomed. The motivation for her crimes - Both the murder of Creon and his 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 con-venient 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 slightest hesitation for this more advantageous match, with, a younger woman. But part of Medea's anger is also undouBtedly caused By sexual jealousy-, a fact stressed By Jason, and which, i s revealed in such, remarks as; Go! No doubt you hanker for your virginal Bride, And are guilty of lingering 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 exile, a stranger who followed him to a foreign land where he is her only security 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 friendless and hostile world. This is an insult to her honour, not only as a wife, but also as a princess and a wise woman. It is unthinkable that the greatness of her reputation should be turned into a hollow mockery by Jason's rejection and the banishment imposed by Creon, while Jason would reap the benefits of his new union with the king's daughter. For Medea this alone.presents suf- . ficient 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 un-intentional or uncontrolled. She is always in command of the situation and never loses sight of her long-range goal. She proves to be a master of dissimulation and manipulation. The Corinthian women's sympathy and their implied cooperation in remaining silent she manages to ensure from the start. There is never any question whether she w i l l take revenge; she calmly selects the best method of accomplishing Her aims without im-p e r i l l i n g herself. The time she needs to think out her plan in detail, she gains from Creon through playing on his 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 finally; she uses effortlessly Jason's complacency to Bring her plans to fruition. Her revenge is thought out completely•and in every detail, including the murder of her children which - although i t Becomes a necessity after the death of Creon and his daughter - i s nevertheless premedidated: And give her the dress - for this i s of great importance, That she should take the g i f t into her hand from yours. (1. 972/3) These meticulously laid plans are carried out ruthlessly and success-fu l l y u n t i l the Bitter and triumphant end. In the execution of Medea's plans the most effective part, i f one looks for perfection in revenge, must Be considered the fact that Jason survives at the end to taste the f u l l Bitterness and sorrow of his 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 realize that letting Jason l i v e , surrounded By the ruin of a l l his dreams, is a much more effective punishment for him than death. It i s in her encounters with Creon, Jason and Aegeus that Medea gradually perceives that childlessness i s the worst fate for man. Jason himself gives as his main reason for the new marriage a desire to estaBlish his 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 his fame and reputation alive, a man's laBours are in vain. They; die with him. Through his children and his children's children man can achieve immortality of a sort. Childlessness i s the-one reason 23 Medea would have accepted as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f or a new; marriage, and i t i s c h i l d l e s s n e s s which drives Aegeus to the oracle at Delphi. In order to destroy Jason completely, i t i s thus necessary not only to k i l l h i s new bride - the mother of h i s future c h i l d r e n - but also h i s c h i l d r e n by h e r s e l f so that h i s l i n e w i l l be e x t i n c t . In following Jason, Medea cut o f f her t i e s with the past, i n k i l l i n g h i s bride and h i s c h i l d r e n Medea cuts o f f Jason's t i e s to the future and i n v a l i d a t e s h i s past. Far more e f f e c t i v e than p h y s i c a l death i s therefore the death of the house of Jason. What father would ever dare to give h i s daughter as a bride to Jason, knowing the fate of Creon and h i s daughter, and also knowing that Medea i s s t i l l a l i v e . Con-demning Jason to l i v e , conscious of the f a c t that he i s v i r t u a l l y dead, i s surely the most c r u e l punishment Medea could devise. That the punish-ment i s out.of a l l proportion with the crime cannot be questioned -c e r t a i n l y not i n our day and age - but that i t i s the most complete revenge Medea could devise cannot be denied. However, Medea does not only punish Jason by her deed. In a sense the murder of her c h i l d r e n i s as much directed against h e r s e l f as at him. By wiping out the error she committed i n putting her f a i t h i n Jason, she i s also depriving h e r s e l f of her c h i l d r e n and a l l they mean to her: Oh s u r e l y once the hopes i n you I had, poor me, Were high ones: you.iwould look a f t e r me i n old age, And when I died would deck me well with your own handsj A thing which 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 without you, Sad w i l l be the l i f e I ' l l lead and sorrowful for me. C I . 1 0 3 2 - 1 0 3 7 ) 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 in general have Been severed. The children's murder not only destroys Jason But also Medea as a human being. For i f Jason is 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 his w i l l and k i l l e d her Brother. Medea then acted in the passion of her love, and only love could j u s t i f y her actions. However, Jason's rejection of her love makes Medea guilty of dishonouring her name and committing a crime as horrihle as i t turns out to have Been gratuitous. Only now does.she realize the consequences of her singleminded passion which has Brought her only grief, dishonour and enmity: Oh. what an e v i l to men is passionate love! (1. 330) Medea's pride is too great, however, to let 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. After a l l , she too survives to mourn the loss.of her children. And while Medea predicts Jason's further fate and end: While you, as is right, w i l l die without distinction, Struck on the head By a piece of the Argo's timBer, And you w i l l have seen the Bitter end of my love. CI. 1386-1388) we can only surmise Medea's future sorrow and grief for the children she loved and k i l l e d . Medea, trimphant, is~as effectively punished and Isolated as Jason,.defeated. 25 (2) Seneca In Euripides' Medea the murder of the children, although we have been carefully prepared for i t , s t i l l comes as a shock. This is not so in Seneca's Medea. Here she murders her children as the crowning gesture in a steady progression of evils. It i s an act of self—revelation and not self—destruction as in Euripides' play. For someone.dedicated to a career of crime, infanticide i s after a l l only the next logical step after having committed fratricide and instigated parricide. Already in the prologue we are introduced to a Medea who i n -vokes the gods of heaven and h e l l and calls on the Furies and her know-ledge of magic to help in her revenge. Medea's reference to her children, May his children — I can think of no worse imprecation -be lik e their father, yes, and like their mother. Born is 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." (368) Remembering that her crime upon her union with Jason was fratricide, 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 is i n i t i a l l y directed against herself as much as 2 Seneca, Medea, translated by Moses Hadas, in Roman Drama, The Library of Liberal Arts, The Bohbs^Merrill Company, Inc., Indianapolis, 1965. (AH quotes from Seneca's Medea are taken from this 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 in Euripides' play she has herself completely under control by the time she appears on stage. In Euripides'' Medea we are aware of Her sorrow and anger, partly from the nurse, partly from her own cries 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 responsibility for Her crimes. The situation i s different, However, in the case of Seneca's Medea. From the very f i r s t , i t is stressed that Medea is ^supernatural being. She continually refers to her ancestry as the granddaughter of the sun, to her intimacy with, and power over, the gods and nature. She is not accepted as a "mere" woman by anyone else. A l l of them, including Jason and her servants, fear her as a sorceress. She clearly does not need Human craftiness, sympathy or moral support or even a guaranteed refuge to assure the success of Her revenge: "Medea is l e f t . Here you see sea and land, steel and f i r e and gods and thunderbolts." (p. 371) Medea then is obvious-l y not a human being and therefore Human moral standards cannot be ap-plied to Her. She is as amoral as the gods or fate. Thus the infa n t i -cide, along with the. annihilation of Creon,. Creusa and the whole palace, is 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 in summer, and at my bidding Ceres has seen harvest in winter. Violent Phasis has turned i t s waters back to their source, and Hister, divided into many mouths, has constricted his truculent billows and fallen s p i r i t l e s s in 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 lost i t s shadows when daylight returned at my imperious voice. Phoebus.has halted in mid-course, and at my i n -cantation the Hyades totter and collapse, (p.. 387) As a supernatural, demonic being, she cannot really be held morally responsible for her monstrous deeds. Added to that is the suggestion that perhaps Medea is 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 clearly states that the golden age of content was brought to an end by the expedition of the Argonauts who went beyond the limits set to men: Stainless the ages our fathers saw-, when trickery was far distant. Every man trod his own shore free of ambition and waxed old on his an-cestral 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 price; "And what was the prize of this voyage? 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 violent 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: Spare him who was ordered to his deed." (]>. 385) But as Medea claimed Jason as her prize for having saved the Argonauts, she could very well Be considered' the means of his divine punishment and therefore not really responsible for the suffering she i n f l i c t s . ProBaBly Seneca's Medea is not actually insane when she murders her children, but there is no doubt that her mind i s clouded, at least when she k i l l s her f i r s t child. The vision of the Furies: That unruly crowd of Furies - where are they rushing, whom are they seeking, for whom prepar-ing their flaming strokes? (p.. 392) and of her dismembered brother: Whose ghost is that approaching? Its limbs are scattered and i t is hard to recognize; i t is my Brother and he is demanding vengeance. (p.. 392) do urge her on and certainly help to overcome her momentary hesitation: Leave me to myself, Brother, use this hand of mine; i t holds a drawn sword. With this victim I placate your ghost. (p>. 392/3) As a matter of fact she slaughters at' least the f i r s t son like a s a c r i f i c i a l victim not only to atone for her Brother's death, But also for the other crimes her passion made her commit: "...very well, i t is finished. I have nothing more to offer you for atonement, my passion." (p. 394) There seems to Be no evidence that Seneca's Medea hated her children, But neither is there any-proof.that she loved them greatly. The strong 29 ties which, existed Between Euripides' Medea and her children are missing in Seneca's Medea, who has few human qualities. There seems to Be a singular lack of depth of feeling in Seneca's Medea. There i s passion, certainly, more than enough: passionate love which s t i l l flares up for Jason from time to time and also momentarily for the children, But which is matched By her at least equivalent passion for cruelty and revenge. Medea herself states: "If you ask, poor creature, what limit 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 in their suit, what w i l l the issue Be?" (p. 390) Sexual jealousy and a sense of Being roBBed of something which rightly Belongs to her - Jason - and which i s her last remaining possession seem to Be the motives for Medea's crime. Seneca's Medea is not greatly concerned with her injured honour or the mockery of others, mainly Because her ties with humanity as such, i f they ever existed, have already Been severed. She is even more isolated than Euripides' Medea, and her fight for Jason may Be as much a fight for her only link to humanity as for the man s h e l s t i l l loves. Medea also Blames Jason for violating her virginity. Her maiden^, hood in Colchis stands for a l l that i s peaceful and good. 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 in destroying a l l the evidence of her lost 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 in the meantime. Now, now have I: recovered my scepter, my Brother, my father; again the Colchians hold the prize 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 vacillating. She is never quite sure who her real enemy i s , Creon or Jason: Could Jason do this? He roBBed me of father, country, kingdom; can he cruelly desert me, a l l alone and in a foreign place?...But what could Jason do, subject as he was to another's decision and authority?...The whole fault i s Creon's; with capricious lordliness he dissolves marriages, tears mothers from children, and severs loyalties cemented By the most intimate of pledges. It i s he that must Be attacked; he alone shall pay the score he owes. (p. 370/1) She never makes any definite plans nor confides in anyone. Her wild threats seem to serve to reassure her as much as to frighten others. She seems to need to reiterate her former crimes to give herself more confidence and to spur herself on: Your own crimes should urge you on; re 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 his father, and his Body scattered over the sea; the limBs of of aged Pelias Boiled in a Brass cauldron. How often have I perpetrated Bloody murder! (p. 370) When Medea acts, her deeds are seldom thought through. There is 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 lethal wedding g i f t s and just assumes that they w i l l Be effective: 31 A l l my power has now Been exercised. Call my sons here to carry these costly g i f t s to the Bride... .Go,: my sons, go. The mother that Bore you is. unlucky; placate your mistress and step-mother with presents and humBle prayer. (p. 389) There is no explanation given of what prompts Creusa to accept anything coming from the hands of such a dangerous and fearsome r i v a l . Medea's seizing on the perfect revenge on Jason occurs suddenly and By chance; then her mind is made up immediately: "Has he such love for his children? Fine! I have him, the place to wound him is uncovered." (p. 382) She changes her attitude and tone on the spot, apparently with-out arousing Jason's suspicion. There i s no gradual growth of a definite revenge plan within her; no idea which is confirmed during successive en-counters with other fathers. She never stops tottMnk of the consequences to herself; she simply thinks no further than the accomplished deed. As she hopes to regain her lost past By her revenge, no thought is given to the future. Thus, when Medea has committed her crime, she has f u l f i l l e d herself^ Become her real self: "Now I am Medea; my genius has matured with e v i l s . " (p. 391) She has now completed her masterpiece of e v i l , and there is a f i n a l i t y in her last triumphant words which Bears no thought of tomorrow But removes her definitely 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 flee. A path Is opened in the sky and twin serpents suBmit their scaly necks to the yoke. Take your sons Back now, Father. (She throws the Bodies down to him.) On my winged chariot I shall ride through the ai r . (p. 394) Medea's moods are so volatile that i t i s hard to Be sure when she i s merely dissimulating and when she Is actually 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 in the Euripidean play, they are no match, for Medea. Jason is a rather weak, and cowardly hero who lacks the self-righteous assurance witnessed in the earlier play. And Creon, although, motivated by the threat of war and the just concern for his country is afraid of her very presence: Beetling she strides toward me; her expression is menacing as she approaches nearer to address me. Keep her off, slaves! - f-arfoff from touch or ac-cess; bid her be silent. (p. 372) Out of weakness, after some verbal wrangling, he grants a day's delay in i n Me Medea's exile although he suspects her of e v i l intentions. Medea's crime is certainly also successful in this case, as she manages to hurt Jason where he is most vulnerable; this Jason really 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 light. (p. 382) However, Medea does not succeed in breaking his s p i r i t , as is proven by his f i n a l defiant words. Although Jason acts rather cowardly in letting Medea take the f u l l responsibility for the crimes committed to his benefit, he must be believed when he assures her that he does so only to save his children's lives. He i s f u l l y aware that he owes Medea his l i f e and that he is breaking his oath., but father-love, coupled with a reluctance to oppose authority, wins over his sense of honour. As this Jason truly cares for his children as such., and not only as symbols of 33 his own immortality, i t i s no douBt a refinement of cruelty on Medea's part to k i l l the second child in front of his eyes and then f l i n g the dead Bodies at his 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 satisfied 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 in my womb, even now, I shall 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 disdainfully at Jason's feet: "Take your sons back now, Father." (p. 394) Jason has spurned her love; he has been taken from her and in revenge she has destroyed a l l he ever loved. As already mentioned, for Euripides Medea's crime is an act of self-punishment and self-destruction, albeit 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 self-revelation in her most ev i l form. She keeps insisting that her deeds so far have not yet been worthy of her true self. The enormity of her misdeeds must grow with increased maturity: Paltry 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 so far, she must s t i l l prove herself. And the revenge on Jason is 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 in obscurity; demonstrate your handiwork for popular approval." (p. 393) Unlike Euripides' , Medea, Seneca*s does not stop to gloat over Tier ri v a l ' s death. Although, she has k i l l e d not only Creon and his 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 real 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 his 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 his seeing i t is wasted. (p. 394) Her doubts about her action are only fleeting and quickly s t i f l e d by Tier joy in seeing Jason suffer. There is no bitterness or suffering in her triumph of revenge. 35 (3) Renaissance: de Laperuse, Galladei and Dolce These three Renaissance writers a l l produced s l i g h t l y different versions of the Medea story: Dolce more or less follows the Euripidean play, while Galladei models his play on the Senecan, and de Laperuse seems to take a position somewhere in Between the two ancient plays. A l l of them, however, change the original material somewhat, sometimes by developing certain aspects more f u l l y , sometimes By cutting out certain features of the earlier plays, But none of them succeeds in giving a satisfactory explanation for Medea's deeds or in improving on the pre-vious works. In a l l three plays Medea's responsiBility for her crime is dimin-ished. She is a known and feared sorceress and enchantress, aBle to command and control the powers of heaven and h e l l . In Dolce's play Medea e-cain even raise the dead. Her supernatural powers are taken for granted, even i f Dolce's chorus don't, fear her at f i r s t and realize the consequen-ces of her power and her thirst for revenge only when i t i s too late. There are Senecan scenes of incantation and calling forth of spirits in this as well as in the other two plays. Medea then is definitely 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, in Dolce's play, Medea's mind is clouded By rage. She feels the poison of the serpent in her veins and is eventually possessed By the Furies who spur her on to murder her children very deliherately and purposefully, although, she does love them. There Is 36 a definite suggestion of temporary insanity and possession by the s p i r i t of revenge and therefore of reduced responsibility i n this play. The Medeas of de Laperuse and Galladei are spurred on -to their crime not only by the Furies, but also by the dismembered ghost of Apsyrtos. In Galladei's play these spi r i t s of revenge are more than just a vision; they are actual characters, although possibly not visible to a l l . The Fury Megara and Apsyrtos appear in the prologue. Apsyrtos is promised revenge of his murder and punishment of his monstrous sister. The Fury and the ghost appear again in Act IV of the play to see how the action is progressing. Apsyrtos complains that a l l are s t i l l alive and appear to enjoy themselves. Megara promises him complete satisfaction and im-mediately drives Medea insane, depriving her of a l l human feelings, so that she w i l l commit her gruesome murders, and they w i l l be able to drag her off to he l l for 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 responsibility i s further diminished by reason of her insanity. De Laperuse and Galladei also follow a Senecan idea in 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. (All quotes from Galladei's Medea are taken from this text.) 37 almost constitute a v a l i d excuse for 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, after a l l , other examples i n Greek mytho-logy- — such as Prokne, for instance - of a mother slaying her son to atone for her brother's death. In no other case though had the o r i g i n a l murder been committed by the mother herself. Only Dolce suggests that Medea was aware of the suffering she i n -f l i c t e d on herself by her deed. In the other plays she does not regard the children as her own anymore and therefore cannot suffer by her deed. Galladei has Medea k i l l the f i r s t son to atone for Apsyrtos, but the second one, after having stabbed him, she beheads and throws the head to Jason as she intends to keep only the "maternal part" of the c h i l d : Ne qui 1'ira i n Medea S i fermo, ma spiccata La testa 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 Togli Giason (gridando) Di cui tu generasti La pui honorata parte, Godi tu 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 for Apsyrtos while she i n s i s t s that the second one must die alone and w i l l 4 not feSfspafed "Non, non, i l mourra: c'est ton sang!" (75) In any case, de Laperuse's Medea appears to lack maternal feelings altogether. She knows not one moment of hesitation, but slaughters her sons with complete J. de Laperuse Medee, i n Le Tresdr des pieces arigoumoisiries, inedltes ou rares, Sd.ciete Archeologique et Historique 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 traitor and an enemy. As she points out to Jason at the end, she did not k i l l them because they are hers, but because they are his: Non, perche non g l i amassi, essendo miei, Anzi hora per dolor mi scoppia i l core, Ma uccisi 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 their love of their children. In both cases the children, too, bemoan their separation from their true and loving mother. However, mother—love is not strong enough to seriously threaten either Medea's revenge. Of the three, Dolce's Medea is 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 a great lady and a queen and now she i s less than a servant: "Non mi dite 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 in this play i s very status-conscious. Creon is not merely afraid of Medea as.a sorceress, but also fears her as a possible threat to his reign: *\ Lodovico Dolce, La Medea, Tragedia, Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari, Viner— fcia, 1560. (All 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, altro marito; Ch'io d± questa cittade, e del mio stato Do parimente a vol perpetuo Bando. CAct II, p. 13) Dolce's Medea also feels a great deal of jealousy which, increases her desire for revenge. Not only does she suggest that Jason just wants a new Bride in his Bed, But she also refers 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 prettier r i v a l , a theme which w i l l Be developed By later 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 legally 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 their social status, none of the Medeas like the thought of Being mocked By their enemies and a l l are more or less isolated. Galladei stays closest to Seneca's image of Medea while de Laperuse's chorus, on the other hand, is more supportive and partisan than even Euripides', realizing only at the end what horriBle crimes their ac-quiescence and silence have made possiBle. However, Medea is always considered to Be different from other women, mainly Because of her supernatural powers and Because of her Birth. 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 effects of Medea's major crime, the child murder, the three plays vary consideraBly 40 and depart in certain instances from the examples set by their predecessors. The Medea of de Laperuse implores the gods in 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 , le Roy, sa femme, et que tousiours ce vice Becquette ses poumons, sans qu'il 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 . Throughout the play the fear for 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 let the children stay, to which he immediately agrees. He is suspicious of her motives in asking for a day's delay in her exile in spite of Medea's reassurance that one day i s not enough for 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 iadis 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: Afin que desormais de moy i l luy souuienne, Et nos pauures enfans comrne siens elie tienne. CAct IV, p. 60/61) To which. Jason surprisingly replies: Cela me plaist tres-hien, et a ce i'apercoy Que ton corroux s'appaise: or scache que le Roy Le trouuera fort Bon. S i tu m'en crois, Medee, Fay que par nos enfans e l i e soit presentee. CAct IV, p. 61) 41 It i s not Medea then who sees to i t that the children are implicated in Creon's and Glauque's murder. It i s also Jason who later convinces a reluctant Glauque to accept the fatal 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 his 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 in order to complete her revenge: On ne dira iamais, courageuse Medee, Que sans te reuanger vn meschant t'ait blessee. Que r e s t e - i l plus, sinon que massacrer les f i l z QCui'avecq' ce desloyal mal-heureuse ie fis? (Act V, p. 73) She does not hesitate for one moment and neither the Furies nor the dismembered ghost of her brother were really needed to spur her on to a crime she was determined to commit anyway. There is 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 flinging the bodies of one child after the other to Jason who witnesses both murders: Tien voila vn des f i l z . Tien, voila 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 unfaithful lovers. Her revenge on Jason was certainly successful as he undoubtedly loved his children. De Laperuse confronts us with, the 42 most cold—blooded and the most inhuman of a l l Medeas so far. Galladei seems to try- to outdo Seneca i n the magnitude of the destruction wrought by Medea. She, however, pays with her l i f e for the success of her revenge. This i s the f i r s t play i n which Medea commits suicide i n her orgy of death and destruction. The outcome of the play 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 with her own l i f e and that of her sons for Apsyrtos' murder. More innocent blood w i l l be s p i l l e d to atone for i n -nocent blood already.shed. The idea of the "vendetta" emerges very strongly i n t h i s play. The murders are not so much planned by Medea as by the Fury who, after Apsyrtos' complaint i n Act IV, intervenes herself to speed up the action. Galladei's Jason, l i k e Seneca's, professes to Medea his love for the children and thereby gives her the idea of hurting him through them. She immediately begs his forgiveness and offers to send the children with g i f t s to Creusa. Only the chorus dis t r u s t s her motives. There i s an even greater insistence on Medea's magical powers - her i n -cantations, spells and curses — which are described at length. The play i s f u l l of e v i l omens also recited with 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 play - are described more than once. For the f i r s t time the children have acting parts and are i n d i v i -dually named and portrayed i n t h i s play. Amazingly enough they express t h e i r deep love for the i r mother along with the fear that they might be punished for the wrong done to her by their father: Chi sa, c h ' e l l a non v o g l i a Noi punir de l a grave Ingiu r i a , che riceve Hoggl dal nostro padre? (Act IV, p. 51} 43 Although, the children are never banished together with t h e i r mother, the younger son, Tersandro, offers to accompany her into e x i l e . Medea, however, declines. She only wants them for the one day granted to her. Having sent the poisoned robe to Creusa, Medea i s not yet sure how she.will 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 drive Medea mad enough to k i l l her children: Che tutta furiosa Divenga, & assai peggio In Corinto de propri F i g l i f a c c i a , d i quello Ch'ella gia fece i n Colco, Del piccolo 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 carry her off t o : : h e l l and her just punishment. In this play, a l l the deaths occur off-stage and are reported i n gruesome d e t a i l to the fascinated chorus by various secondary charac-ters. No sooner has the destruction of Creon, Creusa and the palace been reported, than the nurse rushes on to t e l l of the murder of the children. 