Is Medea an Aristotelian Protagonist?
Answer one of the following. You will be evaluated on your use of evidence to support a clear, specific claim. Your evidence should come from the text itself, notes from class, elements of our reading, or things we have talked about. 1) In the final moments of the play, Jason calls Medea a monster (implying that this has everything to do with her being a “barbarian”). It is unlikely that an audience of Greek men could find such a monstrous “barbarian” worthy of the empathy Aristotle demands of a protagonist, and yet she clearly sits in the play’s protagonist position, driving the action, being the agent of choice (and therefore the one capable of missing the mark). How do her monstrous actions complicate her position as protagonist? How does her position as ostensible protagonist complicate her monstrous actions? 2) What are possible ways that a reading audience in 2019 might make sense of this play in ways that are different from how a Greek audience in the 5th century BCE may have understood the play? 3) Feminists have reclaimed this play and gone so far as to say that, regardless of Euripides’s intentions, Medea asks a lot of questions at the heart of intersectional feminism (a feminism that also considers matters of race/class/sexuality). Do you think that a feminist production of the play would need to change the text (specifically the ending) in order to do so? CREATIVE OPTION Tell some portion of the story of Medea using a fake social media account and write a one paragraph explanation specifically outlining why you did what you did.