MEDEA: Even better than the soaps

Having temporarily flung away The Reading List – I can hear the gasps from the English department even now – I burrowed back into my extensive Greek collection. I didn’t care what I picked out, as long as it didn’t involve graphic scenes of sex/murder/cannibalism. Turns out there wasn’t any cannibalism, at least. And the scenes were slightly more poetic.

Medea is a woman who, having abandoned her homeland in favour of Jason (typing this, all I can think of is a strange Jason Donavon/David Jason morph), and his (probably) drop-dead gorgeous abs, has then found out that lover-boy is actually having it on with King Creon’s daughter. Medea then proceeds to take glorious, no-shits-given revenge, slaughtering quite a few people in imaginative ways. To complete it, she rides off into the sunset with a couple of dragons, according to my translation. If this woman doesn’t have sass, I don’t know who does.

My favourite aspect of this play is the fact that Medea can be presented in a variety of different ways. She can be a ruthless man-eater (figuratively, unlike Patrick Bateman) who refuses to let a few bodies get in the way. She can be hysterical, blinded-by-love, having been taken for a ride (sniggers) by Jason, and therefore the audience may have an ounce of pity for her. Or she can be doing WHATEVER THE HELL SHE WANTS BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T NEED A MAN IN HER LIFE.

Okay, her character’s not that simple; it ebbs and flows into anger and passion and doubt in a wonderful manner, AND THERE ARE DRAGONS.

I was watching a well-known television soap opera today (well, the last ten minutes of it), and despite its reputation for regular death/slander/extra-marital affairs, it all seemed a bit tame. Lame. It was mind-numbingly boring, to be quite honest. I would rather gouge my eyes out with a ladle than watch it again. Medea has so much more… life. Yes, both of them have sex and murder and sky-rocketing anger, but I’d rather read about a woman plotting to take (perhaps)  over-the-top, delicious revenge on her ex-lover, than watch a woman with all the acting talent of a piece of cheese engage in lip wrestling with an equally talent-less man.

Make the right choice. Don’t become absorbed in a piece of acting cheese. Be immersed in the Greeks instead.

Have you read Medea? Or even seen it, you lucky devil? Comment below!


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