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, be-headed 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 her-se l f with the same knife used on her children, thrown herself from the roof and has been led away to h e l l by the waiting Megara and Apsyrtos. Jason then k i l l s himself so that .he can j o i n his children and continue his revenge on Medea i n the other world. F i n a l l y , on the advice of the 4 4 chorus, the old nurse goes to drown herself so that she may not f a l l v i c t i m to the wrath of the Corinthians, leaving the chorus to pray for the quiet and peaceful l i f e i n the hereafter. Dolce, ori the other hand, follows Euripides quite c l o s e l y as far as planning and execution of the crime are concerned. The drama of the ch i l d murder i t s e l f i s heightened, however, by the escape of the children who come to beg the chorus for protection. But Medea just orders the chorus to stand back and drags the children by t h e i r hair into the house and to th e i r death. The p o s s i b i l i t y of danger to the children i s hinted at throughout the play, especially by the nurse who has a dream-premoni-ti o n of events to come. Dolce's Medea i s an even greater master of dissimulation 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 , offers herself as a servant and slave to Creon, just so that her children may stay with their father. She explains to the chorus, however, that she w i l l never l e t the children f a l l into 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 resolution i s not carried through i n the end when Medea, together with her children's bodies, simply vanishes into thin a i r . At one point Medea appears to accept the chorus' advice to k i l l Jason and spare the children whom she loves., but she s t i l l sends them off to Creusa with the f a t a l g i f t s . In this play, her revenge i s i n i t i a t e d before Aegeus ap-pears on the scene and offers her refuge and friendship. Medea loves her children but does not want to see them as servants to the Corinthians or to th e i r future step-Brothers. When she, too, has destroyed not only 45 Creusa and Creon, but with them the palace and many innocent bystanders - although her g i f t s were meant to hurt only Creon and Creusa - she declares herself s a t i s f i e d to die now that her enemies are dead. Sud-denly, however, Medea becomes possessed and i n a f i t of in 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 his misery quickly: 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 col 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 suffer for her murders, but her desire for revenge was greater. On the whole though, Dolce's Medea seems so undecided that, had it.not been for her temporary madness, she probably would never have stayed of the same opinion long enough act u a l l y to k i l l the children. Why and how she disappears at the end of the play, instead of committing suicide as she intended to, 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 Renaissance ver-sions of the Medea-story. The emphasis of Medea's reasons for revenge has shifted 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 implications of the loss 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 that she consciously chooses to do e v i l , knowing f u l l y w e ll that she too w i l l s u f f e r f o r her deed and that she alone bears the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for i t . 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 is siorely provoked By her adversaries who really are quite despicaBle and must carry a large share of the Blame. Medea's revenge, of course, ex-ceeds reasonaBle punishment. In Corneille's play Medea is rejected Because Jason not only finds Creusa more attractive But also Because a match with her has p o l i t i c a l and social advantages. In addition to the usual deeds to save Jason, Medea, at his request, has also rejuvenated Aeson, Jason's father, which gave her the idea for the murder of Pelias. Creon promised asylum to the exiles, But then, when threatened with war By Acastus, traded off Medea in a peace settlement. She has thus Become a p o l i t i c a l pawn. Medea's exile also allows Creon to save Jason and to remove Medea as the one oBstacle to his daughter's love and his own desire for a son-in-law. Medea feels her honour has Been injured Because she has not Been consulted and is used i n a p o l i t i c a l manoeuvre. Furthermore, she cer-tainly has reasons for jealousy. This Creusa i s quite openly and un-aBashedly in love with Jason, so much so that she i s prepared to Break her previous Betrothal to Aegeus, King of Athens, in order to marry the 48 penniless and homeless, But young and handsome Jason. Medea's victims actually play into her hands. There i s l i t t l e need for her to dissimulate, scheme or plan. Creon pronounces her Banishment only for the following day* And Creusa asks for Medea's roBe, of which she has long Been envious, in exchange for 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 appro-priate to her new status as a homeless exile. 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, Si, l a force a l a main, tu l'as sans mon aveu; II faut que par moi-meme elie te soit offerte, Que perdant mes enfants, j'achete encor leur perte; II en faut un hommage a tes divins at t r a i t s , Et des remerciements au vol que tu me fa i s . , (p. 598-9) Under these circumstances no special intrigue i s needed to induce Creusa to wear the fatal g i f t . Corneille's Medea is also extremely proud. She never Begs Creon for the return of Jason. She s t i l l loves Jason and does ask him to at. least keep his faith., i f he cannot keep his loye. When she realizes that he i s lost 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 les dieux. Cp. 595) Pierre Corneille, Medee, in Theatre Complet, Tome I, Editions Gamier Freres, Paris, 1971. (All quotes from Corneille's Medee are taken from this text.) 49_ For Medea their death, thus Becomes necessary not only- to punish. Jason But also to protect Medea's honour. Medea's spell on the roBe Is so that i t w i l l Be fatal only to Creon and Creusa v Thus the test of the roBe which Creon undertakes after he has Been warned aBout Medea's dangerous arts does not reveal i t s fatal propensity. In this play, for the f i r s t time, Creon and Creusa die on stage, consumed By invisiBle f i r e . Both charge Jason with the revenge of their deaths. Medea'ss future is not endangered in 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 in Athens, But also his crown and his hand. Medea has some misgivings aBout k i l l i n g the children - who never actually appear in the play - But then decides that: "II faut qu'il souffre en pere aussi Bien qu'en amant." (p. 610) However, in this play the child murder Becomes an addition to the more important removal of her r i v a l . That the unfortunate children were doomed in any case in the struggle Between their proud and jealous mother and their se l f -seeking father Becomes evident when Jason decides to k i l l the children in revenge for Creusa's death: Instrument des fureurs d'une mere insensee, Indignes rejetons de inon amour passe, Quel malheureus destin vous avait reserves A porter le trepas a qui vous a sauves? C'est vous, petits ingrats, que, malgre l a nature, II me faut immoler dessus leur sepulture Que l a sorciere en vous commence de souffrir; Que son premier tourment soit de vous voir mourir. (p. 616) After Medea's fi n a l taunts and disappearance •— content with her 50 day's work - Jason realizes the extent of his f a i l u r e and his i s o l a t i o n . As he cannot revenge himself on Medea, he, l i k e Galladei's Jason, com-mits suicide, but only so that he may r e j o i n his beloved Creusa. Longepierre's Jason i s even more enamoured with Creusa than Cornellle's. He i s a perfect picture of the love—sick Iiero. l y i n g at his beloved'"s feet. In t h i s play Creusa only admits her love of Jason freely when she i s dying. Creon has arranged the marriage with Jason, but Creusa i s afr a i d of Medea's anger and her supernatural powers, which are minimized by Jason. Medea can tame nature with her great magical powers but she can-not overcome her love for Jason and i s extremely jealous of Creusa. Her sense of honour i s also injured By Jason's betrayal. Again Creon, o'fihLs own accord, offers Medea the day's grace i n her order for e x i l e . Her tone i s very haughty i n her interview with Creon whom she does not ask for any favours. She i s determined to flee i n glory, 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 children. On two occasions she begs Jason for them, but he refuses to give them up. Medea cannot bear the thought of her children enslaved to Creusa's children. She feels she must free them from this dishonourable fate. Deprived of her children, 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 offering the robe which she knows Creusa admires: 51 Tu scais qu'en arrivant en ces funestes lieux, De Creuse eblouie el l e encnanta les yeux. Admirant son eclat et vantant sa richesse, Elle a tout employe, pierre, dons, promesse, Pour pouvoir posseder ce superbe ornement. 7 CP- 81) There i s no doubt therefore that her: gi f t w i l l he accepted. She instructs 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 invisible flames. Creusa dies in Jason's arms, professing her love for the f i r s t and last time, and begging him to live 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 murder-ing her children present i t s e l f f u l l y to Medea. After Creusa's death, Jason, whose inconstancy in 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 ravir leur Maratre, De quelque objet nouveau mon perfide idolatre, 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 les aimes,cruelle, et tu les laisses vivre! Aux malheurs'les plus grands ta foiblesse les l i v r e ^ Et ta kpitie barbare en respectant leurs jours, Du plus affreux destin leur prepare le cours. Cp. 98) Hilaire 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 their 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 suffer, she feels she was a tool used by the gods for 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 leur j u s t i c e et rempli leur 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 torturing Jason as her magic has rooted him to the spot. After her departure, the only revenge l e f t to Jason by the inhuman gods i s suicide. Preferring the useful to the honestys n a s had f a t a l conse-quences for Corneille's and Longepierre's Jason. 53 (5) 18th Century: Lessing, Glover, Cotter and Klinger Lessing Lessing uses the Medea story only as a remote model for his Miss Sara Sampson. His bourgeois tragedy i s , however, the f i r s t Medea play in modern dress. There is no child murder in this play which is not 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 faith in 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 is really good. She is not at a l l responsible for the murder of her children committed in a f i t of madness. The real v i l l a i n of the play is the impious, arro-gant and ambitious Creon, who, together with Jason's father Aeson, com-mands the divorce and the new marriage. Medea has everyone's sympathy, even the gods'. In this play Jason has come to Corinth alone in order to form a military alliance 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, impatient for his return, has followed him with the children to Corinth.. Aeson, who knows that Jason w i l l succumb to Medea's beauty, tries to prevent a meeting between the two. Medea, however,refuses to listen to Jason's assurance of repentence and rejects him. From Creon who treats her in 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 for three hours to prepare for e x i l e . She i s a woman renowned for her wisdom and magical powers which so far she has employed for good only; none of her usual crimes are mentioned i n th i s play. In desperation Medea conjures up Hecate and asks for revenge since the powers of h e l l cannot offer compassion for suffering. Medea feels 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 spite 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 thyself, unhappy, thou p r e v a i l ' s t . Ere night's black wheels begin the i r gloomy course, What, thou dost love, s h a l l perish 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 for Jason again prepared to forgive him. But by now i t i s too l a t e : he has r a t i f i e d h is marriage to Creusa. At this news Medea goes mad; she sees visions and k i l l s her children 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 his heroic image for the f i r s t time - convinces even Aeson of thei r unjust behaviour. Just as Medea comes to her senses again and realizes the enormity of her deed, Jason brings her the news that g Richard Glover, Medea, H. Woodfall, London, 1790. ( A l l quotes from Glover's Medea are taken from this text.) 55 they w i l l flee together. When he hears the awful truth, he not only shows compassion for Medea but assumes the f u l l guilt himself: 0 thou, whose equal balance to mankind Distributes justice, and restoring mercy, If j>ray'rs from this polluted breast may reach Thy pure abode, exert thy righteous powir; Drop thy asswaging pity 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 is transported in the dragon chariot to some mysterious place for atonement. Jason must live to reclaim his father's throne and be a protector to the helpless and homeless: Thus shall the censure which thy f r a i l t y merits, Be changed to blessings on thy gen'rpus deeds, And time's light finger loosen from thy breast Its root of care t i l l peace of mind return. (Act V, p. 98) The blasphemous Creon is disposed of.': by the angry and insulted goddess Juno, and a sad peace returns to Corinth. Glover's Medea then is 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 after Medea's exile. She returns on her dragon chariot to take revenge, yet she cannot decide what her revenge w i l l be. Death seems too light a punishment for Jason, and Creusa has no children by him yet, the thought of her own children occurs therefore from the beginning: "Alles, was ihm zugehoiriti, i s t strafbar - Sein Andenken werde von der Erde vertilgt? -durch dich, Ungliickliche?" (p. 10) She has a vision of Jason's suffering and despair which she Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter, Medea, Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, Gotha, 1775. (All 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. She thinks about taking them with her but fears discovery. They must not be l e f t in enemy hands as a sad fate awaits them. The kindest thing Medea can do for them is 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 is ready to k i l l herself when she hears shouts from the wedding feast? which seem to mock her. Revenge is now unavoidable: "Noch bist du Medea! - Rache dich und stirb dann!" (p. 17) For her crime however, she needs darkness for which she calls on the powers of h e l l who oblige her wish: "Das ganze Theater wird Nacht, und das Ungewitter i s t mit alien seinen Schrecken da." (p. 19) Medea rushes off 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 in "orestischer Raserei", (p. 21) not knowing where he is or what has happened. Creusa has been snatched from his arms and now Medea appears in her chariot, almost invisible at f i r s t and points to the children k i l l e d by her. Medea loved them and k i l l e d them to free them. Jason's curses are ineffective as Medea disappears triumphant in her dragon chariot again. Jason does not dare to touch his children's 57 bodies. Revenge must be l e f t to the gods and th i s Jason, too, has no alternative but to commit suicide. We see thus a Medea who acts quite without plan and k i l l s the children to free them from envisaged slavery and to revenge herself on Jason. Creusa's fate i s never revealed. There i s no indication of humanity i n Medea as she already appears on her dragon chariot at the beginning of the play and as her power over the elements i s demonstrated by her changing day into night. Klingerr In Klinger's Medea i n Korinth fate appears i n the prologue to explain the action to come. Medea and Jason are both part of Aphrodite's revenge plan on Phoebus who revealed her a f f a i r with 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 with Jason. She vo l u n t a r i l y gave up her magic powers for the love of man. But i n Corinth Jason was made to f a l l i n love with Creusa and to reject Medea's passion. Medea, as well as Jason, i s an instrument of Aphrodite's revenge then. Furthermore, Medea i s ordered to k i l l her children by her mother Hecate who demands th e i r blood to atone for the k i l l i n g of Apsyrfcorss and for the death of a baby son Hecate l o s t through negligence while grieving for Apsyrtos. When Medea hesitates to k i l l her children, Hecate hardens her heart and makes her bl i n d to th e i r looks and deaf to their pleas. She also t e l l s her that Jason w i l l probably reject Medea's sons once he has children by Creusa. Medea cannot, therefore, be held f u l l y responsible for these deaths ordained by r i v a l goddesses. 58 Furthermore, Medea is at no time considered to be a human being, although she tries to be just like one. Her greatness i s always fright-ening even in love. Jason now fears her and longs for the love of an ordinary woman: Ich liebe sie nicht mehr, und that ichs je, 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 freywillig gebe, von der ich fordern kann, was sie von mir fordert; die mieh nicht mit eisernen Banden der Nothwendigkeit, der Menschen Underdi"uckeron, fessle. Mich geliistet nach einem Weibe, deren Nerven aus gleichem Thone mit mir gebildet seyen, die schwach und wdeder starker fiihle, und in dieser leichten Mischung mit empfinden lasse, ihre Mutter sey von dem Stoff der meinen. 1-(Act I , p. 169) Medea is feared by a l l even though she has not committed any crimes in Corinth. As a matter of fact Medea shows incredible restraint with Creon, for instance: "Eben darum, dass ich durch einen Wink Dich todten kann, todt' ich Dich nicht." (Act I I , p. 185) With Jason Medea really humbles herself. 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 feel repentance for 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 calls on her mother Hecate and from that moment on the direction of the revenge is taken out of her hands. The children F.M. Klinger, Medea in Korinth, in Werfce, Zweyter T e i l , Verlag'/von Gerhard Fleischer, Leipzig, 1832. (All quotes from Klinger's Medea are taken from this text.) 59 who have been permitted to accompany Medea for 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 for 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 bridal party. Creusa dies instantly from shock, while both Jason and Creon are hounded by the Furies for the rest of their lives for their share of guilt in having broken their oaths ..and the laws of hospitality in rejecting and banishing Medea. Medea, who is beyond the Furies' reach, returns in her dragon chariot to take the children's bodies for burial and Dann f l i e h ' ich von meinen Drachen gezogen in die Felsenhohlen des Kaukasos, starre hin in meiner schrecklichen Grosse, betrachte mich in meinem furchtbaren Selbst!" (Act V, p. 242) The 18th century brings for the f i r s t time in Glover's play a Medea who is good, but there are attempts at excusing or justifying Medea in a l l the plays. The child murder is no longer an act of the conscious w i l l but i s done in a f i t of insanity or on divine command. Medea, although s t i l l of divine origin, i s no longer a witch or a monster. Responsibility shifts on forces outside Medea and Jason: Creon i s the v i l l a i n or the gods and circumstances are to blame. Furthermore, Medea's crime - the murder of the children and of her r i v a l - has become two separate acts. No longer are both deeds necessary to complete Medea's revenge. In the three most,important plays Creusa is 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 injured honour and Medea has become more of a woman - even i f perhaps a rather overwhelming super-woman - than Euripides' Medea with her masculine concepts of honour and ju s t i c e . Jason, although he s t i l l carries a f a i r share of the blame, i s portrayed as being more manly and more responsible, although for 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 of Medea, the stranger and the barbarian, as well 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 setting. The most important innovation of the 18th century, however, i s the trans-formation of Medea from a free agent into a vi c t i m i n Glover's play. The trend to see Medea as a vi c t i m w i l l become even more evident i n the 20th century. 61 (6) 19th Century: Grillparzef, Lucas, Legouve The 19th century brings us one Austrian and two French Medea-plays, of which Grillparzer's i s by far the most outstanding. There is a marked return to the Euripidean treatment of the material and, due to 19th century positicVisjn the preoccupation with the supernatural is diminishing, especially in Grillparzer's and Legouve's plays where the action is entirely on the human level and the motivation for Medea's dreadful deed is psychological rather than mythical. GrilJparzer Grillparzer's Medea is 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 is a being in transition. There i s no possibility 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 tries to be like Creusa - quiet, submissive, kind and gentle - but is bound to f a i l because she lacks Creusa's rather stupid docility and her childish lack of feeling and understanding. Medea is a woman, clever, wise and passionate, who cannot exist within the self-imposed confines of the dutiful 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 his favourite childhood song, she fu l l y realizes her isolation. There is neither past nor future for her. There is only the present, and she now battles for the survival of her true self. As long as Medea s t i l l has her children, a l l is not lost. But these 62 now prove to be true sons of their father. They reject her for Creusa and the comfort and ease of their new l i f e . It is an innovation G r i l l -parzer brings to the Medea story to let the children choose whether to follow their mother into exile or stay with their father, and they prove that man can be bribed by the good things in l i f e at a very early age. This lack of loyalty to Medea stands in marked contrast to Galladei's children one of whom voluntarily offered to follow Medea into exile. For Grillparzer's Medea, rejection i s thus twofold: as a wife and as a mother. Life now has lost a l l meaning for her. In her experience i t is only suffering and misery. Although she seems to hesitate before k i l l i n g the children, she does not feel remorse for her crime, because the children are really the lucky ones. Through their death they have been saved from the dreariness of existence while Medea, and Jason are condemned to li v e . The real tragedy is l i f e , not death: Nicht traur' ich, dass die Kinder.night Tsehr sind, Ich traure, dass sie waren und dass wir sind. 1 1 (p. 7 2) i i Medea's feelings for her children seem to be a mixture of hatred for their father, whom she sees in 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 let her abandon her children to the enemy. She, like Euripides' Medea, k i l l s the children in cold blood. Theie is no insanity, no supernatural constraint, nor are there 1 1 Franz Grillparzer, Medea, in Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Franz Grillparzer: Medea, Ullstein Biicher, Frankfurt/M,,1966. (All quotes from Grillparzer's Medea are taken from this text.) 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 suffering she i s i n f l i c t i n g on herself, but she accepts them. Her l a s t words to Jason: "Trage! Dulde! Biisse!" (p. 73) have a very Christian ring to them. They also seem to indicate that through the intensity of her suffering and despair, and despite the enormity of her deed, Medea has attained a new resigned dignity. By returning the Golden Fleece to Delphi and submitting herself to the verdict of the oracle, Medea has f i n a l l y made the t r a n s i t i o n to Greek c i v i l i z a t i o n . The barbarian i n her would seem to have been destroyed by the enormity of her deed, and she has attained the quiet resignation she vainly 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 r e j o i n the world of the supernatural with the triumph of her revenge, but has submitted herself to the w i l l of the gods and the fate of ordinary humans, that i s to the suffering arid hopelessness of existence. Medea's e a r l i e r crimes are minimized i n this play. She seems to be innocent of her brother's death who committed suicide rather than stay i n cap-t i v i t y as Jason's hostage. There are three different versions of how Pelias died of which hers - which would prove her innocent - i s not the least convincing. Medea has been wronged, humiliated and rejected, yet she i s only able to take her dreadful revenge when she regains pos-session of the Golden Fleece - the symbol of human greed, ambition and e v i l - which she had buried upon a r r i v a l i n Corinth. The return of the Fleece to Delphi where i t had been stolen seems tbocomplete the cycle 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 dignity and appears far less g u i l t y than many previous Medeas, although she i s prepared to expiate her crime. She, unlike 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 for what i t r e a l l y i s : Was 1st der Erde Glxick? - Ein Schatten! Was i s t der Erde Ruhm? - Ein Traum! Du Armer! Der von Schatten du getraumt! Der Traum i s t aus, a l l e i n die Nacht noch nicht. (p. 73) Lucas The Medea of Lucas i s rather conventional and tends to follow a variety of previous versions of the story, bringing 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 withithe children, 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 arrive i n Corinth to find 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 with Medea, i n spite 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 trust her feigned calm and assurances of goodwill. Jason, however, fears for his children's fate, 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 this play Medea has committed a l l previous crimes and coldly admits them as she feels the world i s f u l l of si m i l a r deeds: for her destruction 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 for Medea's asylum i n Athens with Aegeus who>has just landed i n the harbour of Corinth. The wedding procession therefore starts without Creon, but i s halted by Medea who expresses her wish to hand over her husband person-a l l y to Creusa and even offers her children to her protection. The poisoned cloak and t i a r a are put on Creusa by Medea herself. 