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CLA204H1 - November 4

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Lee Sawchuk

CLA204: Introduction to Classical Mythology Jason and Medea in Corinth • Jason and Medea have two sons • Jason arranges new marriage – Glauke, daughter of Creon, ruler of Corinth - Jason divorces Medea - she had helped Jason get through the trials that her father set up, and in return all he had to do was marry her and now he won't do even that - generally she ends up just killing Creon and his daughter • Euripides’ Medea is a different version of the myth – Medea seeks revenge for broken oath – Poisons new bride and Creon – Kills her own children with Jason - according to the play, she says that she does this because she gets the children to help with the plot - the children bring the magical, poisoned clothing to Creon and his daughter - because she has involved her young children, she thinks that the city of Corinth will kill them - to stop that from happening, she kills them herself - at the end of the play, she also says that she killed them partially to punish Jason - the reason she is mad is that Jason broke a bond - somebody has to punish him for not upholding his end of the bargain, and Medea decides to be that person – Escapes in a magic, dragon-pulled chariot - she also has the ability to tell Jason how he is going to die - he will be sleeping under a boat, and part of it will break off and kill him • Jason dies ingloriously - usually something good happens after, but not to Jason - he just dies and goes down to Hades ***Image: Medea flying over Jason in her magic chariot - not necessarily depicting what Euripides said, just the same sort of tradition - dragon-drawn chariot (look like serpents) - sun around her, represents that she is descended from Helios and this is his chariot - we can tell it is Medea by the scene, also because she is wearing a hat that eastern people wear (shows that she is not Greek; she is a barbarian) - on the left you can see Jason--nothing recognisable, standing in shock - to the right are two bodies--these are the children - two figures--one with white hair is probably Creon's daughter burning up, and the other person is probably Creon - the winged figures on the top are the personifications of retribution--Ponoi Folktale Motifs and Jason • Quest themes • Motifs – Deprived of birth-rite – Disguise and recognition – Questing – Accidental killing – Travel to exotic locales – Magic, love charms • Jason the hero? – Twice a lover - different from Heracles--Jason falls in love (sign of weakness?) - has an adverse effect on his quest – Kills a friend - Heracles also involved in bad deaths, but he gets purified – Kills a young boy – Succeeds by assistance of others – Despondent – Fails to gain throne upon completion – Dies ignominiously Interpreting Medea • Ovid Heroides 12 – letter that Medea writes to Jason – talks about all of her sacrifices for him – what this means to her now--negative spin on Jason's character and makes Medea seem a bit more positive – in the last line she says that she has something in store--killing her children • Transgressive force – gender roles – Social roles - seen as a scary outsider - foreigner--not a citizen - not Greek--no shared cultural heritage - despite all that, she is very
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