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Medea Notes Essay

3681 words - 15 pages

Medea Notes

Would that the Argo had never winged its way to the land of Colchis through the dark-blue Symplegades!1 Would that the pine trees had never been felled in the glens of Mount Pelion and furnished oars for the hands [5] of the heroes who at Pelias' command set forth in quest of the Golden Fleece! For then my lady Medea would not have sailed to the towers of Iolcus, her heart smitten with love for Jason, or persuaded the daughters of Pelias to kill [10] their father and hence now be inhabiting this land of Corinth, *separated from her loved ones and country. At first, to be sure, she had, even in Corinth, a good life*2 with her husband and children, an exile loved by the citizens to whose land she had come, and lending to Jason himself all her support. This it is that most rescues life from trouble, [15] when a woman is not at variance with her husband.
But now all is enmity, and love's bonds are diseased. For Jason, abandoning his own children and my mistress, is bedding down in a royal match, having married the daughter of Creon, ruler of this land. [20] Poor Medea, finding herself thus cast aside, calls loudly on his oaths, invokes the mighty assurance of his sworn right hand, and calls the gods to witness the unjust return she is getting from Jason. She lies fasting, giving her body up to pain, [25] wasting away in tears all the time ever since she learned that she was wronged by her husband, neither lifting her face nor taking her eyes from the ground. She is as deaf to the advice of her friends as a stone or a wave of the sea: [30] she is silent unless perchance to turn her snow-white neck and weep to herself for her dear father and her country and her ancestral house. All these she abandoned when she came here with a man who has now cast her aside. The poor woman has learned at misfortune's hand [35] what a good thing it is not to be cut off from one's native land.
She loathes the children and takes no joy in looking at them. And I am afraid that she will hatch some sinister plan. For she has a terrible temper and will not put up with bad treatment (I know her), and I fear [40] she may thrust a whetted sword through her vitals, [slipping quietly into the house where the bed is spread,] or kill the royal family and the bride-groom and then win some greater calamity. For she is dangerous. I tell you, no man who clashes with her [45] will find it easy to crow in victory.
Enter Tutor by Eisodos A, escorting the two sons of Jason and Medea.
But see, her boys are coming home after their games. They have no thought of their mother's troubles: it is not usual for young minds to dwell on grief.

1 The Symplegades, mobile rocks that clashed together to crush any ships running between them, guarded the entrance to the Hellespont and prevented passage between East and West until the Argo managed by a clever ruse to get through.
2 This gives the probable sense of the lacuna.
Oh, what a wretch am I,...

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