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 for doing so are not convincing. There r e a l l y seems no need for this deed i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r play. I t i s n ' t surprising therefore that she changes her mind and decides to take them with her on to Aegeus' ship. Jason worries about his 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 af-fected by the flames because Medea's magic protects him so ...that he may continue to l i v e and suffer. Suddenly, Medea reappears, having k i l l e d the children i n a nearby temple instead of making for the safety of Aegeus' ship. Her magic stops Jason and his soldiers and the curtain f a l l s on Jason's f i n a l curse. In t h i s play the motivation for 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 for revenge. However, there i s no int e r n a l struggle, no necessity or humiliated pride overcoming mother-love. The children 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 children, nor does she s a c r i f i c e them to atone for her brother's 66 death. I t i s simply a cold-blooded and completely unnecessary murder which doesn't even have the desired effect of destroying Jason. Legbuve Legouve's Medea i s much closer to Gril l p a r z e r ' s - a woman much wronged and misunderstood.' Worn out, cold and starving, Medea and her children arrive i n Corinth i n search of Jason. They are offered food and. shelter by Creusa, who on the eve of her marriage i s trying to appease the goddess Diana. The augurs for her proposed marriage to Jason, who has convinced Creon and his daughter that Medea deserted him, have been frightening. The two women f e e l great sympathy for 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 pride, hearing from Orpheus that Jason l i v e s , do the two women rea 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 his daughter's marriage i n spite of Creusa's pleas and Jason's threats. Creon i s concerned for Medea's safety. Also when Medea begs for her children he supports her su i t . Only i f she gives up Jason w i l l i n g l y w i l l Creon give his consent to the new marriage. Medea eventually gives i n thinking to keep at least the children. Jason,efinally;f allows Medea to choose one of them to follow her into e x i l e . However, her love for them makes a choice im-possible and she asks for the children 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 possible return to misery and starvation with a 67 a mother whose wild moods they fear, they too cannot tear themselves from the haven which Creusa and Corinth represent for 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 feels that Creusa has stolen the children's af-fection 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 children, after 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 ungrateful, and now reservest for me, as crowning blow, a torture dire and atrocious, invented with malignant a r t , for me, the sight of mine own children deserting ge for thee! Oh gods! No more, no more! (p. 31) 1 2 Jason's victory i s complete now, because even her sons are no longer hers. In utter despair she resolves t o l v k i l l Creusa and the children 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 actually holds the children i n her arms she cannot commit the murder. She realizes that t h e i r very gratitude to Creusa for saving t h e i r l i v e s causes thei r ingratitude towards thei r mother. In this play, Medea i s actually given a chance to flee with her children. 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 the'infuriated and bloodthirsty c i t i z e n s of Corinth, she k i l l s the children rather than l e t t i n g them f a l l into enemy hands. Medea's further fate i s l e f t unre-solved. The curtain f a l l s on her standing with raised dagger over her Ernest Legouve, Medea, translated from the I t a l i a n version of Monta-n e l l i by Thomas Williams, 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 their 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 hints of a possible friendship between the two women. Creusa, however, becomes g u i l t y by not only stealing Jason's but also the children's affec t i o n and therefore, must die. The children also gain i n importance again and t h e i r betrayal of the i r mother lessens her g u i l t . In general there i s a return to psychological motivations and Euripides Medea from a preoccupation with the supernatural i n t r o -duced by Seneca. Creon generally i s seen i n a far more sympathetic l i g h t while Jason remains a coward and an opportunist. Medea i s the one, however, who gains most i n stature and dignity as she once again assumes f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for 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 triumph of Euripides' play. 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 in the Medea-story with at least nine plays so far. Although the treatment of the material is quite divergent, there are some trends and interests which are common to many of the plays. There is generally a strong interest in the social aspectj-of Medea's predicament as a stranger and barbarian amongst the Greeks. In these post-Freudian plays personal responsibility and guilt are often diminished as the blame shifts from the individual 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 is doomed because of social pressures rather than because of personal failings. Death is often seen as the only escape from an impossible situation in 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 in the later plays. Only these three plays w i l l therefore be discussed in greater detail. In spite of their diversity, Jahnn's Medea, Lenormand's Asie and Anderson's The. Wingless Victory also show some remarkable similarities. In a l l three plays, as in many later ones, Medea's "otherness" is made visible by portraying her as being of a d i f -ferent race: Mack, in Jahnn's play, and Asiatic in. the other two. Furthermore, the horror of the child murder is 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 old, ugly and fat negress while Jason has retained his youth and beauty thanks to Medea's magic powers. These powers are limited however: she can foresee the future but not i n t e r -pret i t ; she can wrest favours from the gods for her loved ones but not for herself. Out of love for Jason Medea, who i s of divine 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 this temporary immortality has brought l i t t l e happiness to Medea's family. Jason not only retains the i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of youth, but i s embarrassed by his growing sons who become his r i v a l s i n looks and strength. The children 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 afraid that he w i l l never grow, but turn into a dwarf on his mother's death. Apart from their preoccupation with age, a l l characters i n this play are i n the sway of the i r senses which seem to be the main ac t i v a t -ing forces i n t h e i r l i v e s . The younger son - Medea's favourite - loves his older brother but i s rejected by the l a t t e r a fter he has f a l l e n i n love with Creon's daughter. Medea i s delighted with 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 his wedding night. Jason, however, agrees only reluctantly to intercede with Creon on his son's behalf. Out of p i t y he also promises himself to Medea for the coming night. He has neglected her because he obviously 71 finds her physically repellent. Medea, who had been gloomy and depressed, rejoices. At f i r s t she refuses to believe the messenger who comes to invite 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 his "white" daughter to a man of mixed race. In this play Jason's betrayal of Medea is threefold: he broke his marriage vows and his promise for the. coming night and further cheated Medea out of witnessing her son's wedding night. Jason, in his youthful egotism, w i l l always choose immediate self-gratification over his marital and paternal duties. He is bothered by the 4EiY£§ which rule him but he cannot help himself: Befreiung, Befreiung aus dem Joch, in das mieh ungestalte Triebe spannen! Vor Richtern mocht ich stehn, die mieh dem Tode weihn. 1 (p. 633)1"3 But as Medea refuses either to let him age or k i l l him, and as her magic holds no spell to make him faithful to her, he must always follow his 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 - for which she has sacrificed her own immortality and beauty. Jason, sensing only the humiliation of his dependence curses his quest for the Fleece and Hans Henhy Jahnn, Medea in Dramen I, Europaische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt am Main, 1963. (All quotes from Jahnn's Medea are taken from this text.) 72 immortality. He decides to have no longer any part of Medea, her past crimes and her future fate. After 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 point, Medea realizes that the end i s near and that the dark premonitions which have troubled her for 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 rin g . Her plan cannot f a i l . She only needs to wait for news from the palace and i n the meantime make sure that her sons are safe within her reach. The older boy, h a l f -crazed by the rejection of his love, holds the younger one in"a murderous embrace when Medea runs her sword through both of them. They smile as they die; l i f e had become impossible for them. With t h i s deed Medea has cancelled her marriage to Jason. The children are now hers alone: Mein sind die Kinder j e t z t ! Der Leib i s t mein, denn seine Schonheit hab ich Helios abgetrotzt. Tot nur i s t Jason Same«, Der Knaben Bildiing lebt als Gott mit GSttern. (p. 661) Jason remembers his children too late and Medea refuses even to l e t him see them. He has been completely destroyed. His search for immortality has ended i n death: 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 for revenge i s not yet fu l l y satisfied. Jason's youth is to be as accursed as her age. He is doomed to live a slave to his senses, but his seed w i l l bring death and force him to li v e a nameless fugitive and beggar. Medea herself disappears with her sons' bodies in a f i n a l triumph of death and destruction. Having k i l l e d the last vestiges of her love which bound her to humanity she has become as merciless and cruel as the gods she rejoins: Gesorgt fur uns hat sie, wie Gotter sorgen. Ein stinkend Loch, in dem betasten wir uns konnen. (p. 666) Lenormand's Medea play Asie takes place in the 20th century, on a boat returning from Indochina andijffiEran'ce, Medea here is 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 un t i l they were ousted and De Mezzano decided to return to France for his children's sake as well as his own. The Princess ac-companies him because he feared he would not have been allowed to leave alone. Once in France he intends to regain power in the kingdom through industrial and economic means. De Mezzano and his wife have not seen their sons for three years. 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 is caused by their 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 their new Christian names and upbringing. From the beginning there is aeverynuneven battle between the parents for the children's love and loyalty. Each tries to stamp out the other's part in them and make them wholly of one race. However, their childish curiosity 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 Listrac, daughter of an influential colonial o f f i c i a l . She f a l l s in love with him and for De Mezzano she embodies a l l that home, country and race had ever meant to him. He wants to escape his past and find a new lease on l i f e : Je m'eloigne du monde jaune comme de l a pour-riture, dont i l a l'odeur. Je l u i echappe comme a l a mort, dans une joie de revivre dont je ne me croyais pas capable....Vous etes 1'Europe, vers qui je me precipite 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 con-sider them truly 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 his conscience, De Mezzano plans to send H. -R. Lenormand, Asie, in Theatre Complet, IX, Editions Albin Michel, Paris, 1938. (All 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 in her backward country. To her, however, this constitutes a double betrayal. He has not only betrayed her but now 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 palais, on entendra le pic et l a hache. II m'a rendu mon dernier refuge inhabitable. II a souille mon pays, comme l'ame de mes enfants! , , .., „N (p. 113) Because of Katha-'s threats against Aimee she i s served with a deportation order but by feigning reason and docil i t y she manages to obtain a ten-day delay to say farewell to her children. This, she feels 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 is their fate sealed. He has himself pronounced their death sentence. Once the children are dead,De Mezzano w i l l never marry Aimee: Je serai l a main, l a fleche et le poison. Quant a. e l i e , l a blonde Europe, qu'elle vive, pour le voir delirer de desespoir. l i s sont perdus l'un pour l'autre. II n'epousera pas celle qui aura cause la mort de ses enfants! ., (p. 113) Mother love, however, almost overcomes the desire for revenge. But when she realizes that the children are losttboher already, that the machine age has them firmly in i t s grip and that their father is k i l l i n g her image in their hearts, Katha decides that she must liberate at least their souls. As long as they l i v e , her children w i l l always be divided one half the enemy of the other one - betraying what is not of European 7£ o r i g i n within them. Her children must not become slaves to Western c i v i l i z a t i o n : Non, i l s ne deviendront pas les domestiques des monstres qui mangent l'espace! I l s n'inventeront pas de machines. I l s ne tireront pas de leurs cervelles ces cauchemars de roues, de g r i f f e s et d'eclairs. Je sauverai l'ame que je leur a i donnee! (p. 120) However, i t i s the song of the nuns rather than her tales of gods and dragons which l u l l s them peacefully into t h e i r l a s t sleep. Even i n death the children are not wholly hers. Their bodies are l e f t behind for 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 ecstatic vvi'sim Katha asks the setting sun, her mythical ancestor, to send his f i e r y chariot for her and throws herself out of the window to her death. Her nurse looks for her i n the glow of the sunset, ignoring the shattered body on the ground. Anderson moved his Medea out of the c l a s s i c a l setting into p u r i t a n i c a l Salem of the early 19th century. Nathaniel McQueston, the Jason of t h i s play, returns to his native town and his impoverished family with his wife, the South Sea Princess Oparre, and their two daugh-ters i n a ship loaded with spices from the Orient. While Nathaniel and his wealth are welcomed by family and friends, Oparre and her children are shunned and ostracized as "blackamoors." Their presence i s tolerated only at Nathaniel's insistence. Behind Nathaniel's back the elders and his clergyman brother Phineas conspire against him as they resent the power of his wealth. When they discover that Nathaniel's t i t l e to the ship, might have been acquired through an act of piracy, he i s given the 77 choice of standing t r i a l or of sending Oparre and the children away from Salem. If he chooses to leave with them, he must for f e i t a l l his wealth. Although Nathaniel wavers at f i r s t he chooses wealth, security and social acceptance over his love of Oparre. Confronted with Oparre's unquestioning love and loyalty he changes his mind again. But when she offers to go alone, he accepts although he knows that with her goes what was best in him. Nathaniel, defeated by the pressures of society, knows that their parting w i l l be f i n a l . He is too weak to defend his love and his convictions. Deeply hurt, but s t i l l loving and loyal, Oparre blames the failure of their 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. Her nurse freely follows them into death. For 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 is 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 their deaths by which she intends to set him free. However, Nathaniel realizes only too late that the past cannot be denied and that a man needs his self-respect more than he needs his possessions. He arrives on the ship Maxwell Anderson, The Wingless Victory, Anderson.House, Washington, D.C., 1936. (All quotes from Anderson's The Wingless Victory are taken from this text.) 78 only to find his children dead and Oparre dying. He accepts his g u i l t for which he w i l l atone u n t i l he i s reunited with 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 play, 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 beautiful r i v a l , sexual jealousy i s of paramount importance as a motive for Medea's crime. For both Lenor-mand and 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 society rather than her r i v a l for her husband's love which poses the r e a l threat to Medea. Lenormand's Aimee i s an "old maid" of 27, while Anderson's Faith 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 children and her r i v a l . In the other two plays only the children 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 children become completely hers i n death. Lenormand's Katha t r i e s to free her children's souls from enslavement to the European c i v i l i z a t i o n . She cannot succeed completely though as even the children'^ have been "corrupted" by C h r i s t i a n i t y . Katha's deed, however, inspires 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 for her crime. Aimee's l i f e i s spared because she w i l l lose De Mezzano i n any case. Oparre not only frees the children from a future as slaves or pros t i t u t e s , but with t h i s f i n a l act sets Nathaniel free. 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 social acceptance. Nathaniel's love is undermined, a l -most turned to hatred by the isolation forced on him by the ostracism through the people of Salem. As the deaths have become an act of se l f -sacrifice Oparre's deed i s no longer horrifying. As a matter of fact she towers over the people of Salem by her nobility and selflessness. Her "barbarity" stands in sharp contrast to the heartlessness and cruelty of the " c i v i l i z e d " Christians of Salem. (b) after 1945: Jeffers, Anouilh, Csokor, Alvaro, Braun, Magrtuson The lack of consensus in the treatment of Medea's crime which was already apparent in the f i r s t three plays of the 20th century becomes more pronounced in the most recent plays. There i s Anouilh's Medea, for instance, whose cold-blooded murder of her children i s only equalled by Laperuse's and Lucas' Medeas. Jeffers' and Braun's Medeas are also quite horrifying women who k i l l in a passion of sexual frustra-tion and hatred. In this respect these three plays certainly 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 is again a noble and proud woman who may be guilty but who s t i l l arouses our sympathy and has nothing in common with the Sehecan witch. The two extremes in portrayal are probably Anouilh.' s Medee and Alvaro' s La lunga riotte di  Medea. In Alvaro's play Medea k i l l s her children to save them from an enraged mob of Corinthiansswhich has already tried to stone them. Nor is i t sure whether Medea actually tried to murder Creusa. The gifts are never accepted or worn because Creon suspects Medea's motives in sending 80 them. A mere rumour of Creusa's- death, i s already- enough to turn the populace against the innocent children of the hated Medea, wh_o had come to Corinth to find peace and a quiet l i f e far 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 ascertain 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 sli g h t e s t provocation to give way to her unbridled passions. She, l i k e J e f f e r s ' and Braun's Medeas, has already a long criminal career behind her and refuses to break the chain of e v i l and violence. Unlike Jason, she w i l l not compromise and affirm l i f e . She finds her end i n an orgy of f i r e and destruction which engulfs her and her children. Perhaps i t should be noted at this point that the 20th century preoccupation with the violent aspects of the Medea story equals and perhaps even surpasses that of the Renaissance. The destructive 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 with which i t i s turned against Medea perself. There i s un-doubtedly a death-wish already i n Euripides' Medea, but for the f i r s t time since Galladei's play Medea k i l l s herself again, although i n Anderson's play the suicide 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 Galladei's, Anouilh's and even Lenormand's Medeas. In Braun's play Medea does not actually commit suicide but has degenerated into an animal-like state of insanity which would seem worse than death, while Alvaro's Medea faces the mob ready to die. Only J e f f e r s ' 81 and Magnuson's Medeas exit triumphant, unscathed and unscorned, the i r revenge successful and thei r pride redeemed. In J e f f e r s ' , Braun's and Magnuson's plays Medea's deed also leads to scenes of general destruct-iveness such as r i o t i n g , looting and r e b e l l i o n . Medea's revolt thus spreads to the c i t y which i s l e f t masterless after 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 aid of embattled Corinth. Although Csokor's Anna carries out her revenge successfully, she does not gloat over Peter's defeat at the end. Her own suffering and punishment are probably greater than h i s . She has however become resigned and gained insight and a new dignity through her suffering. She k i l l s her unborn c h i l d to protect i t from the corruption of his father's world. Her revenge on Peter i s the destruction of her r i v a l Dora and not the child-murder. Alvaro's Medea experiences no triumph of revenge either as she k i l l s the children to spare them from a worse death and i s ready to die i n expiation of her crime. For Anouilh's and Braun's Medeas, revenge i s self-destructive. Both are defeated at the end of the play. While the 20th century brings the most ho r r i f y i n g as well as the most excusable murders of the children, an attempt i s made i n most of these plays to find some excuse for Medea's crime, be i t insanity, lack of a l l human emotions, sexual f r u s t r a t i o n or a desire to protect them. Csokor's Anna i s the only one who cannot claim extenuating circumstances and who most closely resembles Euripides' Medea i n the clear-sighted execution of her deed. The element of revenge i s less important i n th i s play than the deep sense of betrayal 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 lik e a man at Peter's side, only to find herself Betrayed By Peters easy compromise with l i f e 1 * expectations. War has forced an unnatural way of l i f e on her, has hardened and aged her prematurely, and now the Battle i s won, she is asked to step aside for the pleasure-seeking and pampered Dora. Peter, in his desire for self-gratification, even Betrays his unBorn child — Anna's one means to Become a woman like any other again. •Individual happiness is no longer possiBle for Anna. The child's conception was rooted in guilt and after Peter's Betrayal i t can no longer l i v e But must die in expiation of his parents' guilt, while Anna must dedicate the rest of her l i f e -to the homeless and mother-less. Anna is as f u l l y aware of the consequences of her deed as Euripides' Medea. Only for Anna the element of self-punishment is greater than the desire for revenge, at least as far as the death of the child 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 in the handling of Medea's crime a l -though an attempt i s usually made to find extenuating circumstances which, in some instances,, almost free Medea from Blame altogether. How-ever, there are s t i l l plays in which Medea ends in a Blaze of destruction. No writer, whatever the merits of his play, seems to have Been aBle to equal Euripides' feat of presenting us with a Medea who is Both great 83 and.^horrihle, who strikes usr with, awe Because she consciously and deliberately 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 feelings of mother love to revenge her injured honour. Many writers have come close to the Euripideao model, But his 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 level, Euripides changed not only their image but also the relationship between them. We have already seen that Euripides placed very l i t t l e emphasis on Medea's knowledge of black magic. She is seen as a woman rather than as a witch or a semi-divine being. Only at the end, after her ancestor Helios has come to her rescue, does she show her prophetic powers by foretelling Jason's future. Her former d!ee.ds,with the exception of the murder of Pelias, are regarded far more as heroic exploits than as the machinations of a sorceress. However, i t i s obvious that Medea is not an ordinary woman, in spite of the fact that she sets out to convince the Corinthian women that she is just like them. Jason is 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 his l i f e and helped him to obtain the Golden Fleece. Medea's actions are always of great and heroic dimension. She is undoubt-edly more intelligent than most of the people she encounters. However, the most significant feature in which she differs from the other Greek women i s that she thinks and acts lik 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 in 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 just the opposite, One who can hurt my enemies and help my friends; For the l i v e s of such persons are most remembered. (1. 807-810) While for an ordinary Greek woman i t would have been the most honourable aim not to draw any attention to herself, be it for good or e v i l , Medea cannot bear to go unnoticed. Just as she did not meekly wait to be a l -lotted a suitable husband, so she w i l l not meekly suffer rejection from the man of her choice. As a wife, 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 Pe l i a s , a l l to help the man she loves. As long as her love i s returned, she places Jason and his interests above a l l else. She does not even shrink from crime, i f she feels i t to be to his advantage. She i n s i s t s , however, upon her conjugal rights and his absolute f i d e l i t y : Jason must be hers exclusively. As he i s a l l she has and a l l that matters to her, his faithfulness and lo y a l t y are essential to her l i f e . With Jason's desertion, Medea loses her faison d'etre and turns into the revengeful fury we see at the end of the play. As long as Jason remained f a i t h f u l , she could l e t him bask i n his glory as the hero and leader of the Argonauts, even though a great deal of the credit was due to her. His honour was her honour; his glory reflected on her. With the di s s o l u -tion 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 destruction. 