Medea – Jack Williams

Although this play only won third prize at the Dionysia Festival in 431 BCE, it has become one of Euripides’ best and most popular works as well as one of the great works of the Western Canon. The play is based on the myth of an unfaithful Jason and a passionate yet revengeful Medea, and is defined as a Greek tragedy.

In this particular version of Medea, the actress who played Medea was, in my opinion, too dramatic. At first, I thought that she was incredible at portraying her passion and anger. However, especially in the closing scenes, she was overly dramatic and pulls the viewer out of belief to the point where the play is no longer a tragic reality but rather an excess of acting.

On the other side of the coin, the viewer without a doubt leaves with the understanding that “hell hath no fury like that a woman scorned.” Medea, who was not only betrayed by the man that she loved but also by the entire kingdom, fell into a storm of delirious, neurotic, vulnerable and pathetic anger for which Jason and their two sons paid for desperately. The ability for this actress to display all of these emotions is a great accomplishment, however I still believe that it was, well, overdone…overdone in the best possible way.

Historically, this must have been a play warning Athenian men to be careful of their treatment of women. Seeing Medea react to betrayal in the way that she did is the reaction of a strong (and crazy) woman during a time when society expected women to be submissive. As a metaphor for love, honor and respect, I believe that the play Medea calls for men to give the same respect to women that they demand between themselves in the marketplace and in politics. Although being such an old play, its themes resonate into contemporary issues of respect, tolerance, and overreaction. I would like to see a new version with slight variations made in order to apply to the issues facing today’s global society.

27. June 2016 by John Williams
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