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Looking at Medea: essays and a translation of Euripides’ by David Stuttard

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By David Stuttard

Euripides' Medea is likely one of the frequently learn, studied and played of all Greek tragedies. A searingly merciless tale of a woman's brutal revenge on a husband who has rejected her for a more youthful and richer bride, it really is strange between Greek dramas for its acute portrayal of woman psychology. Medea can seem instantaneously undying and strikingly sleek. but, the play is especially a lot a made of the political and social international of 5th century Athens and an knowing of its unique context, in addition to a attention of the responses of later a while, is important to appreciating this paintings and its legacy. This number of essays by way of major lecturers addresses those concerns, exploring key subject matters corresponding to revenge, personality, mythology, the tip of the play, the refrain and Medea's function as a witch. different essays examine the play's context, non secular connotations, stagecraft and reception. The essays are observed by way of David Stuttard's English translation of the play, that is performer-friendly, available but actual and heavily trustworthy to the unique.

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Extra info for Looking at Medea: essays and a translation of Euripides’ tragedy

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The original tale had presented the journey of the good ship Argo as the first of all sea voyages, and her entry into the Euxine, the dreaded northern sea, with its euphemistic and all too hopeful name (‘friendly to travellers’ is its actual meaning), as an action of epoch-making daring and resolution. Euripides turns the focus right away from all of that; and the daring journey, with all its perilous adventures en route, is now kept far from our minds. Medea has betrayed her father and stolen his cherished treasure; she has killed her brother Apsyrtus; and she has run away to a foreign land with a handsome foreigner, her father’s hated enemy.

Unlike Sophocles, of whom we are told that he was never ranked lower than second, Euripides seems to have experienced this quite often – for the trio of plays that included Medea, the scholiasts, or ancient commentators, tell us that he was ranked third. That must have been intensely galling for him; and perhaps we are not surprised that he ended his life in voluntary exile, far from his own ungrateful city and from his own natural audience of his Athenian fellow citizens. But it would be wrong to make too much of the fact that he died in foreign parts.

They are frustrated, and they fail, quite properly; while the glamorous young lovers sail away in triumph, carrying with them the marvellous Golden Fleece, into a life of love and happiness. We see the story ending, naturally, with a romantic fade-out, as the victorious young couple advance, hand in hand, into that golden future. ‘And they lived happily ever after’: such is the natural and satisfying conclusion that such a tale seems to demand, and that such a romantic pair of lovers certainly seem to deserve.

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