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 return, she demands complete lo y a l t y . 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 kiss them. Oh the dear hands, and 0 how dear are these lips to me, And the generous eyes and the bearing of my children! I wish you happiness, but not here in this world. What is 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. She loves them for their warmth, their tenderness and their innocence. She has been looking forward to seeing them grow up: Before I have seen you happy and taken pleasure in 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) Until Jason's desertion Medea's relationship with her children seems to have been a good one. The children certainly 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. It is only when Medea's honour is injured, and they become the necessary tools of her plans for revenge, that herllove for them cannot overcome her fury at her rejection by their father. Nevertheless, she feels deep sorrow and regret for the children's death, both before and after the deed, which stands in sharp contrast to her p i t i l e s s attitude towards Creon and his 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 is this awareness of Medea as a loving mother which makes her murder of the children so horrifying. Again, i f Medea had been a man 87 whose honour had been injured, her revenge might s t i l l be considered extreme and the infa n t i c i d e a crime, but the deed would not have been as revolting as i t i s committed by a woman and mother. There i s a r e a l dilemma i n Medea's duality. I f she has been accepted as a human being, a wife and a mother, whose pl 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 calculating child-murderess, un-less we point to her loss of humanity at the close of the play. Her deed just does not seem to be humanly possible. This i s one of the problems a l l of the l a t e r playwrights have wrestled with i n their Medea interpretations. While Medea emerges from Euripides' treatment of the story as an almost overdimensional and ce r t a i n l y complex figure of heroic stature, the same certa i n l y cannot be said for Jason. Looking, at his previous exploits as leader of the Argonauts i n the l i g h t of what happens i n this play, we must question his i n t e g r i t y and his c r e d i b i l i t y as a hero. Euripides has successfully reduced him from a splendid hero to an ordinary human being who c r a f t i l y exploits 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 within his rights when he repudiated Medea and her children i n order to marry Creon's daughter. Marriage between a Greek and a foreigner - i n this 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 relationship, 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 ce r t a i n l y regards herself as Jason's lawful 88 wife, but she only refers to the oaths he swore. This might have been no more than a private pact between them, l i k e the oaths by which Medea la t e r seeks to bind Aegeus to his promise of refuge. This scene with Aegeus serves, however, to stress 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 children would be considered i l l e g i t i m a t e and non-Greek. Legally therefore, Euripides' Jason i s j u s t i f i e d i n acting as he does. Morally, probably not even the f i f t h century all-male audience could approve of his behaviour. This i s brought out by the chorus who keepY i n s i s t i n g that, i n spite of his arguments and ra t i o n a l i z a t i o n s and i n spite of the severity of his punishment, Jason has done wrong and must blame himself for the consequences: Heaven, i t seems, on this 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 his incredible self-righteousness than because of his perjury. Although he cannot be considered to be bad - he lacks greatness for that - and a l -though his punishment i s too severe for what he has done, i t i s prac-t i c a l l y impossible to f e e l sympathy for him. P i t y , perhaps, because he 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: 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 primarily concerned for himself only; a materialist who grabs at any chance to improve his economic condition. Another strikjhggfeature of Jason i s his vanity. Not only i s he convinced that Aphrodite personally cares about him and has compelled 89 Medea to save his l i f e , but he also feels that his 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 in his assessment of her too, as i s borne out by the messenger's report: It was only on seeing the dress that Creusa agreed to Jason's proposals. As Medea rightly surmised "gold does more with men than words." (1. 965). Euripides' Jason is a'shallow and rather despicable character. He breaks his oaths to the gods; he repays love and favours with ingratitude and banishment; and he is willing to abandon those that depend on his protection when they have become a nuisance to him. His overall beha-viour casts serious doubts on the greatness of his 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 for the welfare of his family, he is not a very admirable man and certainly not a hero. Besides i f he was so certain of the rightness of his cause, why did this new mar-riage have to be arranged and concluded in secrecy from Medea? Nor can Jason have been a very satisfactory husband to a woman like Medea. He turns out to be the weaker partner in every respect. His self-rightenous rationalizations do not stand up to the force of her passion, nor do his calculating arguments make an impression on her supe-rior i n t e l l e c t . It would appear that Medea must always have been the more dominant.and forceful of the two. Jason certainly does not seem to understand Medea with her passionate love, her fierce loyalty and her ao. overwhelming sense of honour. Or otherwise how could he offer her money when she wanted absolute faithfulness? How could he believe in her sudden meek acquiescence to his plans, i f he were not totally blind to the real Medea? Jason's g u l l i b i l i t y in his second encounter with Medea seems to know no bounds. He has to be incredibly insensitive and self-satisfied not to become suspicious of the terrifying irony in Medea's words: I should have helped you in these plans of yours, Have joined in the wedding, stood by the marriage bed, Have taken pleasure in 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 like us in this, Nor be foolish in return when we are foolish. (1. 886-891) As far as his i n f i d e l i t y goes, Jason accuses Medea of an extreme interest in the sexual aspects of l i f e , disregarding the expediencies which mo-tivate him. He protests time and again that his interest in his new bride is not sexual, but merely p o l i t i c a l , and he probably believes this himself. However, after his 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 their children merely "for the sake of pleasure in the bed." (1. 1338) Nor is Jason very convincing as a loving father. He does not seem to have any scruples about letting his children go into exile with Medea, apart from a wish to ease their financial needs. It 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 his 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 his only legitimate and Greek progeny. It is 91 not surprising therefore that Medea i s not impressed by his arguments that he has concluded t h i s new match for the benefit of t h e i r children. Medea's children 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 benefit from t h e i r father's improved sit u a t i o n when they are banished from Corinth? I t i s Medea who eventually, for reasons of her own, suggests that the children 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 children stay, but when Medea plays on his vanity i n sug-gesting his new bride might grant him this wish, he i s confident of success. Only when Jason realizes that the children are a l l he has l e f t does he rush to t h e i r rescue. But his concern for the children has come too l a t e . Now that Medea has destroyed him and his house, his father-love makes i t s e l f manifest and he longs to touch and k i s s them. He did not ask to see them and bid them farewell when he knew they were to be exiled. Medea, however, refuses him access to them nor does she allow him the right to bury and mourn them. She feels that, 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 grief i s more for himself and the destruction of his house or for the children themselves. But not even i n his defeat does Jason become a tragic figure, because he has gained no insight. His curses and his lamentations at the end are as pathetic and f u t i l e as the rest of his l i f e appears to have been. I t 92 seems to be Jason's fate always to be overshadowed by Medea who is of truly heroic and tragic stature. An interesting aspect about this ill-assorted couple is their apparent male-female role reversal, to which the chorus refers already quite early on in the play: Flow backward to your sources, sacred rivers, And let the world's great order be reyersed. It is the thoughts of men that are deceitful, Their pledges that are loose. Story shall now turn my condition to a fai r one, Women are paid their due. No more shall evil-sounding fame be theirs. (1. 410-420) Medea uses deceit i n f u l l consciousness of her ultimate aims directed against her enemies. There is not a trace of female meekness, subservience or dependence in her. She takes f u l l responsibility for her actions and is willing to bear their 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 credit for success but failure is always blamed on others. Jason i s deceitful, secretive and vol a t i l e in his affections. His new marriage is plotted in secrecy unt i l he has the f u l l support of the authorities behind him. Although Medea is very devious in encounters with her en-nemies, she is direct and truthful in her statements to the Corinthian Women whom she trusts. Jason also seems to have a vanity generally as-cribed to women, which Medea lacks. She, in turn, has the pride and the sense of honour which i s not found in Jason. There i s no doubt that the misunderstanding between the spouses i s mutual. Medea must have 93 fooled herself with a g i r l i s h image of a Greek hero, or Jason's desertion would not have come as quite such a shock and surprise to her. Once her eyes are opened, she soon realizes his 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 for revenge which his idesertion aroused i n Medea nor does he seem to have learnt anything once i t has been unleashed. F i r s t , he accuses Medea of being a sex fiend, 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 reversal of th e i r respective situations. Jason, self-assuredly r e j o i c i n g i n his good fortune at the beginning of the play turns into 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 wild lamentations and curses are heard at the start of the play, turns into a jeering woman exulting i n her triumph of destruction. Nevertheless, there i s one thing Jason and Medea share at the end of the play. While Medea at f i r s t resented and cursed the children along with herself and Jason, and Jason was p l a i n l y i ndifferent to them, they now both share i n th e i r grief over their death. However instead of uniting themrtheifesuffering only serves to drive them further apart with mutual accusations and recriminations. Suffering turns out to be a destructive force for both Medea and Jason. 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. Jason's appear-ance is very short and sketchy. He is too shadowy and insignificant a figure to leave the impression of a definite personality. Medea, herself, i s not subject to the laws of nature and to fate like ordinary mortals. "Fortune has always stood inferior to me," (p. 381) she proudly proclaims. She has a l l the attributes of a destructive force of nature, or of a nightmare haunting Jason's l i f e , a demonic curse from which he cannot escape. 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 rightly belongs to her and which Creon and his daughter are steal-ing from her. Jason is her prize, of which she w i l l not let go, no matter how he himself feels about i t . Very l i t t l e real love for him thus enters her considerations. Throughout the play, Medea is 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 responsibility 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 lost 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 for herself: Of the leader of leaders I say nothing; for him there is no debt, him I charge to no one's account. The others I brought back for you; Jason, for myself. (p. 373) Although Medea keeps stressing her rights to Jason more than her love for him, i t is clear that her interest in him is not yet over. She tries 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 flee with her. It is only when Medea f i n a l l y realizes that because of his fears and his weariness Jason is definitely lost to her that her f u l l rage breaks loose. Her feelings for Jason, whatever they may be, certainly 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 is quickly overcome by her anger: Here, dear children, sole solace of a house over-thrown, come here and fuse your limbs with mine in close embrace. Your father may have you un-harmed, provided your mother, too, may have you. But exile and flight 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 lost to their mother; let them be lost to their father. (p., 392) Because they are Jason's children, Medea loves them as long as he is hers and disowns them when he is no longer hers: "I resign them, disclaim them, disown them!" (p. 381) Although Medea seems to be briefly aware of the f u l l horror of her proposed crime, she feels the children must pay the price for their father's i n f i d e l i t y : "Children once mine, you must pay the price for your father's wickedness." (p. 391) She is so successful in suppressing any motherly feeling in her, that 96 i n the fury of her revenge she even regrets she has not more children 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 for vengeance, but two I did bear... (p. 392) For the Senecan Medea, unlike 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 start to f i n i s h ; k i l l i n g her children i s just one further 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 his Euripidean predecessor. Gone are his smugness, his complacency and his hunger for power and s o c i a l status. We find here already a hint 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 his 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: "Are you sure you do not covet them?" (p. 382) Because a l l the e v i l i s concentrated i n Medea, Seneca's Jason i s , i n spite of his weakness and cowardice, more sympathetic than EuripidesJ hero. He never denies that he owes Medea his l i f e , although he now feels ashamed at having l e t her buy his l i f e with her crimes. He also lacks the self-righteousness of the Euripidean Jason and i s certainly not a heroic figure. Haying to choose.between breaking his oath or possible death, he prefers to save his and his children's l i f e , while abandoning Medea to her fate. In order to avoid a war with Acastus, the son of P e l i a s , and to secure Creon's goodwill for himself and the children, 97 he i s w i l l i n g to l e t Medea take the f u l l blame for the crimes she com-mitted i n his favour. He knows that he i s breaking his word, but. we can believe him when he says that the children's safety and well-being were his main concern. He i s afraid to flee with Medea and he even fears that his long encounter with Medea might arouse Creon's suspicion. Jason evidently 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 fear." (p. 374) Yet the chorus seems to be very impressed, at least by his physical beauty: If our Jason, Aeson's scion, would display h is beauty, then would the wicked lightning's o f f -spring y i e l d to him, even Bacchus who harnesses tigers to his chariot. Y i e l d , too, would Apollo... (p. 369) They are also very much i n favour of his new marriage and certainly do not rebuke him for having broken his word: Delivered from the wedlock of uncouth Phasis, schooled f e a r f u l l y and with unwilling hand to fondle the bosom of an incontinent mate, now, happy groom, take unto yourself an Aeolian ma-i^;... (p. 369) This Jason seems to grow during the course of the play 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 defiant as he shouts his l a s t words to 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 learnt his lesson. I t i s unhealthy for a mere man to tangle with supernatural beings l i k e Medea. As there i s no divine order or providence, i t can only lead to death and destruction. ' That Seneca's Jason was a t r u l y loving father cannot be denied. 98 He could not bear to see his children go into e x i l e with Medea, and thereby gave Medea the idea for her revenge. When he i s forced to watch the murder of his second c h i l d , Jason offers himself i n his son's stead, but Medea would rather see him suffer than dead: Nay, here w i l l I drive my sword, where you l i k e i t le a s t , where i t w i l l hurt you most. Go now, proud man, find 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 reversal of roles, although Jason's conduct i s far 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 for reckless daring and the strength of a man, with no thought of reputation." (p. 374) It i s at the best a very uneven struggle between an ordinary man and a witch with extraordinary powers. Nor do we fi n d a reversal of fortunes i n this play. Already at the start of the play, Medea i s angry, rather than hurt, and although she begs, bargains and fights for Jason, her rage increases s t e a d i l y to climax with the in f a n t i c i d e and her apotheosis. Jason, on the other •;, hand, never feels very secure i n his position and i s always aware of his g u i l t towards her. He just appears to harbour the vain hope that Medea w i l l see reason and leave quietly. However, he does not break under his a f f l i c t i o n s either. This mismatched couple does not even share i n a common grief over the death of t h e i r children. With the mur-der of the children, Medea has shed the l a s t reminder of her love for Jason. She departs t r u l y triumphant and unrepehtent, having driven her cruelty and inhumanity to a new extreme and leaving Jason alone to mourn his children and curse man's fate. 99 (3) THE RENAISSANCE: De Laperuse, Galladei and Dolce In the portrayal of Medea herself these Renaissance writers have followed Seneca's example more closely than Euripides'. 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 writers devote more attention to Creusa - although she i s not yet a character on stage - and, i n the case of Galladei and Dolce, to the children, there occur some s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n the relationship between Jason and Medea. The marriage t i e s and the family l i f e are sta r t i n g to gain importance by th i s strengthening of these secondary characters. As we have seen e a r l i e r , a l l three writers regard Medea as a supernatural being, a witch and a sorceress. Even Dolce, who presents the most sympathetic picture of Medea, has the nurse point out that apart from her dangerous knowledge of magic, Medea i s harder and more cruel 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 with th 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 different because she i s of better b i r t h than the women of the chorus but only because she has magical powers which frighten 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 Galladei are very similar to Seneca's. They both want Jason back, although they do not express 100 much love for him. They too regard Jason as th e i r prize for having saved a l l of the Argonauts. Only Dolce's Medea does not mention the others. 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. She has been wronged; and she i s looking for revenge. Although Jason i s called a perjurer, there i s less 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. In 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 for 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 least 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 feelings towards her children. They are merely mute victims of her revenge. As a matter of fact she even offers the children to her brother's s p i r i t , to save herself from his wrath: l e l e voy, i e l'entens, i l veut prendre vangeance D.eamoy, cruelle 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 ie demembroy son corps. Non, non, mon frere, non: voicy ta recompense. Iason t r a i s t r e me f i s t te f a i r e ceste offense, Voicy, voicy ses f i l z . Renuoye les f u r i e s , Renuoye ces flambeaux, sans que tu m'iniuries; La main qui te meurtrit mesme te vangera; Pour mon frere tue, mon f i l z tue sera. Tien doncq', fre r e , voicy pour apaiser ton i r e , Ie t' o f f r e corps pour corps: i e t'en vay l'vn occire. (Act V, pp. 73-74) 101 Both Galladei and Dolce pay greater attention to the children than any of the previous writers. Galladei not only gives them names to l i f t them out of the i r position as mere anonymous, shadowy figures, but he also has the children discuss t h e i r feelings towards their parents. The children love and respect both parents. They suffer from the dissen-sion between them and they worry about thei r new step-mother. The younger son, Tesandro, even offers to accompany Medea into e x i l e , so that she would not be so lonely. Galladei i s the f i r s t to treat 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 divides up between Jason and herself. Why the children - and for 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 frightens even her own nurse, i s not made clear i n the play. Dolce also gives us additional information about the children, who are quite young, the oldest not being seven yet. These children question why they are ex-pected to love a father who c l e a r l y does not love them. Their escape and appeal for help to the chorus i s touching. The way Medea b r u t a l l y dragss them off to their death c l e a r l y shows the change which has over-come her. Medea, however, does suffer by her-ydeed and does keep the children's bodies with her, so that Jason, who rejected them while they were a l i v e , would not have them dead either. The portrayal of Jason varies quite considerably: de Laperuse appears to conceive him as a cowardly f o o l , Galladei almost as the tragic hero of the play and Dolce again as a power-hungry egoist. The Jason of de Laperuse has perjured himself and has proven to 102 be false. This is pointed out by Medea's nurse, the children's tutor and the chorus. He did 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 tries to put the blame for Medea's exile on her alone and never even tries to justify his 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 feel 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 for one moment. He is 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 a l l , de Laperuse's Jason appears to be a rather pitiable and foolish hero, who even at the end s t i l l does not understand what went wrong: Helas! moy mal-heureux! mal—heureuse ma vie! 0 Dieux! que vous avez dessus mon bien enuie! Qu'ay-ie doncques forfaict? quel est mon s i grand tort? (Act V, p. 75) A completely different 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 II. 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 ina l z a r t i Con la sua gloria sopra Tutta l a Grecia, i l Duca De' tanti, & tanti Heroi Giace prostrato & morto. (Act V, p. 71) 103 Creon chose Jason as his son-in-law out of a l l the e l i g i b l e suitors for his daughter on the advice of the oracle. He threatened Jason and his family with death i f he would not comply with Creon's wishes. The cruelty, 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 thei r g u i l t i n Pe 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, feeling persecuted by ever new troubles. He had l i v e d quietly i n ^ Corinth, feeling neither content nor unhappy when t h i s new blow of fate struck. Although he does not love Medea - nor does he ap-pear to love Creusa - he i s well aware of the debt he owes her and of her grief and anger caused by the divorce, remarriage and e x i l e . He i s afra i d of giving 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 his mind to marry Creusa, he should now carry out his decision. After a l l Medea injured his honour as a hero by her misdeed and he should consider his debt to her paid o f f . Galladei's Jason i s not attracted by the power and renown he w i l l gain, but he w i l l bow to necessity and fate. He points out to Medea that, a l -though everyone hates and abhors her, he has always held her dear as long as fate permitted t h i s : Now they must both submit to the w i l l of the mighty and of fate. This Jason i s the f i r s t in.a l i n e of t i r e d and resigned heroes. He sees that r e a l i t y has changed his ideas and r e a l i t y i s stronger. But his weakness shows through his heroic image, even i f his entourage has not noticed t h i s yet. Only at the end, after he has lost both sons, does Jason shake off his resignation and pursueL Medea 104 in a Herculean rage, k i l l i n g himself in order to join his sons and be buried with them, but also to continue the vendetta against Medea in the other world. Dolce's Jason again is modelled quite closely on the Euripidean figure. He w i l l always give preference to the useful over the honest and truthful, a creed which seems to be accepted by most of the characters in this play. He is definitely hungry for power and riches. He is at-tracted to Creusa not only because of her youth and beauty but also be-cause of her rich dowry and her access to the crown. Dolce's Jason is not a hero who has only now become corroded by misfortune and social 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. Dolce thus introduces Jason the adventurer rather than the hero. Dolce's Jason is also very vain. He accuses Medea of having helped him out of passion and not compassion: ...non fu pieta, ma caldo foco, Ch'amoroso pensier t i mise in core, D'haver un Greco Re per tuo marito; 0 mossa da bellezza, o da virtute, Che in me t i parve d i vedere alhora, 0 dal chiaro splendor del mio lignaggio; (Act II, p. 18) He imputes his own motives to Medea, points to the great advantages she gained from her l i f e with him and in Greece and concludes that she has benefited more from their relationship than he has: Hai maggior beneficio ricevuto Da me, di quel, che tu stessa t i vanti D'havermi fatto:... (Act II, 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 find him unworthy of being called a hero. Even Creusa does not seem too enamoured with him. She almost despises him for having had children by someone l i k e Medea. At the end, he f i r s t watches helplessly how Creon and Creusa die and l a t e r , after the murder-vof the children, he i s l e f t to lament his l i f e and curse Medea. While Dolce's Jason i s a father who loves himself more than any-one else, including his children, and who only discovers too l a t e how much they actually meant to him, the Jason of de Laperuse f i r s t agrees to l e t the children go into e x i l e with Medea and i s accused by the chorus of having f a i l e d them: Mais cestuy^la qui plus deust avoir soin De vous ayder, vous desfaut au besoin. (Act I I , p. 35) He l a t e r does offer his l i f e i n return for at least one of the children. Galladei, following Seneca's example, presents us with a most devoted father who agrees to the new marriage only to save the children'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 relationship between the spouses, as Medea i s dehumanized and cannot be considered as a partner i n a re a l marriage. Strangely enough, she seems to be an advocate of feminine rights and powers i n de Laperuse's play, although she c e r t a i n l y does not have the support of her sex. Medea i s such an incredible monster i n Galladei*s play that one wonders why he l e t s his Jason proclaim always to have held her dear. In Dolce's play 106 M e d e a i s a c r u e l 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 . B o t h a r e s o c o n s c i o u s o f t h e i r own w o r t h t h a t o n e i s b o u n d t o w o n d e r how t h e y c o u l d h a v e l a s t e d s i d e b y s i d e f o r s o many y e a r s . A s a c o u p l e n o n e o f t h e s e M e d e a s a n d J a s o n s a r e v e r y r e a l i s t i c a l l y p o r t r a y e d . T h e o n l y r e a l i s t i c 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 e m p h a s i s o n C r e u s a a s 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 t h e c h i l d r e n . T h e s e t h e m e s w i l l b e t a k e n up a g a i n b y many o f t h e l a t e r w r i t e r s . The R e n a i s s a n c e w r i t e r s ' i n t e r e s t i n man a s s u c h i s s h o w n b y t h i s i n c r e a s e d a t t e n t i o n p a i d t o J a s o n , t h e c h i l d r e n a n d C r e u s a . Human r e l a t i o n s h i p s seem t o h a v e b e c o m e m o r e i m p o r t a n t t h a n M e d e a ' s i n t e r n a l s t r u g g l e b e t w e e n i n j u r e d h o n o u r a n d m o t h e r - l o v e . T h e r e i s a n i n t e r e s t -i n g p a r a d o x i n t h e p o r t r a y a l o f M e d e a a s a s u p e r n a t u r a l b e i n g t o r t u r e d b y t h e v e r y human j e a l o u s y o f h e r r i v a l . 