CLA232H1 Lecture Notes - Dionysia, Aegeus, Kyrios

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11 Nov 2012
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Men & Women – Eurpides Medea
Medial figure (woman & barbarian & witch)
She is in conflict with Jason (who is the complete opposite of her)
This play was performed for the first time at City Dionysia in 431 BCE
Assumed that in this play Greeks would come across more favourably (watched by Greek males)
Women were not full citizens so would not have attended
This play was used to build confidence in men
o Men are brave and rational, women are not
Depictions of strong, powerful women in Greek tragedy
o Equal to or superior to men
Question of how men would respond to seeing this on stage what did it offer to him
These women were often punished for their power and independence
o Can be seen as a moral lesson to both men and women
Plays with this theme don’t work at the theatres unless the men can build a connection with the
women on the stage
These plays allow the audience to enter into the mind of the other
o Allowed men to imagine what life would be like as an other
Medea would have been a Scythian (from Colchis)
o Talked about as savage, compared to a tiger
o Jason says that she should be thankful to him for opening her up to Greek culture
The play highlights the fact that she is an exile
o No home/community
o Exiled from Colchis, about to be exiled from Corinth
Myth of Jason and Medea
The Argonauts were sent to get the Golden Fleece from King Aeetes in Colchis
o The father of Medea
King Aeetes gives them a number of tasks to perform in exchange for the Fleece
Medea uses her magic powers to help him complete the tasks and then to help them escape
o She inherited her powers from her grandfather (Helios) and her aunt (Circe)
By betraying her father and then cutting up her brother to help the Argonauts escape, she is no
longer able to return home to Colchis
Because only the child of 2 Greek parents could be citizens, Jason and Medea’s children could be
citizens of Greece and inherit the kingship
o In his mind, this relationship was ‘useless’
Jason leaves her for Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth
o Medea, heartbroken, poisons Glauce, killing Creon (the king) in the process
o She then kills the 2 children she has by Jason
She relied on Jason for her safety and protection, without him she is like a metic
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Document Summary

Medial figure (woman & barbarian & witch) She is in conflict with jason (who is the complete opposite of her) This play was performed for the first time at city dionysia in 431 bce. Assumed that in this play greeks would come across more favourably (watched by greek males) Women were not full citizens so would not have attended. This play was used to build confidence in men: men are brave and rational, women are not. Depictions of strong, powerful women in greek tragedy: equal to or superior to men. Question of how men would respond to seeing this on stage what did it offer to him. These women were often punished for their power and independence: can be seen as a moral lesson to both men and women. Plays with this theme don"t work at the theatres unless the men can build a connection with the women on the stage.

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