CLASSIC 45C Lecture 8: Lars von Trier's Medea (film): Analysis and Themes

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University of California - Irvine
Zacharitsa Giannopoulou

Class: Classics 45C Topic: Lars von Trier's Medea (film) Date: 5-5-17 The Infanticide • Medea carrying kids like a burden • Tree shaped in a certain way o Looks like a cross o Children are being sacrificed o Allusion to Jesus Christ o Medea is a martyr o The children kill themselves • Older son helps in the infanticide • Medea portrayed more as a victim, a sufferer • Long lapse of time between the death of the first son and the second o So we can take in the death of the first son ▪ Us, Medea, the second son • Older son: “I know what is to happen” o Infanticide is bound to happen, inescapable • Why would von Trier portray infanticide as inescapable? o Metatheater o HAS TO FOLLOW THE ORIGINAL PLAY o Knowledge of the original play and the characters act according- wise Medea and Joan of Arc • Medea parallels Joan of Arc in Dreyer’s movie o Both female martyrs o Done wrong by society Aegeus • Arrives at beginning of play in contrast to original where he arrives in the middle • Offers Medea solution • Any attempts at harming her (Creon’s order of exile) is useless • The boat that we see in beginning comes back in the end o It doesn’t move o Symbolizes how Medea’s time has stopped o Her revenge still makes her empty o Nobody is doing much. Seem dead inside ▪ Symbol of death End of the Play- Jason • Jason at the end goes back and forth across the field o What the heck is going on? o This pointlessness emphasizes the despair at the end of the film • You expect him to do SOMETHING but he doesn't • Even the dogs are listless/dead? • Jason just collapses in the end. Is he dead? You don’t even know. Medea and Glauce • Medea: comparison o is the devil o Dressed in black 1 Class: Classics 45C o Removes cap and she has flowing red hair o Seems to be both victim and victimizer • Glauce: o is innocent, childish o Dressed all in white, white associated with angels in west o Manipulative ▪ Ex: knows what she’s doing when she says she won’t sleep with Jason until Medea is exiled ▪ Sets conditions o Perched between innocence and self-interest o Looks innocent but has a calculating mind o As if she’s Medea’s younger double, mirrors her • Von Trier's depictions of women are as complicated creatures o Jason, on other hand, is very simple. Not very successful with anything Different Adaptations of • Euripides- ancient Greek tragedy Medea • Dreyer (1880
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