107 (4) 17th Century: Corneille and Longepierre Both writers place great emphasis on the relationship Between the sexes and the triangle situation, which is particularly important in Corneille's Medee. Medea i s a very proud woman in Both, plays. She is very conscious of her ancestry and w i l l not demean herself in any way. Creon especially is Both impressed and annoyed By her haughty arrogance. Although Medea differs 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 transfix people with her magic wand, and in Corneille'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 in prison. The only force over which Medea has no power i s love. She i s neither aBle to regain Jason's love nor to root out her own love which can only Be turned into an equally passionate hatred. However, Corneille's Medea i s a weary sorceress who, as she explains to Aegeus, would prefer to live an ordinary human existence without using her magic: Si je vous ai servi, tout ce que j'en souhaite, C'est de trouver chez vous une sure retraite, Ou de mes ennemis menaces ni presents Ne puissent plus trouBler le repos de mes ans. Non pas que je les craigne; eux et toute l a terre A leur confusion me livreraient l a guerre; Mais je hais ce desordre, et n'aime pas a voir Qu'il me f a i l l e pour vivre user de mon savoir. (pp. 607-608, Act IV) Both Medeas have Been very happy in their marriage to Jason and, Because they s t i l l love him, are now very jealous of his new attachment. Corneille's Medea is a far more indifferent mother than 1Q8 Longepierre's who seems to suggest that precisely because she loves the children, she must k i l l them. In both plays, Medea vis u a l i z e s future slavery and unhappiness for the children i f they remain i n Corinth, and she therefore considers them better off dead. But i n these children she i s also k i l l i n g off her love for Jason: only with the children's death i s Medea f i n a l l y free of her love. The children have again faded info the background i n these two plays, as much greater emphasis i s put on the relationship between the parents. There i s a greater difference i n the portrayal 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 suffering and quite reckless with regard to her dangerous anger. The image of the French courtier has influenced the portrayal of Jason. Corneille's Jason, however, i s e n t i r e l y despicable - a s e l f -centred hypocrite, an egoist and a fortune-hunter: Aussi j e ne suis pas de ces amants vulgaires; 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 sort, 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 occasionally troubled by g u i l t feelings about Medea, but he always rationalizes his behaviour with concern for the welfare of the children. 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 his heroism becomes questionable too. Although he takes the credit for having aborted Aegeus' attempt to kidnap Creusa, we f i n d out l a t e r that Pollux was the r e a l hero of that adventure. Medea points out to him at the end that his l i f e and his deeds are her creations and that 109 without her help he i s completely helpless: Et que peut contre moi ta debile vaillance? Mon art f a i s a i t ta force, et tes exploits guerriers Tiennent de mon secours ce qu'i l s ont de l a u r i e r s . (Act\Y, :p. 6171 Jason's faithlessness becomes even more apparent by the reference to Hypsipyle whose love he used to his advantage and whom he then l e f t behind on Lemnos. As Medea well knows, he i s power-hungry and w i l l ex-p l o i t women to achieve his aims. Jason i s also very callous i n his at-titude towards the women he has abandoned. He feels that Medea w i l l have to forgive him because she loves him, just as Aegeus i s supposed to prove his love for 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 fact that he wants to k i l l his children to avenge his bride's death. Longepierre's Jason i s not quite the same power-hungry oppor-tu n i s t . He i s , however, already the image of the romantic lover, sighing at his beloved's feet and vowing that he w i l l die for her. His heroic exploits do not seem to play too great a part i n t h i s play, although Creusa and Creon admire him as a great Greek hero. His inconstancy i n love i s also pointed out by Creusa who fears that i n time she w i l l meet with the same fate as Hypsipyle and Medea: Hypsipile et Medee, objets de vos amours, Se sont l a i s s e surprendre a. de pa r e i l s discours, Et de nouveaux objets vbtre ame possedee, A l a i s s e cependant Hypsipile 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 different from t h e i r s . Creusa i s also bothered by Medea's legitimate claims on Jason. Despite Jason's assurance that Greece and the gods disapprove 110 of his marriage to Medea, his new happiness cannot quite make him forget Medea. Longepierre's Jason i s as devoted a father as Medea a mother. There i s a rea l tug-of-war between them for the children. 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 either. Had Jason allowed Medea to keep the children, she feels she would have been able to love his image i n them, and the catastrophe could have been averted. Both writers place great emphasis on the relationship between the sexes. Corneille not only treats the dilemma of a man choosing be-" tween the obligations to his wife, the mother of his children, and the advantages of a be 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 old man but i n love with the more flamboyant penni-less younger man. The war of the sexes: love, jealousy and hatred, are at the centre of his play. Not only does Medea, the rejected wife, seek revenge but she i s joined i n t h i s by the rejected suitor Aegeus. Medea, however, proudly declines a l l human help i n her revenge, although she does not reject Aegeus' offer of marriage outright. Longepierre also i s preoccupied with love but he stresses the unhappiness which i t i s bound to cause. The relationship between Jason and Medea and also Jason and Creusa — who appears for the f i r s t time i n these plays as a character -gains thus increasing importance i n these plays. The dead almost appear as the victims i n t h i s war of the sexes. I l l (5) 18th Century; Lessing, Glover, Gotter and Kllnger  Lessing: In his Miss Sara Sampson Lessing has concentrated solely on the triangle relationship. He shows a weak man entrapped by an ev 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 in 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 is 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 III, p. 40) She is also a proud and formidable woman who bows before no one, and her pride i s insulted by Jason's betrayal. This Medea is of great and ageless beauty, and there i s certainly no indication that Jason ha's tired of, her > quite to the contrary. Aegeus knows that his plans for Jason and Creusa w i l l be foiled the moment Jason sees Medea again. In spite of Medea's knowledge of magic, she has no power over love: she can command Jason's body but not his feelings. There is no doubt that she i s deeply in love with Jason and that their 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 is to die through her. She wants to avoid that at a l l cost: "Destroy my Jason! The dear, false hero! Perish f i r s t my art" (Act III, 112 p. 54), and calls him back for that reason. She never does feel hatred and anger to the same extent as previous Medeas. Glover's Medea i s a loving mother and is loved in return by her children, who beseech their 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 is bitter irony in the fact that Medea, when she re-covers from her madness, tries to seek comfort for her situation with the children: I w i l l at least possess the short r e l i e f To see my infants. Sure, my faithful friends, From my sad heart no evils 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 li v e no longer. Jason is a hero who i s respected by a l l , although he seems to be a gentle and easily persuaded man. He i s torn between his conflicting responsibilities and obligations towards his father and towards Medea. In his f i r s t encounter with Medea he is contrite and humbles himself, realizing that he has wronged her greatly. From the beginning, he has not been sure himself about his true motives in agreeing to the new marriage: Oh! in some future hour of sad reflection 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 tie To authorize the breach of sacred vows. (Act II, p. 22) When he becomes aware of the suffering he has in f l i c t e d on Medea by his breach of faith, he resolves to renounce Creusa and flee Corinth with Medea. Even after the murder of the children he blames himself rather than her. He has to be reminded to be more manful on several occasions, 113 both i n admitting his wrong, and i n being more resolute with his father and Creon. Later he has to be prevented from avoiding his responsibi-l i t i e s by suicide. There is no doubt that this Jason loves Medea: No other form of beauty, No qualities 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 II, p. 35) He has been manoeuvred into a situation from which only the manly reso-luteness, he unfortunately acquires too late, can extricate him. The children have to remind Jason that their welfare is his responsibility. But when he offers them his protection, they refuse to be parted from their mother. They want a reunited family. Jason later sees a basis for a new start between Medea and himself i n their common love for the children. With, their death his race has become ex-tinctfand his l i f e i s of no value to him. Glover is the f i r s t to point to the comraderie existing between Jason and Medea as a result of their shared labours in the past. The marriage is based upon more than only the vows exchanged between them: Not love alone, not Hymen's common ties, 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: "Ich bin a l l e i n in der Schopfung!" (p. 7) she exclaims. She is not drawn as a well 114 defined character. She is made to change her mind so often that i t is impossible to gather what she is supposedly thinking. It seems Medea s t i l l loves Jason, but she does not really show i t . She considers their marriage, before her exile, to have been a happy one. No reasons to explain Jason's unfaithfulness are put forward in this play. As a mother Medea seems to have functioned satisfactorily. 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 their dismal fate which awaits them in Corinth, i t i s more lik e l y that she k i l l s Jason's likeness in them: Kein Erbarmen! Es i s t die Natterbrut Jasons— Sein Blut klopft in ihren Adern, sein heuchlerisches Lacheln schwebt auf ihren Lippen (pp. 15-16) Yet she warns them against her and her love which spells their death. She intends to k i l l herself after she has murdered the children, but never carries out her intention. A l l we hear about Jason i s that he is very beautiful. When he f i n a l l y appears on stage, he is obviously confused and in his impotence to revenge himself, he commits suicide. He seems to have shown some con-cern for his 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 children 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 - in Medea, 115 while Cireusa expresses gentle and compassionate human love: Creusa tries to explain her feelings to Medea: Ich brenne nicht fur ihn. Keine Flamme umgliiht mein Herz. Sanft schimmert's nur in meinem Busen. Reine Wiinsche fur sein Gliick steigen hier unge-sehen auf. (Act III, p. 190) Medea's passion i s too great-anddtopcpoweffiul for Jason who does not like to owe a l l to his wife. Even though Medea tries to be submissive and docile, she is forcing herself into a human mold she does not really f i t . There can be no question that Medea truly loves Jason and that her suf-fering over her rejection i s great. She is not only jealous, but deeply hurt in her pride. She has given up a l l for this one human love and is rejected. Through her love for Jason Medea has been tied to^humanity and, with i t s rejection, she breaks completely with the weak and false race of men to become again her terrible self. While her love for Jason i s passionate, Medea is most human in her love for her children. However, the children have already made friends with Creusa and she feels Creusa w i l l rob her of them too. If need be Medea is prepared to give up Jason, i f only she can keep the children with her: "Sie sey Dein Weib, nur nicht meiner Kinder Mutter!" (Act III, p. 211) She resists 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 . She i s f u l l y aware that she is k i l l i n g her own children and not just Jason's which increases her suffering. In -the end she takes them for burial in the temple where Jason f i r s t swore his love to her. Jason is in love only with Creusa. He does not love Medea anymore 116 and even suspects that he has been a victim of her magic spell before. He suffers under his bondage to Medea and feels that he i s her creation. He wants to become .his own man, a hero in his own rights. With his rejection of Medea he thinks to rejoin humanity: Ich fiirchte Dich nicht, und verkiinde Dir mit mannlichem Herzen meinen Entsch-lussP 5, von neuem in 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 ich in diirrem Erstaunen Deiner furchtbaren Grosse hindammern. An der Stelle, wo die Menschen Schmerzen fiihlen, w i l l auch ich sie fiihlen. Zufall, Krankheit, Mangel treffen mich wie sie. Ihre Uebel w i l l ich tragen, um auch ihr Gliick zu fiihlen. (Act III, p. 200) He accuses Medea of having no understanding of human emotions and suf-ferings, but he does not understand her either whose every emotion is on a larger scale than a mortal's. At the end, however, Jason does seem to realize that he i s guilty too and he accepts his punishment: "...ich darf der Morderin nicht fluchen, die wuthend'e Erinnis driickt den Fluch in mein gliihendes Herz zuriick." (Act V, p. 239) Jason i s a loving father who begs the very compliant and willing Creusa and Creon to extend their protection to his children. Jason wants to keep his 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 rein; Du fiihlst es nicht bestandig. Der Faden, der Dich an sie kniipf t, isst Deinem Geist zu diinne. Ich w i l l sie zu Menschen weihen, von Deinen Verbrechen reinigen, und zu Mannern bilden. (Act III, p. 210) 117 Again great emphasis is placed on the children who are torn be-tween their love for their father and mother and want them to stay together. Jason and Medea are shown as a couple who are doomed because of their different spheres. Medea can never make herself into a real human being, and Jason w i l l always fear the sorceress in her. Jason, on the other hand, is a mortal with a l l the failings and weaknesses common to humanity, who can never understand or accept Medea's lofty s p i r i t : 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 sich 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 for a simple human existence far from the awesome greatness and solitude of Medea. 118 (6) 19th Century: Grillparzer, Lucas, Legouve The 19th century writers not only show an increased interest in 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 Grillparzer and Legouve present us for the f i r s t time with a Creusa who is not only a r i v a l for the love of Jason but also for that of the children. Grillparzer Grillparzer gives us the fullest development of Medea's charac-ter so far since his trilogy The Golden Fleece shows us Medea, the maiden in her native Colchis before the intrusion of the Greek adventurers and before the arrival of the Fleece, symbol of human lust and greed. Medea-, in those days, was as innocent and pure in her way as the seemingly ageless and colourless Creusa i n the last play of the trilogy, 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 guilty, for her love is coupled with guilt. In the Medea we find 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 is s t i l l trying valiantly to make the best of i t although she realizes that l i f e means suffering, humilia-tion and misery. Hence stems Medea's darkness compared to Creusa's lightness or transparency. Creusa's simplicity reflects the uncomplicated and uneventful l i f e she has led. But her simplemindedness turns into tactlessness, 119 her kindness into cruelty, because she lacks experience and understanding. In front of thei r mother she c a l l s Medea's children 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 for Creusa's fate. 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 children while professing her f r i e n d -ship and assistance to the stranger who puts herself under her protection. G r i l l p a r z e r ' s Medea t r i e s very hard to mould herself into 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 . But i t i s already too l a t e . Jason no longer loves her, 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 at-tempts at pleasing him are doomed from the outset and lead to the scene of her greatest humiliation. Jason refuses to l i s t e n to her play the ly 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 with Creusa. By the time he pays attention to her, she has forgotten the song, and Jason asks Creusa to sing i t for 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 for survival and her revenge begin. Medea has remained l o y a l to Jason although she knows him only too we l l , as she assures Creusa: Du kennst ihn ni£ht, ich. aber kenn' ihn ganz! Nur er i s t da, er_ i n der weiten Welt, Und a l l e s andre nichts a l s Stoff zu Taten. 120 Voll Selbstheit, nicht des Nutzens, doch des Sinns, Spielt er mit seinem und der andern Gliick: Lockt's ihn nach Ruhm, so schlagt er einen tot, Will er ein Weib, so holt er eine sich, Was auch dariiber bricht, was kummert's ihn! Er tut nur recht, doch recht i s t , was er w i l l , Du kennst ihn nicht, ich aber kenn' ihn ganz! Und denk' ich 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 is always the awareness of a bond between them which cannot be broken by words or deeds: Das war es, was mein Vater sagte! Ich dir zur Qual, du mir. - Doch weich' ich nicht! Vor allem, was ich war, was ich besass, Es i s t ein einziges mir nur geblieben, Und b is zum Tode Ibleilb' icPi es i dein Weib • (p. 15) Medea feels deeply for her children and i t is only after their rejection 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 exile, cannot bear to see them betray her for Creusa. Medea's feelings for her children are passionate and violent. She has often seen and hated their father's image in 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. Seeing the children following their father's example in choosing the easy way out, when to her l i f e only means suffering, she cannot feel remorse after their death because she has saved them from l i f e - the real bane of mankind. She t e l l s Jason: Dir scheint der Tod das Schlimmste; Ich 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 ist ' s erspart! (p. 72) In Jason Grillparzer seems to have portrayed the man he saw and disliked in himself. Jason is the adventurer, the man who must conquer to prove himself - moving from victory to victory but hiding an inner void. Jason lives only through his deeds and conquests, be i t in love or in 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 is the reason for his attempt to shed the past and return to his 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 as-sociated with the quest. But Creusa is also another conquest - a new adventure to embark on. Medea becomes an unwelcome reminder of the reality of l i f e . Jason's heroism is b r i t t l e . He is an opportunist even more than a man of action. He accepts the benefits of Medea's deeds -perhaps even suggests or inspires them - but refuses to accept the responsibility for them: "Nicht der Gedanke wird bestraft, die Tat." (p. 47) 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 lust and greed for power and happiness. Given his disposition, Jason is 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 like a broken toy: So stand er da, in Kraft und Schonheit prangend, Eiri Held, ein 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 with a right to accuse her, he loathes her a l l the more because he owes her too much. Even his admission, that he might have a share i n the g u i l t by his omission to act, 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 . What Jason r e a l l y feels for anyone but himself i s hard to gauge. The end of the play seems to indicate that he suffers mainly from s e l f - p i t y and hurt pride. He does not seem to have gained any insight and c e r t a i n l y looks rather despicable i n comparison to Medea's calm dignity. Again there seems to be a male-female role reversal i n Jason and Medea. I t i s the masculine i n Medea and the feminine i n Jason which both attracts and repels them and which binds them u n t i l the end despite their e f f o r t s to free themselves from t h e i r relationship. Lucas Again Medea and Creusa meet face to face i n th i s play. Medea even restores Creusa who has lo s t consciousness after having been a t -tacked by a l i o n whom Jason l a t e r slays. 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,, In answer to Medea's warnings, she j u s t i f i e s her consent to the proposed marriage with f i l i a l obedience. Although this Medea i s a beautiful woman with regal bearing, Jason i s unmoved by her beauty. He does not believe i n her love, but feels she only used him as a con-, venient means to leave Colchis and gain personal fame i n Greece. He excuses his i n f i d e l i t y with his weariness of her uneasy love and of her 123 crimes and a need to provide a secure future for the children. Jason, renowned for his god-like beauty and bearing and his success with mortal and immortal women, seems to be nothing but a frustrated hero. A l l his deeds have been brought about with 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 well as a hero. However, he admits, a l b e i t only to himself, that this i s but a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . In truth what he wants i s Creusa with 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 attracts him. In a way the Medea and the Jason of Lucas appear to be worthy of each other. Both seem to be oppor-tunists and quite cold-hearted. I t i s hard to say whether i t i s more incredible that Jason and Creusa actually plan to marry i n the temple, where Medea and her children have taken refuge on th 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 loss of husband and children with a completely uncharacteristic resignation. As parents both Medea and Jason seem to be f a i r l y concerned for the welfare of their children. Medea feared for t h e i r l i v e s on the voyage to Corinth; 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 flee with them. Why she eventually k i l l s them any way remains unexplained and inexplicable. Nor does i t make sense that Jason fears from the f i r s t for their children, professes that they hold the f i r s t place i n his heart, yet decides to ship them off to the centaur who educated him rather than 124 keep them with him in Corinth. Although the children do not play such a prominent part in this play, Medea points to the e v i l effects a mar-riage break-up has on the children involved. Pourtant, outre l'effet des querelles jalouses, Plus d'un abus se joint au changement d'epouses C'est jeter l a discorde et les debats amers Au milieu des enfants dont les droits sont divers. La fraternelle paix leur refuse ses charmes. Aussitot qu'ils sont grands i l s recourent aux armes. Plus lo i n qu'on ne le croit on pousse 1'attentat; La famille est l a base ou repose l'Etat. (p. 33) Legouve Again the male-female relationship i s emphasized and the lot of the children becomes central to the play as a whole. Medea, sad, d i s -illusioned and guilty, but s t i l l of noble and majestic appearance, meets Creusa who is the image of the young Medea before .her' innocence was sullied by Jason's guilty passion, which caused her to forsake parents and country and to commit fearful crimes at his behest. The two women are 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 is Jason Creusa loves. Her jealousy aroused, she resolves to k i l l Creusa, who is w i l l -ing to save her from the angry populace but not to give up Jason in 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 in 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 is loyal, possessive and very jealous. Out of love Medea has become guilty. She i s willing to accept this guilt, but she refuses to give up the man who was the cause of i t a l l . Medea is very conscious of the fact that i t is not only love but also common guilt which unites them: The close entwining of our hearts doth not from love alone arise - but quite as much from guilt! In a l l my crimes thou had'st thy share! - bri 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 let him go. But she is incensed at Jason's baseness in 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 is no doubt that this Medea loves her children far more than she loves Jason. From the beginning she fears that they may be the means of punishment for her crimes. She realizes that a child needs joy and a sense of security and that the l i f e they lead with her is perhaps not in their best interest: My ceaseless grief must weary them! A child has need of happiness, and recoils from endless tears and features seamed with care! Besides, no daughter of Greece am I, but a barbarian! my very love i s fierce, the very transports of my passionate affection alarm my l i t t l e ones! While kissing them, I often feel I frighten them! (p. 12) There is thus from the beginning an indication that i t is Medea's love which i s fatal to the children. Because she understands the children's fears, Medea i s able to forgive them their betrayal. . Her mother-love overcomes her desire for revenge and she is ready to flee with them into an unknown future, for this Medea has no friends, no promised exile and 126 no dragon chariot awaiting her. When their f l i g h t i s prevented, Medea k i l l s her children because she loves them and w i l l not l e t them f a l l into enemy hands. I f they are to die for 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. He i s the type of hero who r e l i e s on brute force only. 