― Euripides, Medea
The tragedy of Medea, the great sorceress from Greek mythology, was immortalized by Euripides in 431 BCE. Drawing on previous sources, he centered his play around her slow descent into a jealous madness, inspired by the betrayal of her husband Jason. Her revenge is two-fold when he leaves her for the princess Corinth: first she murders Jason’s new bride and then her own children Jason fathered.
The simplicity of the play is what sets it apart from other tragedies. There are only ever two characters on stage. Medea plays opposite to a string of characters, her power of cunning and manipulation central to the unfolding action. It is no surprise the play was appropriated by feminist groups, who admired her determination and power, while relating to Euripides empathetic portrayal of her emotional journey. Yet, Medea - consumed by hatred - is also the only character we know of in Greek myth to murder her kin willfully rather than in a temporary fit of madness or confusion. In an unprecedented turn, she is also left unpunished at the end of the play, which apparently riled audiences when it was first performed in Athens.
Cinematically, Medea has been adapted a number of times. The various adaptations of her story, whether as a part of the greater story of Jason or as a variation on her presence in other plays will be present. I have tried to assemble as many examples I can find, but if you know of something I am missing, please let me know.
This thread is inspired in part by Shieldmaiden’s thread MACBETH: What's done is done
Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963)
Medea (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1969)
Medea (Pia Epremian, 1969)
Mideia 70 (Michalis Papanikolaou, 1969)
A Dream of Passion (Jules Dassin, 1978)
Storia di Piera (Marco Ferreri, 1983)
Medea (Lars Von Trier, 1988)
Such is Life (Arturo Ripstein, 2000)
Médée (Don Kent, 2001)
Medee Materiau (Anatoli Vassiliev, 2002)
Medea (Theo Van Gogh, 2005)
Médée miracle (Tonino De Bernardi, 2007)