The Greek book of the week – Medea by Euripides
The civilization of Ancient Greece continue to fascinate the modern mind. It’s remote in time, and yet still close to us. This is partly because we owe to the classical world so many of the values and ideas which shape our society, literature and art, partly because many of the important moral and political issues which continue to exercise twenty-first century man were first addressed in the ancient world.
Medea by Euripides (431 BC).
Euripides is the third of the three Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. It centers on the actions of Medea, a former princess of the “barbarian” kingdom of Colchis, and the wife of Jason; she finds her position in the Greek world threatened as Jason leaves her for a Greek princess of Corinth. Medea takes vengeance on Jason by killing Jason’s new wife as well as her own children, after which she escapes to Athens to start a new life.
In exploring the ancients we learn something about ourselves as well because the emotions generated and the dilemmas of judgment forced upon the characters are timeless and integral parts of the human condition.