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 well—fattened flock, 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 turbid course! (p. 6) Jason i s the aggressor and the conqueror.' Destruction i s h i s way of l i f e , and that which i s not given f r e e l y , i s taken by force. But once he has obtained the object of h i s desire, he has no further use for 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 with the warrior, the man of reason with the op-portunist. In such a comparison between the preserver and the des-troyer, Jason i s bound to be the loserx. He i s needed to free the people from t h e i r fears, but he i s not respected as Orpheus i s . Jason spurred Medea on to her crimes, but does not hesitate to desert her for a new love. His baseness i s f u l l y revealed to Medea when he uses the children to gain his ends: Yes! lacerate my heart with thy base treachery, discard me, and i n my place elect another, -a l l t h i s I can imagine! such crimes are of thy race; but to speak of thy children, to feign 127 anxiety for their welfare, while thy heart i s busy with adulterous plans, to mingle their innocence with thy guilty thoughts, and shield thine infamy beneath the name of father - this is 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. It i s not the achievement of utter and f i n a l destruction as i t was in Euripides' play, for instance. In Legouve's play we find no male-female role reversal. A l -though Jason i s at the root of Medea's crimes and does not hesitate to benefit from them, he is also a man of action himself. He i s com-pletely unscrupulous and instigates the crimes for which she is then l e f t to bear the f u l l responsibility. Through her love of Jason and the crimes engendered by i t , Medea is isolated throughout the play and in 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 con-queror and ladies' man. Life has been a series of conquests in which Creusa and the throne of Corinth are his next goal. Medea, generally, is more mother than wife and the k i l l i n g of the children has for the f i r s t time an element of salvation in i t , although i t is s t i l l mainly motivated by a desire for revenge. Furthermore, in both Grillparzer'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 in the relationship between Jason and Medea and their children,and in Creusa, as the other woman, is generally great in the 20th century plays. One of the new aspects introduced in 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 in love with the same man. There is an emerging consciousness of sisterhood amongst women, which is not strong enough, however, to overcome the rivalry for the love of the man. Ca) Before 1939 - Jahnn, Lenormand, Anderson Undoubtedly Jahnn's Medea is not an ordinary woman. She is the proud granddaughter of Helios and, although she has lost her im-mortality, she has retained sufficient magic powers to frighten those around her, including Jason who is the main beneficiary of her magic. Only her younger son understands her terrible predicament: she herself cannot benefit from her magic. She abhors her ugliness as much as Jason does, but asks some semblance of love from him, so that she may carry on in her efforts to keep him young and beautiful. Jason's betrayal makes her aging and her daily 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 can-not allow this new marriage which would deprive her of Jason completely.. Her love of him is exceedingly possessive: Jason is her creation. Once he cuts himself loose from Medea and his sons, the catastrophe is inevit-able. Medea's love turns to hatred, and she must destroy every link with humanity to set herself free to return to her divine origin. 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 origin but with a wisdom and understanding which is not acquired by mere education. She f e l l in love with the white stranger who appeared like a god out of the jungle; she saved his l i f e and helped him to power. Her love of De Mezzano is also very possessive. She loves him best when he is 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 lost 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 Christianity 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 rejection of her but also by his attempts to humiliate her in front of her children and to erase a l l traces of their maternal heritage. His promise to bring progress to her country makes his betrayal even more infamous. De Mezzano denies Katha her past and intends to spoil her future. She recognizes that the machines and he are too strong for her. As she has been deprived of a l l hope for the future, she i s determined to destroy his future too, by whatever means necessary. For the f i r s t time since Glover's Medea, we find in The Wingless  Victory a Medea-figure who is beautiful, good and noble, and who is s t i l l loved by her husband. Oparre is a devout, newly converted Christian, ready to humble herself and forget her royal origins in an effort to gain acceptance in her husband's hometown. Although only a meagre welcome i s 130 extended to her, she is willing to stay for Nathaniel's sake. Nathaniel never ceases to love Oparre; i t is only the threat to his wealth which divides them. Oparre rs love for Nathaniel and her faith in him are absolute: she sacrifices home, children and herself for her love. She cannot understand Nathaniel's weariness, his need for security and ac-ceptance by his own kind and for wealth so that he may buy the respect he has always craved. Love is Oparre's whole l i f e . Although Jfaihnjn's Medea loves her children, her love is a sensuous love-and as possessive as her love of Jason. She accuses the eldest son: "Was Sklaven du vergonn'ttesit: badend dich zu schaun, sahn meine Augen nicht." (p. 605) Her mother—love, however, never competes with her desire for revenge. She does not have to give up her children who in death are more completely hers than alive. Medea i s well aware of the fact that her children 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 justi 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. There is no inner struggle in Medea before k i l l i n g her sons. Once Jason has renounced her, their fate is sealed and Medea mercilessly sets her plans in motion. Lenormand's Katha i s a loving mother who has greatly suffered from the earlier separation from her children who were turned into strangers by the Catholic missionary school. She i s concerned about her children and worries about their f r a i l t y . Both parents have a strong feeling of guilt towards their 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'autre. Nous ne devions pas avoir d renfants!" (p. 47) As long as they l i v e , these children w i l l be torn between thei r father and t h e i r mother and between the races and cultures each represents. Only i n death can their heritage be divided. Anderson's Oparre i s a tender mother who accompanies her daughters into death after having s a c r i f i c e d them to her love of Nathaniel. Both parents are, however, far more concerned with their own dilemma than with the fate of the children. 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 : his i n a b i l i t y to age, his excessive sexual drives and his r i v a l r y with his sons. Although irresponsible and pleasure-seeking, Jason i s not wholly callous. He p i t i e s Medea and recognizes that he i s i n her debt, but i t i s only with an e f f o r t that he can support her presence since only youth and beauty attract him. There i s l i t t l e of the heroic l e f t i n this beautiful and light-hearted male. There i s no doubt that Jason's punishment i s excessively cruel. Not only does Creusa wither away and decay just when she has aroused his 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 his revulsion, Creusa would have been restored to her former youth and beauty. In the end Jason i s nothing but a beautiful and empty s h e l l enslaved to l u s t which was at the root of his betrayal. Jason's quest for immortality has turned into a nightmare of death. Lenormand's De Mezzano and Anderson's Nathaniel McQueston are adventurers returned home. De Mezzano has loved war and violence, but 132 now wants to settle down, shed his past l i f e and a l l that reminds him of i t . He is an opportunist who w i l l always rationalize his se l f i s h deeds. What is useful to him becomes a necessity and nothing i s allowed to stand in his way. Aimee, though unable to resist him, rightly recognizes his type: "Les hommes comme toi...sont le delice et le fleau du monde." (p. 75) .Without scruples, she w i l l always get what he wants listening to no reason but his own. Nathaniel set out from Salem seeking fame and fortune. He i s easy going and gullible, so that the townspeople have no trouble getting his money while plotting his destruction. Only too late does Nathaniel realize that wealth does not bring happiness and that respect cannot be bought. Although Nathaniel does not become unfaithful to Oparre he is 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 indifferent father, while Jaharin's Jason seems to feel very l i t t l e love for his sons,, who are his rivals in youth and beauty, and constitute a threat to him. He wants to shake them off as well as Medea: "Auch meiner Kinder Winseln i s t mir widerlich, weil sie mieh hassen von jetzt ab." (p. 643) Jason's un-r e l i a b i l i t y i s stressed from the beginning. 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 lost Creusa. Their death however seems to be far more necessary for Medea,who wants to liberate herself from a l l reminders of her marriage, than for the revenge on Jason whose real punishment l i e s in Creusa 1s death and in the curse overshadowing his future. Of the three De Mezzano i s by far the most loving father. As a matter of fact, his only weakness seems to be his children. His feelings for them are tinged with a sense of guilt and a sense of duty: Puisque j ' a i commis la 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 dicte mon devoir. (p. 91) De Mezzano feels that the only way he can find a place in l i f e for them is 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 is with someone of his own race. This is Aimee's great attraction 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 is ironic therefore that Aimee seems to be the only person who understands Katha and sympathizes with her. She senses her isolation, her helpless anger and desperation. She points out to her father and De Mezzano the faci l e reasoning and the hypocrisy with which, they are trying to cover up the cruelty of their own crime: depriving a homeless stranger of husband and children. Aimee's sympathy i s , however, tinged with con-descension. She sees Katha as an animal deprived of her mate and her young. Nor does the pity she feels for Katha overcame her love for De Mezzano or her involvement in the conspiracy against the princess: 134 Oh, l a p i t i e peut faire naitre le remords, mais helas, l a s'arrete son pouvoir. Elle n'a jamais empeche que fut commise 1'action mauvaise. (p. 41) Thus, as in Grillparzer's1;atrl legouve's plays, the woman who could have been the urgently needed friend and helper is also her r i v a l for the affection 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 for, but they s t i l l love their mother and feel guilty because of their divided loyalty. In Anderson's The Wingless Victory Faith, Nathaniel's childhood sweetheart, never tries to regain his love. But she cannot be Oparre's friend either. Their love for the same man also stands between them. But more than the love for Nathaniel, i t is Oparre's colour which pre-vents Faith from reaching out a s i s t e r l y hand to Oparre. In spite of her sympathy and pity, social pressure and conditioning is too strong for Faith. At the end she is selfless enough, however, to urge Nathaniel not to l e t Oparre leave alone, even i f her advice is not heeded. Both Aimee and Faith survive at the end of the plays, but not so Jahnn's -Creusa who, however, i s not a mere innocent victim. Her guilt 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 price for following her desires only. In a l l three plays the children become^ the innocent victims of their parents' unconventional love. Their lives seem to hold l i t t l e happiness in store for them and once they lose the protection of both r> parents they are doomed. While the children are of great importance in a l l three plays, i t is especially in Lenormand's Asie that the relation-ship between the couple and their quarrel over the children is 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 offer them. In a l l three plays, how-ever, death seems to come as salvation from a future of misery, slavery or prostitution. (b) After 1945 - Jeffers, Anouilh, Csokor, Alvaro, Braun, Magnuson With the exception of Anouilh and Braun, a l l of these last playwrights present us with Medeas who are both proud and of noble origin. Only in Csokor's play is there no mention of her super-natural, or at least extraordinary, powers. However, Medea is gen-erally an isolated being ravaged by solitariness and suffering. In three of the plays Medea's "otherness" i s further accentuated by the fact that she is of a different race, although the colour problem as such is of importance only in Magnuson's African Medea. In that play Medea k i l l s her children because of their father's white blood which flows in their veins. Like Lenormand's Katha she considers the children hers alone only in death. Medea's homelessness is generally not stressed. Only in Braun's play is she refused a refuge even by Aegeus, and has thus truly 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 like to forget the past and who have made a valiant effort to adapt to their new situation, as there are Medeas who refuse to compromise and restrain their passion. Anouil's Medee fiercely refuses any rapprochement to humanity and Braun's Medea is already on the brink of insanity and steeped in 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 least Alvaro's and Csokor's Medea-figures s t i l l love t h e i r husbands at the beginning of the play. • Anouilh's and Braun's Medeas, on the other hand, never even t r y to hide the i r hatred and rage. Most of the times Medea seems to love her children although these have ceased to be quite as important as i n the previous three plays. Creusa, as the r i v a l mother, and the betrayal by the children are no longer mentioned i n these most recent plays. Generally the i n -terest i n Creusa as an indiv i d u a l seems to have diminished again. Only Csokor's Medea pos t b e l l i c a again contrast the ageing wife with her pretty 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 for each other, i n spite of t h e i r love for the same man. After Dora finds out that the kerchief she has received from Anna i s infected with leprosy, she sub-mits herself 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 lo s t what was most precious to them, but they accept the i r fate without bitterness and part from each other with forgiveness instead of hatred. In Anouilh's and Braun's plays i t i s Jason who i s weary of his past and who wants to find peace and order i n his new l i f e . In both of these works Jason grows i n the course of the play 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 restore order and to l i v e a normal human 1 3 7 l i f e , forgetting Medea's passion and destructiveness. In a l l the other plays, Jason is again the egotistic adventurer striving for social or p o l i t i c a l gain or, in Csokor's play, for mere self-gratification. Jason generally i s ambitious, power-hungry and future-oriented. Medea and the memories of the past she represents have become a burden to him which he must shed so that he may "escape" into the future. How-ever, Jason does not succeed in denying the past either. Again Jason, the adventurer, is but a b r i t t l e hero whose fatal flaw is inherent in the adventurer's desire to conquer and dominate, without regard to the pJavLia and suffering he causes. In a l l these plays Jason is l e f t a broken and defeated man at the end, but only- Csokor's Peter tries 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, for instance, seems to have no feelings of remorse at leaving a pregnant Anna although later he is f u l l of wild accusations when he hears about the abortion. Alvaro's Jason too stands idly by while his children are threatened and stoned by the angry mob, caring only for the faint and trembling Creusa. When he eventually rushes to their rescue, i t is a l -ready too late. The idea of the doomed couple — the impossibility of marriage -reappears especially in Anouilh's and Csokor's plays and turns them from tragedies of ?therindividual; into tragedies of marriage. In Anouilh's Medee i t i s habit which has k i l l e d love. Jason and Medea were comrades-at—arms and accomplices.but have grown bored with each other. In spite 138 of a long history 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 is Jason's attempt to compromise and to for-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 rejection of a l l she believed in and had fought for. 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 their relationship as man and woman. They know each other too well to survive as a couple. Due to the diversity in the portrayals of both Jason and Medea and of their relationship, i t i s nearly impossible to draw a valid conclusion or establish 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. CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARDS MEDEA (1) Euripides I t i s not too easy to establish a clear attitude towards Euripides' Medea. There i s always the dilemma of reconciling Medea's deeds, which cannot but shock and h o r r i f y , with her personality and her circumstances which, i n turn, have aroused our sympathy. This ambi-guity of f e e l i n g i s heightened by the fact that sympathy for Medea i s firmly established from the beginning and increases gradually throughout the play, t i l l suddenly at the end we can no longer reconcile our feelings with the facts as they are presented. Medea's former mis-deeds, the murders of her brother and P e l i a s , are deliberately minimized i n order to give our sympathy free r e i n . Her adversaries obviously treat her badly even though she i s superior to them. The one man who treats her as a friend and a highly respectable person i s no less 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 intentions 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 believe that she w i l l actually carry out her plans. We do not see her commit the murders of her children; we only hear thei r frightened cries for help. These desperate cries off-stage suddenly force the f u l l horror of her action on our consciousness. I t i s at this point that the frightening conspiracy which almost turns us into accessories i s f u l l y exposed. We can no longer f e e l sympathy for Medea. . Yet we have gone along with her already for 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 physically 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 alleviate her grief and to prevent her from doing anything rash in 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 their appeal and t e l l s them of her wrongs and her desire to take revenge, with which the chorus concur::? Your are in the right, Medea, In paying your husband back. 0. 267-8) The chorus give Medea silent 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 after every successive encounter, f i r s t with Creon then with Jason. These Corinthian women clearly identify with Medea's l o t . They do not seem to be aware that Medea is no ordinary woman. Not only is she a foreign princess, but even a barbarian, whose customs and demeanour must be quite different from those of these women. The chorus never 141 refer to this cultural and racial difference. They do not blame her otherness as the reason for her troubles. In Euripides' days women, in general, had as few privileges 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 inde-pendent 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 in Athens and she has, for the f i r s t time, revealed her plans i n detail, the chorus try to dis-suade her but s t i l l show sympathy and understanding for her situation: 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 this thing. (1. 811-813) The womSn are quick to see that Medea's deed w i l l bring great unhappi-ness to herself also. After the children have l e f t with their fatal wedding g i f t s , they know that:" "Now there i s no hope l e f t for the children's li v e s . " (1. 976) They express their pity 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 his social position, brings death to his bride and his children, but also for Medea: 142 I n y o u r g r i e f , t o o , I w e e p , m o t h e r o f l i t t l e c h i l d r e n , Y o u who w i l l m u r d e r y o u r o w n , I n v e n g e a n c e f o r t h e l o s s o f m a r r i e d l o v e W h i c h J a s o n h a s b e t r a y e d A s h e l i v e s w i t h a n o t h e r w i f e . ( 1 . 9 9 6 - 1 0 0 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 t h e p r i n c e s s ' a n d C r e o n ' s h o r -r i b l e d e a t h s , t h e c h o r u s s t i l l f e e l t h a t J a s o n g o t no m o r e t h a n h e d e s e r v e d . H o w e v e r , when M e d e a r u s h e s i n t o t h e h o u s e t o k i l l h e r c h i l d r e n , t h e c h o r u s eallJItDttheearth a n d t h e , s u n , M e d e a ' s a n c e s t o r , t o hE&dhjgld b a c k h e r hand* C h e c k h e r , a n d d r i v e f r o m o u t t h e h o u s e T h e 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 . 1 2 5 8 - 1 2 6 0 ) T h o u g h i t i s o n l y when t h e y h e a r t h e c h i l d r e n ' s d e s p e r a t e c r i e s f o r h e l p t h a t t h e women c a l l M e d e a a "woman f a t e d f o r e v i l " ( 1 . 1 2 7 2 ) a n d h a r d -h e a r t e d : 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 . 1 2 7 9 - 1 2 8 1 ) T h e y c a n o n l y c o m p a r e M e d e a ' s d e e d t o t h a t o f I n o , who i n a f i t o f m a d -n e s s k i l l e d h e r c h i l d r e n a n d h e r s e l f . Woman's l o v e a n d j e a l o u s y a r e a t t h e r o o t o f much e v i l . T h e c h o r u s , h o w e v e r , n e v e r t r a n s f e r t h e i r s y m -p a t h y t o J a s o n ; h e i s p i t i e d i n h i s s o r r o w a s i s M e d e a . T h e y c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e w a y s o f 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 t h u s t h e c o n f l i c t 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 M e d e a i s l e f t u n r e s o l v e d . 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 t h i s p l a y , 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 , we c a n n o t k n o w f o r s u r e . I t i s o n e o f 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 , a l t h o u g h i t o n l y came t h i r d . U n d o u b t e d l y t h o u g h , i t made a p o w e r f u l i m p a c t , a s i t 143 s t i l l does today. I t i s a play which has been re-interpreted time and again. The story of a mother murdering her own children seems to have fascinated many writers. However, i n none of the l a t e r plays are we l e f t with such a dilemma of contrasting emotions as i n Euripides' Medea. No wonder then that we would dearly l i k e to find some exten-uating circumstances for her, such as insanity, divine r e s p o n s i b i l i t y or the fact that, i f Medea does not k i l l the children, the Corinthians c e r t a i n l y w i l l . But there i s no excuse. Medea claims and accepts f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for her actions. She knowingly committed e v i l and we, l i k e the chorus, approved i t , at least i m p l i c i t l y through our sympathy for her. Therein l i e s , no doubt, the unrivaled greatness of Euripides' Medea. I t i s therefore not too important to find out what r e a l l y motivated Euripides to present us with his version of the Jason-Medea story. Was i t just a desire to shock and horrify? Was he, as a s o c i a l c r i t i c , trying to point out the unfairness of the Athenian marriage laws and of the general attitude 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 play, or i t would no longer hold such an appeal for a modern audience. Is the Medea merely a study of human passions, selfishness and greed? Cer-t a i n l y these are a l l depicted i n the play. Or was Euripides attempting to deflate the Greek heroic t a l e s by putting overdimensional figures l i k e Medea or Jason i n a r e a l i s t i c human setting and show what this 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 thing to other heroes, such as Orestes, for instance. 144 There Is a t r a d i t i o n a l view that Euripides' Medea i s a misogynist's attack on women i n general, which, however, seems to be an untenable argument. For no matter how e v i l Medea may appear, what Euripides does to Jason, the f e a r l e s s leader of the Argonauts, i s undoubtedly f a r more damning. At l e a s t Medea's greatness, even i f i t i s i n crime, i s unquestionable, while Jason's fame and stature as the hero of the Argonauts has been reduced to nothing. Whatever Euripides' r e a l motivation and the cause of h i s f a s c i n a t i o n with the Medea story may have been, he has - as we s h a l l see—produced a greater and more e f f e c t i v e play than h i s many successors. Often i n t r y i n g to correct so-called flaws'in Euripides' play, these l a t e r w r i t e r s have considerably weakened the o v e r a l l impact of t h e i r plays. 145 (2) Seneca In a certain sense, i t i s much easier to form an opinion about Seneca's Medea than about Euripides'. 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 figure as the Medea of Euripides. F i r s t of a l l , one's feelings never r e a l l y become engaged, and no sympathy for her l o t i s enlisted. Seneca's Medea exists from beginning to end outside the human sphere. She does not confide her troubles or her plans, 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 attitude of the chorus towards her. The chorus never express sympathy with Medea or her l o t . She i s never regarded as a woman amongst other women. Medea i s is o l a t e d , by her o r i g i n and her behaviour as much as by the chorus' attitude 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 leaving her and marrying someone more suitable: Delivered from the wedlock of uncouth Phasis, . •• schooled f e a r f u l l y and with unwilling hand to fondle the bosom of an incontinent mate, now, happy groom, take unto yourself an Aeolian maid; only now can you marry with the blessings of the bride's k i n . Cp. 369) Even the nurse, who seems to be closest to her, fears her more than she loves her. But then Medea herself never appeals for human sympathy and compassion. I t i s true she begs Creon for 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 and sympathetic understanding of her situation. 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 certainly receives very unsympathetic treatment by the chorus and Creon, this is not entirely unjustified. Already in the prologue Medea threatens death and destruction to Creon, his house and the whole city. 