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Thepurposeofthisassignmentistoprovideadetailedandindepthanalysisto

Euripides’Medea.ItwilldiscusstheconventionsofGreekTheatreandhowMedeais

alternativelyshapedaroundthis.Itwillalsooutlinethekeythemesandideasthetext

holdsinwhichEuripidesisattemptingtoraisetotheaudience.Iwillincludemy

interpretationofMedea,howitisperceivedinthe21stcenturyandwhatissuesit

raisesinmoderntheatre.

Medeadoesnot followthenormalconventionsofGreekTheatreinitsentiretywhich

isknowntomaketheprotagonisttheheroorheroineofthestory,infactEuripides

addressesthisintheexactopposite.Medeabreakstheseconventionsoftraditional

Greektheatreasfollows:therewasnopositiveresolutiontotheprotagonistandthe

bitterendingoftheplayisaresultofMedeamurderingherchildrenandthenfleeing

towardsathensbytheaidofAegeus.AccordingtoS,Nimis:

‘ThecentralsceneinwhichtheAtheniankingAegeusvisitsMedea,andthechorusin

praiseofAthensimmediatelyfollowinghisdeparture,placeAthensandthegender

relationsofitsmalecitizenryinextricablyinthemidstofthemoralandsocial

maelstromprovokedbyMedea’.(Nimis2007,398)

AnotherargumentinsupportthatMedeadidnotfollowtheGreekTheatreconventions

arethatAristotledisapprovedofthemediumofGreekTheatrethatEuripides

addressedinMedea.Forexampletherewasnohero,nomoralmessagefromthe

choruswithnomeaningtotakeawayfromyourviewingoftheplayandamethodof

“Deusexmachina”whichintranslationto“Godinmachine”entailsthatthereisalast

minutedevicethathavelogicalreasonbutsavesthedilemma.(Moody,2013)

Therewasnoclearnotionofcatharsistowardstheendingoftheplayinwhichitcan

resolvetheplayinapositivewayandalsoleavetheaudiencewithasenseof

resolutionafterviewingtheplay.ThemainfactorsthataresoprofoundinGreek

Theatreisthatthechorusdeliveramessagetotheaudienceandresolvethestory.

AristotleclaimsthatMedeadoesnotaddressthis,thereforefurthersupportingthis

argumentthatEuripideswasaradicalplaywright. (Moody,2013)

IthasbecomeapparentthatthroughouttheseveralplaysthatEuripideshadwritten

heattemptstoaddressspecificemotionsandcharacterbehaviours thatwouldnot

normallybeacceptedinAncientGreekTheatre.Hewantedtofacerealitywiththe

play’shewrote,heexploredthecharactersinternallifebyallowingthecharacterto

questionthingsthatwouldnotnormallybequestionedinthatageoftheGreek

Theatreera.AccordingtoNimis,S:

‘Itisthusnosurprisethatcriticsviewtheplayprimarilyintermsofherstatus

asawomanandasaforeigner,asa“wife”andmother,asaheroine

espousingthemasculinecodeofrevenge,asapurveyorofmagic,and,

finally,asasemi­divinecharacterloftedawayinherwondrouschariot,

apparentlynevertobecalledtoaccountforhercrimes. Nomatterhowone

readstheplay,itseemsclearthattheroleofwomeninGreeksocietyisone

ofitsmajorconcerns.However,itisdebatablewhetherwomenwereevenin

theoriginalaudience;andiftheywerenot,itisunclearhowthemeninthe

audiencewouldrespondtothedisplayofgenderconflict’.(Nimis2007,397)

OneargumentinrelationtohowMedeaisperceivedinthe21stcenturyincludes:

Thisplayisenthusiasticallyattractivetomanyfemaleactorsinmoderntheatreas

theystrivetoplaysuchacharacterthatissoabsurdcomparedtothetraditional

GreekconventionsthatwasknownthroughTheatre.IfeelthatMedeaaddressed

manyquestionstothepublicastohowpeopleshoulddealwithcircumstances

revolvingaffairsandrelationships.GreekTheatrewasmeanttoteachpeoplestories

andeducatethemthroughthemeansofactingandMedeadidnotdisplaybehaviour

thatwouldbeacceptedinsocietyinreferencetotheAncientGreekeraandintoday’s

modernera.EuripideswasknownasaradicalplaywrightandhistextMedeahas

showthisthroughtheprotagonist'scharacterisationandthewaythatshedealswith

thecircumstanceintheplay.AsstatedbySNimis:

‘MostreadersobservethatMedeaundergoesachangeintheeyes

oftheaudienceinthecourseoftheplay.Sheisinitiallymadetobequite

sympathetic,asympathythatisforegroundedintheresponseofthechorus—

whosecollusionshesecuresinherschemetopunishJason—andalsointhe

condemnationofJasonbythenurseandbyAegeus.However,manythings

contributetothesensethatMedea’srevengeisexcessiveandreprehensible,

suchasthegraphicaccountbythemessengerofthepiteousdeathofCreon

andhisdaughter,andthechorus’revulsionatMedea’splanstokillher

children.Moreover,itisoftennotedthattheearlierandmoresympathetic

Medeaarticulateshercomplaintsasthegeneralgrievancesofhergender,

makingherakindofrepresentativewoman.Assuch,thefinalnegative

judgmentthattheplayseemstocastonheractionsintimatesthatwomenas

awholearecapableofterribledeedsandnotworthyofthesympathyevoked

earlierintheplayforthem’.(Nimis2007,401)

ToconcludethisanalysisIfeelthatEuripidesaddressedcertaintopicsthatinthe

specificeraofAncientGreekTheatrewasunheardofgivinghimsuchtitlesasbeing

anoutcastforunorthodoxmethodsfortellingstoriesthroughplays.Medeawasa

greatexampleofhowyoucanaddressthetraumaofcultureandalsohowthe

charactersinternalthoughtsarebeingexpressedtotheaudiencewithoutthechorus

havingmuchinterpretationandinfluence.Thisallowstheaudiencetocreatetheir

ownmeaningandtakeawaywhattheywantfromtheplayinregardstohowMedea

dealtwithheremotionsandalsothecircumstancesofagraphicendingbased

aroundthemaintopicsofdeathandanger.Ifeelthatinthe21stcenturythisformatof

anarrativeisstillnotfullyacceptedinmoderntheatrebutasmoderntheatre

progressesittendstohaveadifferentimpactofanindividualbasedupontheirown

storiesthattheyhaveexperienced.StoriesthatweretoldinGreekTheatrewere

intendedtoeducatepeopleandteachlessonsforwhichtheycouldlearnfromand

applyintheirownlives,butinthecircumstancesofMedeathiswasnotthecase.

WithMedeaandtheresultoftheplaybeingsuchasensitivesubjecttorelatetoin

today’smodernsocietyIfeelthatthisplayisagreatexampleofshowingyouthe

ultimatequestionsandaddressingthingsthathaveneverbeendonebefore.Thisin

turncanhaveapositiveimpactonmoderntheatreandalsohowactorscandepend

onstoriesliketheirowntodrawuponemotionwhendealingwithascriptlike

Euripides’Medea.

DanielNixon.

Nimis,Stephen.2007."AUTOCHTHONY,MISOGYNY,ANDHARMONY:MEDEA

824­45."Arethusa40(3):397­420.

http://0­search.proquest.com.prospero.murdoch.edu.au/docview/221119841?accoun

tid=12629.

Moody,David.2013.Medea:TheMostEvilWomanInLiterature,DramainAncient

Greece.Lecture.InDrama,Theatre&Performance(EGL106).Murdoch.WA:

MurdochUniversity,August14.

http://lcs.murdoch.edu.au:8080/ess/echo/presentation/eaf6bae4­ce75­458a­bf6d­c4c

dc7a05520

Moody,David.2013.Medea:TheMostEvilWomanInLiterature.Lecture.InDrama,

Theatre&Performance(EGL106).Murdoch.WA:MurdochUniversity,August21.

http://lcs.murdoch.edu.au:8080/ess/echo/presentation/9bcd2835­fe9f­4405­830a­82a

f392d6bdb