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Thepurposeofthisassignmentistoprovideadetailedandindepthanalysisto

EuripidesMedea.ItwilldiscusstheconventionsofGreekTheatreandhowMedeais
alternativelyshapedaroundthis.Itwillalsooutlinethekeythemesandideasthetext
holdsinwhichEuripidesisattemptingtoraisetotheaudience.Iwillincludemy
interpretationofMedea,howitisperceivedinthe21stcenturyandwhatissuesit
raisesinmoderntheatre.

MedeadoesnotfollowthenormalconventionsofGreekTheatreinitsentiretywhich
isknowntomaketheprotagonisttheheroorheroineofthestory,infactEuripides
addressesthisintheexactopposite.Medeabreakstheseconventionsoftraditional
Greektheatreasfollows:therewasnopositiveresolutiontotheprotagonistandthe
bitterendingoftheplayisaresultofMedeamurderingherchildrenandthenfleeing
towardsathensbytheaidofAegeus.AccordingtoS,Nimis:
ThecentralsceneinwhichtheAtheniankingAegeusvisitsMedea,andthechorusin
praiseofAthensimmediatelyfollowinghisdeparture,placeAthensandthegender
relationsofitsmalecitizenryinextricablyinthemidstofthemoralandsocial
maelstromprovokedbyMedea.(Nimis2007,398)

AnotherargumentinsupportthatMedeadidnotfollowtheGreekTheatreconventions
arethatAristotledisapprovedofthemediumofGreekTheatrethatEuripides
addressedinMedea.Forexampletherewasnohero,nomoralmessagefromthe
choruswithnomeaningtotakeawayfromyourviewingoftheplayandamethodof
DeusexmachinawhichintranslationtoGodinmachineentailsthatthereisalast
minutedevicethathavelogicalreasonbutsavesthedilemma.(Moody,2013)

Therewasnoclearnotionofcatharsistowardstheendingoftheplayinwhichitcan
resolvetheplayinapositivewayandalsoleavetheaudiencewithasenseof
resolutionafterviewingtheplay.ThemainfactorsthataresoprofoundinGreek
Theatreisthatthechorusdeliveramessagetotheaudienceandresolvethestory.
AristotleclaimsthatMedeadoesnotaddressthis,thereforefurthersupportingthis
argumentthatEuripideswasaradicalplaywright.(Moody,2013)

IthasbecomeapparentthatthroughouttheseveralplaysthatEuripideshadwritten
heattemptstoaddressspecificemotionsandcharacterbehavioursthatwouldnot
normallybeacceptedinAncientGreekTheatre.Hewantedtofacerealitywiththe
playshewrote,heexploredthecharactersinternallifebyallowingthecharacterto
questionthingsthatwouldnotnormallybequestionedinthatageoftheGreek
Theatreera.AccordingtoNimis,S:
Itisthusnosurprisethatcriticsviewtheplayprimarilyintermsofherstatus
asawomanandasaforeigner,asawifeandmother,asaheroine
espousingthemasculinecodeofrevenge,asapurveyorofmagic,and,
finally,asasemidivinecharacterloftedawayinherwondrouschariot,
apparentlynevertobecalledtoaccountforhercrimes.Nomatterhowone
readstheplay,itseemsclearthattheroleofwomeninGreeksocietyisone
ofitsmajorconcerns.However,itisdebatablewhetherwomenwereevenin
theoriginalaudienceandiftheywerenot,itisunclearhowthemeninthe
audiencewouldrespondtothedisplayofgenderconflict.(Nimis2007,397)

OneargumentinrelationtohowMedeaisperceivedinthe21stcenturyincludes:

Thisplayisenthusiasticallyattractivetomanyfemaleactorsinmoderntheatreas
theystrivetoplaysuchacharacterthatissoabsurdcomparedtothetraditional
GreekconventionsthatwasknownthroughTheatre.IfeelthatMedeaaddressed
manyquestionstothepublicastohowpeopleshoulddealwithcircumstances
revolvingaffairsandrelationships.GreekTheatrewasmeanttoteachpeoplestories
andeducatethemthroughthemeansofactingandMedeadidnotdisplaybehaviour
thatwouldbeacceptedinsocietyinreferencetotheAncientGreekeraandintodays
modernera.EuripideswasknownasaradicalplaywrightandhistextMedeahas
showthisthroughtheprotagonist'scharacterisationandthewaythatshedealswith
thecircumstanceintheplay.AsstatedbySNimis:
MostreadersobservethatMedeaundergoesachangeintheeyes
oftheaudienceinthecourseoftheplay.Sheisinitiallymadetobequite
sympathetic,asympathythatisforegroundedintheresponseofthechorus
whosecollusionshesecuresinherschemetopunishJasonandalsointhe
condemnationofJasonbythenurseandbyAegeus.However,manythings
contributetothesensethatMedeasrevengeisexcessiveandreprehensible,
suchasthegraphicaccountbythemessengerofthepiteousdeathofCreon
andhisdaughter,andthechorusrevulsionatMedeasplanstokillher
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
todaysmodernsocietyIfeelthatthisplayisagreatexampleofshowingyouthe
ultimatequestionsandaddressingthingsthathaveneverbeendonebefore.Thisin
turncanhaveapositiveimpactonmoderntheatreandalsohowactorscandepend
onstoriesliketheirowntodrawuponemotionwhendealingwithascriptlike
EuripidesMedea.

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