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 identify with such inhumanity and glorification of crime. Medea is clearly a monster from beyond the human.realm who 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 in her fate. As Medea never confides in the chorus, they never have a chance to advise her. The play therefore never evokes the feeling of personal guilt for our acquiescence and lack of interference, which certainly plays a part i n the reaction to Euripides' play. Although aSeneca clearly states at what point Medea f i r s t decides to hurt Jason through their children, i t i s with a sense of helplessness that we must let this action engendered by a supernatural power take i t s course. Added to that is the fact that Medea's emotions vacillate so much that one can never clearly predict her next decision and whether she w i l l actually carry i t out. 147 Her hesitation just before k i l l i n g the children and the very fact 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 clear that Seneca does not intend to show us a Medea torn between two conflictingf-passions, her desire for revenge and her love for her children, who destroys herself as well as the children 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 ruthless war and from both sides opposing waves lash the seas and the cornered surface seethes... (p. 392) Seneca's Medea has r e a l l y no choice, either for good or for e v i l . KeitNeiftiercdi^cSe.neeai' sjeeja to have been p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n pointing 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 deflating the ancient myths by portraying them i n a r e a l i s t i c setting. Quite to the contrary, Medea never becomes r e a l but remains the sorceress and witch of the ancient myth. But neither must i t be assumed that Seneca's only intention i s to shock and h o r r i f y . There, i s an obvious moral purpose involved i n showing the destruction wrought by unbridled passions. According to Stoic concepts, Medea's passionate love was bound to have as disastrous results as her hatred. That the Medea seems to be a showpiece d'emoEStrating the e v i l effects of anger also seems confirmed when comparing the p o r t r a i t of anger contained i n his moral essay De Ira with a description of Medea, such as the one given by the nurse: Her cheeks are hectic, her breath a deep panting, she shouts, she floods her eyes with a gush of tears, she beams with ecstasy, 148 she passes through the gamut of every passion. She i s f r u s t r a t e d , she threatens, she seethes, she complains, she groans. How w i l l her mind's weight veer, how w i l l her threats be directed, where w i l l that surging wave break? Her fury s p i l l s over i t s bounds. (p. 377) Medea should therefore be regarded as an a l l e g o r i c a l figure d e p i c t i n g the e v i l s and the madness of excessive anger. Perhaps Seneca also intended to point out i n t h i s play the dangers inherent i n man's t r y i n g to go beyond the natural l i m i t s set to him. When the Argonauts set out on t h e i r venture into the unknown, they did conquer the ocean and open the way for man's further and wider exploration. However the p r i c e paid f o r the success of t h e i r quest was not only the end of the golden age of content, and the death of the ad-venturers; but the p r i z e i t s e l f , the Golden Fleece, was brought back to Greece together with i t s curse, Medea. Jason's b i t t e r r esignation and defiant words at the end of the play seem to confirm that man can only carry the burden of h i s l i f e , There i s no ultimate hope for humanity. Jason thus seems to have matured into the example of a Stoic hero. 1 4 9 (3) THE RENAISSANCE: de Laperuse, Galladei and Dolce The trend to dehumanize and to isolate Medea from her surroundings was started by Seneca and is continued in these Renaissance plays. Her lot 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 in Dolce's play, for instance - there can be no identification with Medea as a woman. It is highly ironic, therefore, that the Medea of de Laperuse, the most callous and inhumanr/bf the three, should proclaim herself an example for her troubled sisters to follow: Qui aura desormais de faux amant le 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 their im-portance as valid commentators or sounding-board for the action or opinions expressed. It becomes more and more d i f f i c u l t for an audience to be guided by or rely on the chorus in forming i t s opinion and to identify with them. The audience must,therefore, pay more attention to the interplay between, and the reactions of individual 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 lot and then again Jason's, when they are not indulging in rather inane and irrelevant comments. They fear Medea and consider her;a curse on Jason and Greece. It would have been best for a l l concerned i f Medea had never existed: Medee, trop heureuse Et hors de tous regrets, Si par mer fluctueuse N'eusse suiuy les Grecsj 150 Encore plus heureuse Si ton mal-heureux sort Ne t'eust faict amoureuse De l'aucteur de ta mort! Encor plus fortunee Si, 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 lot, 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 in the wrong, they do not approve of Medea's revenge. The chorus also tries to warn Creusa about accepting gifts from the enemy but, at the end, they meekly bow to fate. A l l in a l l , this chorus seem to advocate moderation in a situation which is too explosive for them to understand. They are not willing to take a stand either way. Galladei's chorus are totally prejudiced in favour'of Jason and very vindictive towards Medea, They are also incredibly curious and absolutely avid to receive a l l the horrible news f i r s t . As a l l the action is reported, i t seems to be the chorus' main function to intercept mes-sengers 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 . Creon is advised by the oracle to give Creusa to Jason as a wife. Jason, although penniless and homeless, has the reputation of a hero and certainly 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 partita Del nostro Regno? quando Uscira di Corinto Questa peste cr,udele? (Act III, p. 43) They, like Seneca's chorus, deplore the price they had to pay for the Golden Fleece: A' noi, Argo porto l a pretiosa Pelle de l'oro, a fair Grecia f e l i c e . Ma aggiungi a cio, Medea D'ogni maligna & rea Malia sola inventrice, (0' merce indegna) che dolente & tristo T i pentirai di t a i dannoso acquisto. (Act II, p. 28) Only the chorus suspect Medea's sudden change to humility which they find more frightening than her rage. However, they certainly 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 is in the hereafter, i f monsters like Medea are allowed to give free rein to their violent passions. Galladei's Medea certainly never asks for or receives any sympathy from anyone else in the play - except from Jason and i t is hard to conceive how an audience could feel 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 child murder. Otherwise they identify completely with Medea's revenge and even applaud her for i t . They seem to be blind to the consequences of their cooperation with Medea. Only at the end they are suddenly brought face to face with the realization of their share in the guilt. They seem to be taken in by Medea's flattering comment that Corinth is 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 lost their lives in the conflagration caused by Medea's magic. It is 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 is a queen no longer. Medea quite systematically sets out to win the sympathy of the chorus and by her flattery gradually succeeds in evoking their compassion and even i n enlisting their 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 sorelle. (Act II, 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 tries to explain that they cannot understand how deeply she has been offended. At this point, however, the chorus start turning against her. Only when she lets herself be convinced to spare the children and k i l l Jason instead, does the chorus again approve her. At the end, realizing that they have not 153;: prevented Medea, they revile her but also acknowledge their own guilty silence: Quanto mal commettemmo A non haver scoperto Cio, ch'ella in noi 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 flagello Ne l a istessa cittade De l a sua crudeltade. CAct V, p. 38) Later they resign themselves to the fact that after 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 in status and r e l i a b i l i t y . De Laperuse's Creon freely admits Jason's share in the guilt, but i s prepared to disregard i t . He is very ironic in his exchange with Medea. Yet he does fear her, not only as a threat to him, but also to the country. He agrees without a moment's hesitation to keep Medea's children. He is suspicious of Medea's motives and regards her as a hardened criminal. Eventually he grants her the day's delay despite himself. Creon i s thus the only real adversary Medea has to overcome. 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 is not guil t -less either. His opinion would probably carry a great deal of weight with an audience. He seems jus t i f i e d at least in trying to free his country from the ev i l Medea, even i f i t i s hard to understand why he should want Jason, about whom he has no illusions,for a son-in-law. 154 Galladei's Creon, on the other hand, i s depicted as a rather cruel 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 oracle again, but the e v i l ticdVi.ngs arrive too l a t e to stop the catastrophe. This Creon cannot be regarded as an innocent or blameless vic t i m of Medea's passion for revenge; he i s the one who p r a c t i c a l l y coerced Jason into leaving Medea. Dolce's Medea i s treated quite d i f f e r e n t l y by Creon and by Aegeus. Creon recognizes that Medea i s worthy of better 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 Te r r e s t i ; ma v o r r e i , che f o s t i ancora Dopo Creusa l a primiera Donna. CAct I I , p. 14) But he fears her^.as a sorceress and a threat to his throne and has, there-fore, no alternative except to k i l l or at least banish her. Aegeus i s just 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 offers Medea asylum, but does not know or care to know i f and How she w i l l revenge herself. That he i s sus-picious of perhaps being involved i n something unsavoury, might explain why he i s so eager to leave Corinth immediately i n spite of Creon's pressing i n v i t a t i o n to stay for the wedding f e s t i v i t i e s . Dolce's Medea i s c e r t a i n l y able to arouse sympathy. 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 useful to her. Like Creon, Jason and even Aegeus, Medea w i l l always prefer usefulness to&honesty. 155 A l l three Renaissance writers — perhaps Galladei more than the other two - seem to wish to portray the supernatural. Descriptions of incantations, s p e l l s , curses, premonitions and oracles abound. This stress on the supernatural however does reduce the tragic aspect of the plays. An e v i l witch cannot be considered a tragic heroine. I t appears f a i r l y obvious that Galladei's melodrama probably has no further motive than to shock and h o r r i f y . The play i s crowded with gory descriptions recounted i n minute d e t a i l . There are so many horrible deaths and suicides — even the priestess at Delphi k i l l s her-s 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 play when the two boys; Dindimo and Tersandro, pause i n Act IV, while discussing t h e i r troubled family l i f e , to praise P h i l i p of Austria and the Catholic r e l i g i o n imposed and enforced by him. Perhaps Galladei was a f r a i d that P h i l i p of Austria might take offence at the cruelty and tyranny of Creon, king of Corinth. His attempt to outdo Seneca cannot be taken very seriously, however. Dolce, apart from his preoccupation with power and rank and the master-servant relationship, seems to be the f i r s t writer since Euripides, who again shows some concern for e x i s t i n g prejudices towards strangers and barbarians. Especially, Creon feels very strongly that, only i f separated from t h e i r mother, Medea's children w i l l have a chance to grow up to be worthy sons of t h e i r father. In addition, the opinion i s ex-pressed by a l l characters and throughout the play that the useful must always take precedence over the honest and the true. The result of such an attitude can only be disaster. 156 I f de Laperuse t r u l y held his Medea to be a representative of womanhood, be would appear to be the misogynist Euripides was not. (It i s possible 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 his attitude towards women.) In any case, his Medea i s so inhuman that i t would be hard for anyone to i d e n t i f y with her. Aside from t h i s , one i s hard pressed to trace anything other than a fascination with violence, crime and the supernatural i n his version of the Medea-story. Although each of these writers has touched on certain aspects and problems of the story which w i l l Be taken up and further developed by l a t e r w r i t e r s , neither 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 tragic stature due to her inhumanity and extraordinary powers of witch-c r a f t . The chorus can no longer Be regarded as a wise and good counsellor; they have Become partisan, undecided and ineffe c t u a l and can therefore no longer Be regarded as a guide to audience reaction. At the same time, Creon has emerged as a worthy adversary of Msfea, whether his protrayal i s sympathetic or not. Reasons of state appear for the f i r s t time as a motivation for Jason's remarriage and Medea's Banishment. And there i s a strong preference given to the useful over the honest and j u s t , especially i n Dolce's play. Hand i n hand with t h i s goes the trend to give less importance to Jason's Broken oath. Perjury for reasons of expediency does not necessarily affect his 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 theatrical convenience than actual characters. In Corneille's play almost a l l the characters are guilty i n some respect or other. Medea's crime therefore i s monstroiuts only in 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 exist i n this play. Revenge i s on everybody's mind. With their last words both Creon and Creusa ask Jason to avenge their death, a l -though they do recognize that greed and vanity have made them guilty.too. Their treatment of Aegeus, who himself favours revenge for his insulted honour by any available means, also belies their nobility. Only Pollux, who as Jason's confident is not really a character as such, seems to be blameless. Longepierre does not present quite such a black picture of humanity as Corneille. It i s fate or the heartless gods who are to blame for men's miseries. Jason is hopelessly infatuated with Creusa and - with the exception of his love for his children — blind to a l l except his desires. Creusa at f i r s t fights her love for Jason and feels concern and pity for Medea's fate and that of the children. Creon i s mainly concerned with matters of state. He refuses to have Medea k i l l e d , but he agrees to her exile out of p o l i t i c a l necessity. It i s Medea's total isolation and the threatened separation from her children which f i n a l l y lead her to k i l l them. Love is a very violent 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 is not man's lot in l i f e . Only occasional moments of joy are possible, and then they are hardly ever shared by the beloved. This idea is probably best expressed by the dying Creusa for whom Jason's presence is both utter bliss and utter 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 in the Renaissance plays. The children are k i l l e d off-stage. Creon and Creusa are consumed by an invisible f i r e which internalizes and in a sense diminishes their torture compared to the former horrifying descriptions of their death. There seems to be a definite change in taste. There is also a renewed concern with the concept of barbarity, especially in Longepierre's Medee. Usually i t is Medea who is cursed as a barbarian, especially by Creon who shows great prejudice against her: Va, sors de mes Etats, sors barbare Etrangere. Abandonne Corinthe, et cours en d'antres lieux, Porter tes attentats et le courroux des Dieux. D'un monstre t e l que t o i delivre mon Empire, Cesse d'infecter l ' a i r qu'en ces lieux on respire; De ton horrible aspect ne souille plus mes yeux; Et n'empoisonne plus l a lumiere des Cieux. (Act II, p. 58) But Medea points out the Greek barbarity of separating a mother from her children: Tu m'Stes mes Enfans; tu me ravis, barbare, Le seul bien qui pouvoit adoucir mon malheur. CAct II, p. 67) And before k i l l i n g the children Medea is torn between the "barbarian pity" which would let them liv e and the murder which turns her into a barbarian mother. She has no choice hut to be barbarian. There is no possibility for happiness for Medea either. 159 (5) 18th Century: Lessing, Glover, Gotter and Klinger In Lessing's play the contrast between the barbarian, unprinci-pled passion and c i v i l i z e d Greek., reason is 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 in a modern setting. Glover Glover's Medea is not only absolved of guilt, 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 after the infanticide, the others do not abhor but pity her. The true v i l l a i n of Glover's play i s r.Creon who, by his violation of a l l that i s sacred and by his chauvinistic attitude, arouses not only the wrath, of the gods — and especially of the goddesses - but also of the Corinthian people who rise against him. A kind of melancholy order is reinstated in Corinth after Creon's arrogance and presumption have been punished and Medea, the instrument of the gods and the grand-daughter of the Sun, has been restored to~her own. Glover shows, especially in the portrayal of Creon, a strong pre-occupation with the dominating male and with prejudice against strangers. Creon, for instance, even takes i t upon himself to punish Medea for her disobedience in having l e f t her father's home. Mention is also made of the injustice of the divorce laws giving a l l rights to the husband: How could'st thou lead this all-excelling princess From clime to clime, the associate iri thy t o i l s , To f a l l the victim in a foreign land Of those unrighteous statutes, which appoint Imperious husbands masters of divorce; 160 How think, th'establish'd practice of the Greeks, Or a l l , which varnish'd pol i c y might plead, Could e'er absolve thee from a solemn t i e With such uncommon obligations bound By those superior, those unwritten laws, Which honour whispers to the conscious heart? (Act II, 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 interpretation of the Medea-story. Klinger Klinger's Medea i s hated and misunderstood by a l l but her children. When humanity f i n a l l y rejects her and she regains her demonic majesty, her break with mankind i s t e r r i H e . Klinger shows us a p o r t r a i t of a semi-goddess whose greatness i s unbearable to the common man. Klinger also touches some s o c i a l issues, 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 th i s refusal to accept otherness or superiority i n fellow beings can hs:a>v e devastating consequences i s made abundantly clear i n this play. Medea also questions the real value of the famous Greek c i v i l i -zation when opposed to the simple f a i t h of the barbarian: Ruhig wiirden die machtigen, furchtbar erhabenen Krafte i n meinem freundlichen Busen geschlummert haben, denn nie hatte i c h unter meinem treuen aufrichtigen Volke die Falschheit, die Laster geahndet, die i c h i n D ir, 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 die schwarze Erfahrung an euch, den reinen Geist der Enkelin der Sonne, und muss si e si c h einst euch,als Tochter der furcht-baren Hekate zeigen, so zwlngt i h r sie dazu. CAct III, p. 204) 161 (6) 19th Century: Grillparzer, Lucas and Legouve In these plays the chorus has again been dispensed with and the attitude towards Medea varies. Generally we find her to be mis-understood and ostracized, although she seems to make a greater effort than ever before to adapt herself 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 ruler, yet, he regards Medea as a monster and a threat. Orlltlparzer In Grillparzer's play Medea's notoriety precedes her actual ap-pearance on stage. Her reputation as a witch and the rumour of her crimes arouse great fear amongst the Corinthians. Creusa recoils 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. G r i l l -parzer's Creon seems to be a very sensible man who has only the best interests of his daughter and his country in 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 in their 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 precipitating the catastrophe himself. He, however, learns through his experience and uhfortunafeeiHy^reaMzesstoo late his own injustice towards Medea and Jason's share of guilt. Although Grillparzer's Medea i s humiliated and hurt, she attains a resigned and solitary dignity at the end. She never has a real friend or sympathizer. Gora, her nurse, who inspires the revenge with her tales 1 6 2 of Althea, despises her.while Medea tries to adapt herself and denounces her when she fi n a l l y acts. Creusa lacks in experience and insight to become the friend Medea seeks, and i t is she who deals her"finally the most crushing blow by estranging the children from her too. Throughout the play Medea retains her humanity, which assures her the sympathy of the audience in spite of the enormity of her deed. Also the horror of the infanticide seems to be mitigated and to come almost as an anti-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 inevitable product of the situation Medea finds herself in. The children were fated to die and for Medea (and Grillparzer) death was after a l l not the worst thing that could happen to them. It seems to be f a i r l y clear that Grillparzer was personally very involved in the triangle situation he portrayed i n his Medea. He appears to have recognized himself in Jason, the way Jason recognized himself in 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 in des deinen Spiegel Und rufst meine Gedanken wider mich? (p. 38) In Jason he castigated his own in a b i l i t y to find happiness in his relation-ship with women. In their union he portrayed his fear of the chains of marriage and his belief that a lasting relationship between a man and a woman was impossible. On a more general plane, the play also reflects Grillparzer's conviction that man strives in vain for power and happiness. Lucas Lucas' Medea i s not such, an isolated figure, nor does she seem 163 to be overly affected by her si t u a t i o n . Throughout the play, her nurse stays staunchly at her side. Creusa and her maidens are impressed by her regal bearing. I t i s only her name which provokes a reaction 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 friend and admirer of Medea's, w i l l offer her his protection 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 lacks coherence and c r e d i b i l i t y . Legouve Here again i s a very s o l i t a r y and isolated Medea. The only person to whom Medea can confide her troubles, 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 insight 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 pro-tect 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 drives her to the murder of her children - far more an act of s e l f -destruction than of revenge on Jason. At the end of the play 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 after her deed, but "alone, trembling and horror-stricken" Cp. 34). She had feared that the children would be her means of punishment, but she had never realized the nature and the extent of that punishment. Both Medea and Jason have 164 been destroyed by their relationship which united them to the end in mutual horror and guilt. 165 (7) 20th Century: Attempt at Conclusion The 20th century has produced the most divergent attitudes towards Medea so far. Almost a l l the themes raised at one time or another in the past are incorporated and developed in one of the plays. The Medea-portrayals themselves range from horrifying witch or semi-goddess to the image of self-sacrificing womanhood. Yet whatever Medea's attitude towards l i f e and towards her surroundings may be, she i s always different and set apart from ordinary women. The emphasis on her "other-ness" i s stronger than in any previous century: In some plays her masculine traits are stressed, in others, her familiarity with the unknown and mysterious forces of tire universe, her witchcraft or her divine origin. In six of the nine plays Medea i s of different colour and race, which adds racial discrimination to the discrimination against the stranger and barbarian. Thus Medea's action i s seen as a desperate response to an inimical environment,.and the guilt has been shifted from the individual onto society whose prejudices and injustices 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 isolation i s however to a great extent voluntary: Von meinem Zorn verstehst du nichts. Von meinem Leid effahrst du nichts. Und deinen Untergang erkennst du nicht. Ich 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 isolation which turns her to e v i l . She sounds like Klinger's Medea when she exclaims: 166 In grauenhafter Einsamkeit steh ich.• Und bose wird der Einsame. (p. 625) Even her servants who showed her at least 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 wollt ein Wort von mir. Ein Schicksal 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 fate of woman who sa-c r i f i c e s her own youth and beauty to bear children to her husband. Her strength i s sapped so that he may have sons to carry on his name. How-ever, with her l a s t orgy of hatred and revenge Medea removes herself completely from the human plane. Like the gods she rejoins, she seems to thrive 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 destruction 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 divine o r i g i n and they arouse a great deal of sympathy. Lenormand's Katha has been uprooted from her native s o i l and i s treated with undeserved c a l -lousness and cruelty by her new compatriots. Betrayed again and again, she can see no other solution to her despair than death for the children and herself. She i s as much the vic t i m as the instrument of her revenge. Oparre does not t r y to f i g h t her husband's culture and standards as Katha does. She i s a devout converted Christian and t r i e s her utmost to adapt to the customs of the Salem puritans. However, her every move i s 167 misinterpreted and, when even Nathaniel seems relieved 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 pres-sured him into forsaking her. In Anderson's play 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 family and the Salem puritans. With, only one exception, Oparre and her children are treated l i k e unclean animals or incarnations of the d e v i l . The darker colour of Oparre's skin makes her no better 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 false 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 practice often hides a p i t i l e s s cruelty usually attributed 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 play much of the blame for the catastrophe seems to be l a i d on the attitude of the others towards Katha. Racial prejudice i s rank throughout the play. De Mezzano himself seems to have l i t t l e regard for the people whose leader he was for eight years, a fact of which the princess i s well aware. Mon pere et mon frere, a cause de leur couleur, n'etaient meme pas des hommes, a tes yeux. "Un sauvage de plus 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 attitude not unknown to contemporary society. For a l l the whites these yellow barbarians are l i t t l e more.than animals to be tamed and exploited. Even De Mezzano's children are regarded as l i t t l e trained monkeys whom society 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 raci a l l y mixed children, while Anderson points an accusing finger at us a l l by shifting the guilt to the puritans of Salem and showing us how slow prejudices are to die. 