Media – both female and barbarian and a witch
She ticks ALL the ‘other’ boxes
Conflict between Jason (greek, male, hero) and media (barbarian, female, and a witch)
Women in the audience spontaneously aborting?????
If there were women present, they weren’t like upper class Athenian wives. If anything they
o So for this reason we would expect Euripedes to side on the side of Jason (man)
o Male audience, male playright. Heavily civic occasion (city of Dionysus) – rituals before
the play. Generals giving libations to the gods. The plays were chosen by the people, the
demos. The play that won the prize would be awarded a prize at the end.
Women are always bad, weak and irrational
Character Media is like an equal to a man, and if they are not, they are quite sympathetic.
So what are tragedies doing projecting the women as such who are so strong and ‘manly’
But in tragedies, many women do come to bad ends, and kill themselves. But its never as simple
as a simple morality tale.
Thinks about Agave, she questions the existence of Dionysus, and she gets punished. He gets
inside her head and gets her to kill her son.
o But yet the audience feels sympathetic for her. Constantly exploring what it would be
like to be a woman, and living in her shoes.
Media comes from Polcos. From the modern Ukraine, or Georgia.
These people were known as the Scythians.
A whole book of Herodotus Book 4 talks about the Scythians.
You can take a girl out of a barbarian land, but you can’t take a barbarian out of a girl.
She is exiled from Polcos, and about to be exiled from Corynth. She is a women without a polis,
without a home.
Jason was one of the Arganots. Sailing on a ship around looking for the Golden Fleece (sheep
skin). They find out that it is possessed by king Aeetes (he is Media’s father).
o He says you can have my golden fleece but you have to perform some tasks for me
Kill the fire breathing dragon and saw his teeth into the ground.
Likely they get help from Media. She falls in love with Jason.
She is not only the daughter of the kind Aeetes, she is also a niece of the
witch Cersey (her aunt)? And also she is a grand-daughter of _______,
the son god
She knows magic spells, can communicate with the dead
o Media means trickery?
In Euripedetes, they keep commenting on her smartness
She makes a potion that makes Jason so strong that he kills the dragon.
Aeetes didn’t expect this. So he goes chasing after the Argos that have the Fleece. Media takes her little brother, chops him up into small pieces and dropped them off the ship,
and this works because Aeetes has to slow down and collect all the pieces.
So she cuts off her bridges with home completely.
Play produced in 431 BCE (so 20 years after Pericles’ law. Had to be a child of two Athenian
parents after the law.)
o After this law, the relationship like this would not produce Athenians.
o So the Athenians projected their concerns and such on mythical cities like this
They thought, oh mixed marriage. They don’t produce legitimate citizens
o After the citizenship law, aliens could never enter into citizenships. They were metics.
Never full citizens.
o Media can be thought in this play as a metic. She cant marry a Greek man, because their
children wont be citizens (even though they are in Corynth)
The nurse said when she fled here she is dependent on Jason. Her security, her livelihood and
the right to stay in the city.
o This is like the situation of the Metics. Every metic needed to have a Proxenos (a local
Athenian, who would act for the Metic in legal matters and so forth, he was their host)..
Jason was like Media’s proxenos.
o When he betrays her, she is now homeless, and left without protection, without her
o She differentiates herself from the other woman of Corynth. She says you live here, you
have your home here. I am an outsider.
Her outsiderness is reinforced by being a woman. A Woman needs her husband.
Women never owned their own property, first lived in the house of their father,
than in the house of their husband. But since she was not related to her parents,
she was always an outsider (at least until she has children). She still always
seems like a stranger in her husbands house.
o Her dependency is the story of every woman in Athens.
o Media herself makes this clear in the diatribe on the suffering of women. A lot of
feminist scholars, this is the first piece of feminist writing.
However, this is a little hard. She was written by a male writer, played by a man,
she is a bad role model, kills her brother.
Yet it still gives us an insight on what it would be like to be a woman in
She says we are like an unhappy species.
o You have to marry – you have no choice. And you have to stick
with him, even if the marriage is bad or he is bad, and you cant
o When a man is angry at his wife, he can always go out to his
sympthotia, hang out with his friends, sleep with prostitutes
o We can’t even leave the house. We have no one to turn to.
o She represents the life of a women as an exile. Xenos is foreigner, stranger, or guest in the xenia
Jason feared that she would be a threat to his family and a threat to his city.
Accepting media comes with a great risk.
She tricks Agea, who has promised him xenia. He doesn’t know she has blood on her hands. She
plans to kill the bride and children of Jason.
o Woman get their way through trickery. (not by force or wits)
o She is very emotional. She has all these pasisoante speeches.
o She is two faced. Saying one thing to Jason, but we know she is lying to him.
o Deception, trickery, vengeance (to go with her passion)
Creon wants to kick her out, but she is able to get another day out of it. “what can I do as a
woman”, let me spend one more day.
Two faceness, shown again.
Plays on the female h