Euripides: Alcestis
Euripides: Heracleidae

Euripides: Medea

Medea killing one of her sons. Side A from a Campanian (Capouan) red-figure neck-amphora, ca. 330 BC. From Cumae.Medea (Ancient Greek: Μήδεια) is a tragedy by Euripides, first performed at the Athenian City Dionysia in 431 BC in which it came last.

The central character is taken from the legendary voyage of the Argonauts, during which Jason was assisted by the Colchian princess Medea to obtain the golden fleece. The play opens some years after Jason's return to Corinth with Medea as his wife. Jason has decided to cast her aside to marry Glauce, daughter of King Creon of Corinth. Medea is sent into exile at Athens, but persuades the Athenian King Aegeus to allow her to return. She poisons Glauce and Creon, before killing her own children by Jason, and fleeing to Athens.

Medea's escape may have contributed to contemporaries' negative judgement on the play. In modern times, however, it has been widely performed, with much interest in the issues of gender and ethnicity raised by a play which make a barbarian woman its central protagonist.

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Free online texts

Geoffrey Steadman: Medea, Greek text with commentary. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Medea, translated by Gilbert Murray (1912). Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Medea, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Medea, translated by T.A. Buckley (1897). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Medea, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L012 - Euripides -- Euripides IV: Ion. Hippolytus. Medea. Alcestis. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation, by David Kovacs. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Medea, translated by George Theodoridis (2005). Multiple formats. Euripides' Medea, translated by C.A.E. Luschnig. PDF format.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Medea, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Performances and Reviews

Almeida London 2015

Susannah Clapp, 'a female voice both ancient and modern', Guardian, 4 October 2015.

Bristol Old Vic 2017

Lyn Gardner, 'all-female cast excel as Euripides meets modern-day Maddy', Guardian, 12 May 2017.

Other Resources Medea - synopsis and analysis.

The Conversation: Medea is as relevant today as it was in Ancient Greece, 23 July 2014, by Laura Swift.

The Conversation: Guide to the classics: Euripides’ Medea and her terrible revenge against the patriarchy, by Paul Salmond, 19 November 2018.

History of Ancient Greece: Early Euripides, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Internet Archive: An English Commentary on the Rhesus, Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, Heraclidae, Supplices, and Troades of Euripides, by Charles Anthon (1877). Multiple formats.

The Iris: A Guide to Euripides' Medea, by Mary Louise Hart, 11 September 2015.

Librivox: Medea, public domain audiobooks.

Literature and History: Woman the Barbarian -Euripides' Medea. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

Wikipedia: Medea (play).

Youtube: Theater Talk- “Medea” actress Fiona Shaw and director Deborah Warner.

Further reading

Apollonius of Rhodes: Argonautica - The best known treatment of the Argo story.

Gaius Valerius Flaccus: Argonautica.

Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae  - features Euripides as a character who is mocked for his portrayal of women.

Hesiod: Theogony.

Herodotus: The Histories - records a tradition about Medea's return to Colchis.

Pindar: Pythian Odes.

Pseudo-Apollodorus: Bibliotheca.

Diodorus Siculus: The Historical Library - discusses a number of versions of Medea's story.

Seneca: Medea.

Cicero: Pro Caelio -  deploys Medea's name as a rhetorical barb against Clodi, sister of P. Clodius Pulcher.

Ovid - refers to the legend in the Heroides, Metamorphoses and Tristia.

Hyginus: Fabulae.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Medea is listed.


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