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 origin and endowed with magic powers, i s not as affected by rac i a l discrimination as the Medea-figures of the other two plays. Medea's children are even of god-like appearance because Jahnn seems to have seen in the mixed race hope for a positive 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 in attempting to bring the benefits of progress to these backward nations. There is a warning note sounded throughout the play that perhaps one day the exploited w i l l turn on their "benefactors": Craignez les cervelles sauvages gonflees de vos inventions. Craignezijh'iAsie'cruelle en vetements de trava i l . Si vous faites d'elle un enfer pareil au votre, i l en sortira des demons qui repandront vos poisons sur l a terre. Et vous serez leurs premieres victimes. (p. 123) As already Seneca warned, the £rlte<a country may have to pay for 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 justice. While Lenormand and _Anderson seem to show increased social aware-ness and tend to shift responsibility from the individual onto society, Jahnn s t i l l stresses individual guilt. Jason not only betrays Medea 169 threefold but also each one of his sons. Creusa, too, turns t r a i t o r i n preferring Jason to his son. Furthermore the oldest boy betrays the love of the younger one after his meeting with Creusa. A l l of Jahnn's characters also show a tremendous need for love regardless of the consequences.The younger boy exclaims: "Du darfst mich toten, wenn du mich nur l i e b s t . " (p. 629) Jahnn's Expressionist play has many s i m i l a r i t i e s with Klinger's jafeuiEm und Dra-iggMedea. In both plays Medea attempts to become human for love of Jason and f a i l s to keep his love. Her break with 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 further stresses man's quest for immortality: as symbolized by the ..Golden Fleece: death can be staved off temporarily but w i l l always win i n the end.. Jahnn's obsession with pan-sexualism, incest and brother—love, however, puts a st r a i n on the Medea material. 17Q (b) After 1945 - Jeffers, Ariouilh, Csokor, Alvaro, Braiin, Magnuson It i s d i f f i c u l t to find some common characteristics in the at-titude towards Medea in the plays written after 1945. A l l the writers recasting the theme must i n i t i a l l y have been attracted by the tra- , ditional story. They must have been willing to work within a given frame and use a set configuration of characters. In other words, where there is a Medea, there always must be a Jason, a betrayal f o l -lowed by revenge and children fated to die by their mother's hand. However, the inevitability and certainty of the story's outcome has not led to a unity in conception or interpretation of the material. On the contrary, this given structure has in some cases been stretched to the breaking point or again i t has been use as a convenient dramatic vehicle. In AnouiOh's Medee*, for instance, the murder of the children is completely unmoflivated; i t merely forms part of the traditional story. 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 basically 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 variety. "^ The story is based on a fundamental truth of human relations: love does not have the same meaning to a man and to a woman. The woman i s seen as the preserver of the home and the past, for whom love means everything and who is unswervingly loyal as long as her love i s reciprocated. The absoluteness of her love is carf ried over into her revenge, when her love i s rejected. For the man love 1 7 1 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-certain, i n other words, the future. Wife and children 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 rej e c t s . In spite of this 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 with the i r 20th century counterparts. Some of these changes are quite subtle, 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 direct 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 fact that less and less importance has been at-tached to the fact that Jason broke his oath to Medea. Condemnation of Jason i s therefore usually 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 Euripides' Jason but which only added to his basic g u i l t of treason and perjury have now become the main reason for his punishment. Often also Jason may appear as a perfectly 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 his punishment, for a fa u l t he could not help but commit, must appear ex-cessively 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; Medea's crime gains a l l the aspects of a crime passionnel the rejected wife takes revenge on her r i v a l . 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 rule the motives leading to the murder of Creusa are different from those leading to the murder of the children. Medea's crime has thus become two separate acts. In Euripides play these two deeds were complimentary and inseparable. For his Medea, neither deed was complete within i t s e l f but only together with the other constituted "perfection i n revenge." There i s another reason why Medea's crime has become two separate acts. For Euripides' Jason c h i l d -lessness i s tantamount to a l i v i n g death. A l l his l i f e and his achieve-ments become f u t i l e without children to carry his name and t e l l of his glory. This importance of children for a man i s further stressed i n Medea's discussion with 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 his children but also the mother of his future children. Creusa, therefore, presents a threat to Medea not merely because she i s a r i v a l for Jason's love but also because she i s the prospective mother of his future children. In the 20th century, children are generally far less 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 his Euripidean precursor. Contemporary writers have therefore been forced to find other reasons for Medea's child-murder. Often these explanations of her deed tend to ex-culpate her. Necessity, love, a desire to protect or save, or delusion 173 and insanity, a l l become reasons leading to the i n f a n t i c i d e . Guilt no longer seems to rest on Medea either. 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 betrayal and Medea's murders are no longer deeds for which they are personally 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 plays, Medea and Jason - the couple -are doomed from the start and thei r relationship 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 structure of the play: v i c t o r y has become synonymous with defeat. The triumphant exultation, experienced by the Euripideah or by the Senecan Medea, i s no longer possible for the Medeas of the 20th century. Medea, l i k e Jason, has become a victim. There are further changes i n the portrayal of other characters i n these 20th century plays. I t has been noted already that Creusa has steadily gained i n importance during the years. In many plays she serves as a f o i l and counterpart to Medea. Often she i s the only one to show some understanding of Medea, however, a friendship between the two women i s prevented by t h e i r love for the same man. Creusa's r i s e i n importance seems to be d i r e c t l y linked to the change i n motivation from injured honour to jealousy. Creon, who at times has been portrayed as an outright v i l l a i n or a 174 crafty po l i t i c i a n , has become a concerned and capable statesman in many of these most recent plays. He i s seen as a guardian of justice and peace. Often he may feel sympathy and compassion for Medea but, since she poses a threat to the welfare of his people, he must place the good of the state above his personal feelings. 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 in most of the modern plays. The chorus, who has gradually lost in importance since Euripides' Medea and who has disappeared completely from the 19th century plays, for instance, is reintroduced in the 20th century. This is no doubt due to the lack of concern with realism i n modern theatre. But the chorus does not regain the position they held in the Greek theatre. They seem to serve primarily as a group of commentators who are usually very partisan and biased either for or against Medea. One of the most striking features common to almost a l l of these plays is the increase in violence and brutality. Already Euripides' Medea contains a large measure of gruesome detail 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 cruelty and bestiality, often expressed in strong and revolting language, which does not seem to have a place in tragedy. It is a violence and savagery unequaled since the Renaissance. Violence seems to be increasing in our daily lives and to have become a sign of our times. Like the present, the Renaissance was a time of transition and of great 175 upheavals i n men's l i v e s and thinking. This might be one explanation for the si m i l a r preoccupation with 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 opposition 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 Euripides. In the 20th century Medea's "other-ness" has often been further emphasized by portraying her as a woman of d i f f e r e n t race or colour. In the most recent plays j however, the emphasis on s o c i a l issues appears to have diminished s l i g h t l y , arid interest i s focused mainly on the i n t r i c a c i e s of human relations i n general and especially on the relationship between men and women. I t has been found then that some of the major themes of Euripides' Medea are s t i l l of v i t a l interest 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 vehicle for new themes and concerns which were unknown i n Euripides' time. 176 VI. BIBLIOGRAPHY (1) Primary Works - Medea Plays Alvaro, Corrado. Lunga notte di Medea. Milano: Bompiani, 1966. ' . "The Long Night of Medea" trans. E. Fisher Friedman Plays for a New Theatre. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1966. Anderson, Maxwell. The Wingless Victory. Washington: Anderson House, 1936. Anouilh, Jean. Medee. Paris: La Table Ronde, 1947. Braun, Mattias. Medea. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 1959. Corneille, Pierre. "Medee"Theatre complet, TomesPremier. Paris: Editions Gamier Freres, 1971. Csokor, Franz Theodor. Medea postbellica, unverkaufliches Manuskript. Wien: Thomas Sessler Verlag. Dolce, Lodovico. La Medea. Vinegia: Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari, 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. Philip Vellacott Medea and Other Plays. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1968. The Medea trans. Gilbert Murray. London: Unwin Brothers Limited, 1965. Galladei, Maffeo. Medea. Venetia: Giovan G r i f f i o , 1558. Glover, Richard. Medea. London: H. Woodfall, 1790. Gotter, Friedrich Wilhelm. Medea. Gotha: Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, 1775. Grillparzer, Franz. "Medea" Franz Grillparzer: Medea,ed. Marie Luise Kaschnitz. Frankfurt/M: Ullstein Biitecner, 1966. Jahnn,Hans Henny. "Medea" Dramen I. Frankfurt am Main: Europaische Verlagsanstalt, 1963. Jeffers, Robinson. Medea. New York: New Directions Publishing Corpo-ration, 1970. 177 Klinger, Friedrich Maximilian. "Medea in Korinth" Werke, Zweyter Band, Theater Zweyter T e i l . Leipzig: Verlag von Gerhard Fleischer, 1832. Laperuse, J. de. "Medee" Le Tresor des pieces angoumoisines, inedites ou rares, Tome II. Angouleme: Societe Archeologique et Histo-rique de la Charente, 1866. Legouve, Ernest. Medea trans. Thomas Williams from the Italian version of Joseph Montanelli. New York: John A. Gray & Green, 1867. Lenormand, H.-R. "Asie" Theatre Complet, Tome IX. Paris: Albin Michel, Editeur, 1938. Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, "Miss Sara Sampson" Gotthold Ephraim Lessing  Miss Sara Sampson, Ein Biirgerliches Trauerspiel by Karl E i b l . Frankfurt am Main: Athenaeum Verlag, 1971. Longepierre, Hilaire-Bernard de Requeleyne, baron de. Medee. Paris: Editions A.-G. Nizet, 1967. Lucas, Hippolyte. Medee. Paris: Michel Levy Freres, 1855. Magnuson, Jim. "African Medea" New American Plays, vol. 4, ed. William M. Hoffman. New York: H i l l & Wang, 1971. Seneca, "Medea" trans. Moses Hadas, Roman Drama. Indianapolis: The Library of Liberal Arts, 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 Miller, vol. The Loeb Classical 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 in this paper are taken from this edition as i t was the most recent and most accurate translation available in the English language. 178 (2) Secondary Works - Comparative Studies Block, Achim. Medea-Dramen der Weltliteratur. Diss. GSttingen, 1957. Frenzel, Elisabeth. Stoffe der Weltliteratur. Stuttgart: Alfred Kroner Verlag, 1963, p. 420. Friedrich, Wolf-Hartmut. "Medeas Rache" Wege der Forschung, LXXXIX, 1968, p. 177. Fri t z , Kurt von. "Die Entwicklung der Iason-Medeasage und die Medea des Euripides" Antike und moderne Tragodie. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1962, p. 332. Hamburger, Kate. "Medea" Von Sophokles zu Sartre, Griechische Dramen- figuren antik und modern. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1962, p. 161. Lebel, M. "De l a Medee d'Euripide aux Medees d'Anouilh et de Jeffers" Phoenix, X, 1956, p. 139. McCracken, George. "Medea in Modern Dress" The Classical Journal, 33, 1937-38, p. 38. Mead, Louise M. "A Study in the 'Medea'" Greece and Rome, 12, 1943, p. 15. Medea, Theater der Jahrhunderte. Ed'In^ eafehimT^ Schondorfif:ifkc Munchen: Langen-Muller 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 Driscoll. Maxwell Anderson, The Prophet as Playwright. London and New York: Abelard-Schuman Limited, 1959. Bishop, J. David. "The Choral Odes of Seneca's Medea" The Classical  Journal, 60, 1965, p. 313. Burnett, Anne. "Medea and the Tragedy of Revenge" Classical Philology, LXVIII, 1973, p. 1. Buttrey, T.V. "Accident and Design in Euripides' Medea" American  Journal of Philology, LXXIX, 1958, p. 1. Clark, Barrett H. Maxwell Anderson, The Man and His Plays. New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1970. Conacher, D.J. Euripidean Drama: Myth, Theme and Structure. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967. D i l l e r , Hans. OuuoC S'e xoetcrcrujv T O J V e]acov gptAe.uuaT<i>v Hermes, XCIV, 1966 p. 267. • Dunkle, J. Roger. "The Aegeus Episode and the Theme of Euripides' Medea" TAPA, C, 1969, p. 97. Ebener, Dietrich. "Zum Motiv des Kindermordes i n der Medeia" Rheinisches  Museum, 104, 1961, p. 213. Erbse, Hartmut. "Ueber die Aigeus^szene der euripideischen 'Medea'" Wiener Studien, LXXIX, 1966, p. 120. Euripide, Entretiens sur l'antiquite classique, Tome VI. Vandoeuvres-Geneve, 1958. Euripides. Herausgeg. y. Ernst-Richard Schwinge. Wege der Forschung, Band LXXXIX. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968. Euripides, A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. Erich Segal. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968. Evans, Elizabeth C. "A Stoic Aspect of Senecan Drama: Portraiture" TAPA, 81, 1950, p. 169. Garton, Charles. "The Background to Character Portrayal in Seneca" Classical 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 in Seneca's Medea" Classical Philology, LXI, 1966, p. 169. Hering, Christoph. - Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, Per Weltmann als  Dichter. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1966. Herrington, C.J. "Senecan Tragedy" Arion, 5, 1966, p. 422. Hohl, Siegmar. Dag Medea-Drama von Hans Henny Jahnn, Diss. Miinchen, 1966. Hubert, J.D. "Une Tragedie de l a sensibilite, La Medee de Longepierre" Romanische Forschungen, LXIX, 1957, p. 28. Hurst, Andre. "Le Char du s o l e i l " Historia, 20, 1971, p. 303. Jonkers, E.J. "Mag men van slechten mensen giften aannemen?" Hermeneus, XL, 1968, p. 9. Kaschnitz, Marie Luise. Franz Grillparzer: Medea, Dichtung und Wirklichkeit. Frankfurt/M': Verlag Ullstein, 1966. Kerenyi, C. The Heroes of the Greeks. London: Thames and Hudson, 1959. Kullmann, Wolfgang. "Medeas Entwicklung bei Seneca" Forschungen zur  romischen Literatur, Festschrift Karl Biichner. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1970. Lattimore, Richmond. Story Patterns in Greek Tragedy. London: The Athlone Press, 1964. Lesky, Albin. Die griechische Tragodie. Stuttgart: Alfred Kroner Verlag, 1958. Die tragische Dichtung der Hellenen. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1972. "Zur Prohlematik des Psychologischen in der Tragodie des Euripides" Gymnasium, 67, 1960, p. 10. The Living Heritage of Greek Antiquity/X'heritage vivant de l'antiquite  grecque. La Haye: Mouton & Co., 1967. Lucas, D.W. The Greek Tragic Poets, rev. ed. London: Cohen & West, 1959. Marti, Berthe M. "Seneca's Tragedies: A New Interpretation" TAPA, 76, 1945, p. 216. "The Prototypes of Seneca's Tragedies" Classical Philology, XLII, 1947, p. 1. 181 Maurach, Gregor. "Jason und Medea bei >Seneca" Aritike und Abendland, XII, 1966, p. 125. Maurens, Jacques. La Tragedie sans tragiqne, le neo-stoicisme dans l'oeuvre de Pierre Corneille. Paris: Librairie Armand Colin, 1966. Meissner, Bernhard. "Euripides Medea 1236-1250" Hermes, XLVI, 1968, p. 155. Musurillo, Herbert. "Euripides' Medea: A Reconsideration" American  Journal of Philology, 87, 1966, p. 52. Owen, William H. "Commonplace and Dramatic Symbol in Seneca's Tragedies" TAPA, XCIX, 1968, p. 291. Palmer, Robert B. "An Apology for Jason: A Study of Euripides' Medea" The Classical Journal, 53, 1957, p. 49. Politzer, Heinz. Franz Grillparzer. Zurich: Wien, Munchen» Zurich: Verlag Fritz Molden, 1972. Pratt, Norman T. Jr. "The Stoic Base of Senecan Drama" TAPA, 79, 1948, p. 1. Reckford, Kenneth 1-2. "Medea's First Exit" TAP A, XCIX, 1968, p. 329. Rees, B.R. "English Seneca: A Preamble" Greece and Rome, 16, 1969, p. 119. Regenbogen, Otto. "Schmerz und Tod in den Tragb'dien Senecas" Kleine  Schriften. Munchen: CH. 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. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965. Schlesinger, Eilhard. "Zu Euripides' Medea" Hermes,, XCIV, 1966, p. 26. Seidler, Herbert. "Das Goldene Vliess" Grillparzer Forum Forchten-stein. Wien und Miinchen: Oesterreichischer Bundesverlag, 1966, p. 64. Seneca. Moral Essays trans. John W. Basone. London: Harvard University Press, 1958. 182 Senecas Tragodien. Herausgeg . v. Eckard Lefevre. Wege der Forschung, CCCX, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1972. Smoljan, Olga. Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, Leben und Werk. Weimar: Arion Verlag, 1962. Snell, Bruno. Die Entdeckung des Geistes. Hamburg: Claassen Verlag, 1955. Scenes from Greek Drama. Berkely and Los Angeles: Uni-versity of California Press, 1964. Sprengler, Joseph. Grillparzer der Tragiker der Schuld. Stuttgart: Alfons Burger Verlag, 1947. Stegmann, Andre. "La Medee de Corneille" Les Tragedies de Seneque  et le theatre de l a Renaissance, reunies par Jean Jacquot. Paris: Editions du Centre National de l a Recherche Scientifique, 1964. Steidle, Wolf. "Bemerkungen zu Senecas Tragodien" Philologus, 96, 1944, p. 250. Studien zum antiken Drama. Miinchen: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1968. Stiefel, Rudolf. Grillparzers "Goldenes Vliess". Bern: Francke Verlag, 1959. Strohm, Hans. "Euripides, Interpretationen zur dramatischen Form" Zetemata, 15j 1957. Le Theatre tragique, reunies par Jean Jacquot. Paris: Editions du Centre National de l a Recherche Scientifique, 1970. Tobin, Ronald W. "Tragedy and Catastrophe in Seneca's Theater" The  Classical Journal, 62, 1966-67, p. 64. Wolf-Cirian, Francis. Grillparzers Frauengestalten. Stuttgart & Berlin: J.G. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachfolger, 1908. Wolffheim, Hans. Hans Henny Jahnn, Der Tragiker der Schopfung. Frank-furt am Main: Europaische Verlagsanstalt, 1966. Zempel, Heinrich. Erlebnisgehalt und Ideelle Zeitverbundenheit in Fr. M. Klingers Medeadramen. Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1929. (1) VII APPENDIX MEDEA-ELAYS LISTED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER AUTHOR TITLE DATE Euripides .Seneca de Laperuse Galladei Dolce Corneille Longepierre Lessing Glover Gotter Klinger Grillparzer Lucas Legouve Jahnn Lenormand Anderson Jeffers Anouilh Csokor Alvaro Braun Magnuson Medea 431 B.C. Medea ca. 55 A Medee 1553 Medea 1558 La Medea 1560 Medee 1635 Medee 1694 Miss Sara Sampson 1755 Medea 1761 Medea 1775 Medea in Korinth 1786 Medea 1821 Medee 1855 Medea 1870 Medea 1920 Asie 1931 The Wingless Victory 1936 Medea 1946 Medee 1946 Medea postbellica 1947 La lunga notte di Medea 1949 Medea 1958 African Medea 1971 184 (2) SUMMARIES OF THE LAST SIX PLAYS Jeffers, Medea (1946) This play follows Euripides' Medea quite closely with only few modifications- Medea i s , however, Asiatic and a witch, but not an e v i l one at f i r s t . No great interest i s placed in the problem of racial dis-crimination as such. The women of the chorus are very partisan in their support of Medea un t i l she commits her crime, at which point they turn from her. Creon banishes Medea and her children although he pities her and admits that she has just cause for grievance. It 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 in Corinth, and to achieve this purpose sends her fatal gifts to Creon and Creusa. With Creon's death there i s a general uprising in the masterless city. Medea k i l l s the children because they are her last bond with Jason and to prove that her hatred of Jason is greater than her love for her children. Jason is l e f t miserable and defeated while Medea exittzsi suffering, but trium-phant and unscorned.. 185 Anouilh,, Medee (1946) In a gipsy wagon outside of town, Medee awaits Jason's return from Corinth. He has gone to ask. for asylum for himself and his family. Medee i s disturbed by the sounds of joy coming from the town which j a r her somber mood. When a messenger arrives 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 relationship between Jason and Medee had already long been loveless. Only habit and a sort of complicity held them together. Jason, how-ever, has now grown t i r e d of th e i r restless and unsavoury l i f e . He seeks order and security, isfei-ri do a sense of belonging, even though i t may mean compromise. Medee refuses to give i n ; she w i l l always say no to l i f e . After Creon's and Creusa's deaths, she k i l l s the children 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 hesitation. They represent the l a s t l i n k s binding her to Jason. She then sets herself 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 bring order and security 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 postbellica 0-9-47) Peter (Jason), a Greek partisan leader, and bis wife Anna (Medea), a doctor with, the partisans, meet after a year's separation in a remote communist guerilla camp towards the end of the second world war. Anna is to he the certifying 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 for the execution, the woman thinks of her son who w i l l revenge her while the man only thinks of himself. Anna is very upset by her task and would like to help them. The woman warns her that men only want power and gratification and that Anna's ideal of a new and just society after the war is but an empty dream. In spite of her protests, Peter comes to Anna, that night and she conceives. The war over, Anna s t i l l wears her uniform and works in an orphanage. Peter, as police commissioner, stops a street altercation arid offers a roof for the night to the beautiful, pampered and pleasure-hungry Dora. The next day Peter cannot resist her attractions and decides to leave Anna whom he considers a comrade rather than a woman. Peter and Anna are visited by- Zoe, a former partisan fighter who had k i l l e d her lover to stay true to the cause and later purposely contracted leprosy so that she might infect the enemy troops. However, peace has made her sacrifice useless. Anna has Peter take Zoe to a leper hospital where she can s t i l l be of use te l l i n g the other patients about the new world which is dawning. In the meantime Dora returns to t e l l Anna about Peter's betrayal. She is attracted by a beautifully 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 late do Peter and Dora realize where their search for pleasure and gratification has led. Dora takes Zoe's place in a promiscuous leper village, while Anna w i l l devote herself to the war orphans and w i l l continue working for a better world. Peter is l e f t Broken, But he must l i v e , as suicide would Be too easy. 188 Alvaro, La lunga notte di Medea 0-9-49..). Medea, a Beautiful amazon (Negro, In the English, translation), anxiously awaits Jason's return from the Corinthian palace. Jason and Medea want to li v e a quiet, secluded l i f e In Corinth forgetting the past. But Medea i s disliked 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 is for a safe refuge for herself and her children far from the angry crowds and the intrigues of rulers. 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. Jason is power hungry and not ready to give up his wordly amBitions. He must flee forward away from Medea and the memories of the past. Medea promises to hand the children over during the wedding f e s t i v i t i e s . Although the children are well received at f i r s t , Creon suspects Medea's g i f t s . A false rumour of Creusa's death By poison spreads and the children are forced to flee the infuriated crowd who tries 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 for the frightened Creusa, arrives too late to save his sons. Creusa, watching him Brave the moB, f a l l s to her death from the lookout tower. Medea survives to mourn her children, while Jason returns to his native village, 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. To Creon, However, they offer friendship and riches. Jason, who only cares for 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 women of the chorus are concerned ahout the safety of the c i t y and hostile 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 lost Iolcos Because of Medea's precipi-tated murder of Pelias and now wants to rule Corinth instead. He t e l l s her that he is tired 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-tion of the city and refuses to play their game. She prefers Jason's hatred to his well-meaning indifference. Aegeus, whose son f e l l in the Battle for 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. There i s no refuge in Athens for this Medea. She cannot escape from her past crimes and must liv e up to her reputation. E v i l only engenders more and greater evil"; there i s no escape or reprieve. 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 gifts are to assure their acceptance. Shenshows no sign of triumph, at the news of Creon's and Glauke's death., But denies her guilt 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. I s i n s a n e , dehumanized and animal-like. Defeated and despised she leaves for the desert while Jason and the chorus rush to the aid of the ci t y which i s torn by rio 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 closely, hut i t s action i s set in a large city on the West Coast of Africa at the beginning of the 19th century. Medea i s a t r i b a l princess from the interior 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 alive only thanks to Medea's help. She is a wise woman of noble descent liked and respected by the chorus - a group of helpless slave women. Governor Barretto exiles Medea not 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 is tired 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 Africa, i f she reaches his tribe 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 gifts and their exile i s revoked but the governor's daughter does,not wear the poison-ous robe immediately. Medea's plans seem foiled. In the meantime the slave revolt has broken out in the city, the police have mutinied, but the governor's mansion i s s t i l l untouched. Medea's robe is not worn unti 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 in their veins and because they must not f a l l into enemy hands. 192 She leaves triumphant with their Bodies, leaving Jason to mourn By the rotting slave ship "Argo." 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0093422/manifest

Comment

Related Items