Saturday, June 17, 2006

Thoughts on Medea

You know, sometimes I sit here and think about Medea (as I am wont to do), and I just think, by the gods, she is so beautiful. Her pain and even her anger--they are beautiful. Now, this is partially the talents of Euripides and Apollonius, but even they could not have made beauty where none existed. They were just both particularly good at seeing the beauty hidden beneath something that others would see only as ugly.

And I've always thought "lioness" was such an apt description for her. She was a noble wild animal who never should have been caged, and yet because of her love for someone else, for Jason (the merdiferous cur!), she allowed herself to be trapped and tethered to him. In her misguided youthful passion, she throws away everything she has, everything she's known--cutting herself off completely from her previous life--and takes one huge gambling chance to be with him. And what does he do? Instead of cherishing the noble creature who has chosen him--the most worthless scum of the earth--he sees nothing of who she is and throws her away, trampling on her heart with stupid platitudes (read: lies) about doing this for her own good. Jason, you pinprick bastard, I have four words for you: What. The. Fuck. Ever.

He had it comin'!
He had it comin'!
He only had himself to blame.


So Medea does the only thing left for a trapped lioness--destruction. She wreaks havoc on those who would cage her, and she breaks free. She essentially does the only thing she can do. Anything else--any compliance at all--would be a violation of her very spirit. And after she had tried so hard to tame that spirit for that spineless, merdiferous cur, only to be met with--what? Absolutely nothing. Not even a real rejection, just a complete lack of spirit, of soul, of passion--a complete lack of everything. After all that, how could she possibly have acted in moderation? The only thing left for a beautifully passionate soul such as hers was fury.

She's really one of those women who, if she had been treated properly, could have and would have done amazing things. But I suppose she was too much spirit for this world to contain--certainly too much for someone as worthless as Jason. And most of us would be lucky to have one iota of her passion. She had a great capacity for love--yes, love--that most of us only dream about. And it is too easy to see only the hate with which she was left, but the most important thing to remember about her was that her hate and her pain sprang from a great depth of love.

Anyway, thoughts on Medea are always rummaging around in my head, but after a couple discussions with friends, this post from William Blathers, and attempts to write my Zenobia paper (don't ask), stuff just needed to come out.

And while I'm at it, these are my two favourite pictures of Medea:



From a Lucanian calyx-crater.




That, of course, would be the Delacroix Medea.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And it is too easy to see only the hate with which she was left, but the most important thing to remember about her was that her hate and her pain sprang from a great depth of love."

Didn't she kill her brother in a particularly gruesome way -before- she had this transformation from love to hate? Or does her love for Jason justify whatever other non-loving things she may do? Or perhaps I merely mis-remember the story.

4:27 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

That sort of depends on the version, but yes, she's responsible for her bro's death.

I'm not saying the woman's perfect, and I'm not even saying the things she does are justified (because they're not), but that would be another consequence of her love for Jason, yes.

And yes, she does ugly things because of her passion, but at least she has passion, which too many of us lack. And even in the midst of these things, she is still beautiful in her own way.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous xanzpet said...

The versions of the murder of Apsyrtos, Medea's half-brother (fathered by Aietes; nymph mother), as well as his age at the time of his death, are as myriad as the versions of the Medean myth: in Euripides' version, Medea herself clearly accepts culpability for the act and Apsyrtos was presumably an adult. In Apollodorus' version, he was but a mere child whom Medea slaughtered; Apollonios radically alters the myth, making Medea an accomplice in the murder, with Jason as the actual perpetrator; Sophokles has him killed in the home by an unknown assailant; still other version say that Jason murdered Apsyrtos independent of Medea's knowledge or complicity.

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