Euripides’ Medea

This report is the 1st in a series of commentaries on the play Medea by the Athenian dramatist, Euripides (circa 480 – 4 0 4 BCE).


In Euripides’ day that the modern-day nation state of Greece failed to exist. The Greek environment of the 5th century BCE contained hundreds of independent city states spread round the southern area, especially in what are currently called Greece and the Greek islands, including Bulgaria, western Turkey, southern Italy, Sicily and southern France. What bound these towns was a common civilization (religion, language, roots, testimonies ) but with different dialects, political forms and different neighborhood variations. Several cities were democracies, several oligarchies along with others military dictatorships. Several metropolitan areas, chiefly those outside modern day Greece, had been founded as colonies of other cities, and over time these colonies produced their own different cultures. Athens and Sparta have been one of the most impressive metropolitan areas in Euripides’ day. They’d fought alongside from the Persians in the decades before Euripides’ arrival, but through the 5th century they begun to form alliances with other Greek cities also gradually dominate them. Rivalry and conflict followed. Medea was initially produced in 431 BCE, just a couple of months prior to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, that had been to continue for the rest of Euripides’ entire life.

Athenian Theatre.

Even the Athenians failed to goto the theatre all year round plus they didn’t move purely for leisure. They’d a comedy festival in January and also a catastrophe festival in March or even April. Both had been leading state events with profound religious significance. The tragedy festival has been known as the City Dionysia in honour of Dionysusthe god of wine, both the cherry blossom and agriculture and celebrated the birth of spring as well as the planting of plants. For your City Dionysia about three dramatists were each invited to show 3 tragedies and a satyr play. The latter was a kind of bawdy humor, gentle relief following the tragedies. The dramatists will exhibit their perform successive days, together with the manufacturing prices met with way of a rich patron. A panel of judges voted on the drama awarded a prize to the winner. In 431 BCE Euripides appeared . The truth is that although he composed about 90 performs (and so must possess entered that the metropolis Dionysia thirty days ), he simply won prize four times, and also the last instance proved to be a posthumous win.

The City Dionysia occurred when drifting across the Mediterranean Sea resumed after the winter storms. This supposed the Athenians could encourage agents from all the other Greek towns also show off their ethnic (and army ) superiority. So, when Medea was first performed, the theatre has been packed with most of the Athenian citizens (that the free-born males) along with their own guests. The single women gift have been a couple high priestesses. The Athenians’ wives and brothers would happen to be locked away at house inside the women’s quarters.

The Perform.

Medea is put in Corinth, and also Athenian tragedies have been broadly speaking placed out Athens therefore that the dramatists can comment in community politics without even seeming to criticise the metropolis right back.

1 interesting factor about Athenian play is that although the celebrities were male, several of the fundamental personalities are all female. That’s surely the case with Medea as if the heroine appears she dominates the stage for the remaining portion of the playwith. The other female personalities will be the older Nurse who has looked after Medea given that youth and understands how her brain operates and that which she really actually is really capable of,” and also a Chorus of girls. Even the Chorus functions as Medea’s sympathisers, advisers, critics and, eventually, judges.

The main male characters have been Medea’s husband, Jason; Creon, the King of Corinth; and Aegeus, the King of all Athens. We watch Medea interacting with these 3 guys that are successful in turn because she tries to shape her own fate.

People were arguing within the play meaning for two and a half million decades , and recently the arguments have tended to focus about exactly what Euripides was attempting to state regarding females, often voiced ,”had been Euripides a a misogynist?”

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