Monday, July 22, 2019

Euripedes Essay Example for Free

Euripedes Essay The beginnings of literature are sowed in myths. They reflect the preoccupations of the myths celebrate the primal human emotions like love, hate, sexual desires, reproduction and heroism, some others are equally horrendous dealing with some heinous crimes like murder and rape. No matter what aspect of life do they reflect it is their universality that makes them popular in different cultures and times? The myth of Inos is such an example. The legend of Inos dates back many centuries before Christ to ancient Rome and Greece. According to the legend, Inos, the daughter of Cadmus is married by Athama, King of pre historic Minyans in the ancient Boeotian city of Orchomenus. King Athama falls in love with the innocent beauty of Inos and neglects his own wife, Nephele, who disappears in anger. They have two sons, Laerchus and Melicertes . Inos also nurses Dionysus, thus incurs the wrath of Hera, the wife of Zeus. Inos is later driven mad and in her madness kills herself and her two sons. She is later worshipped by ancient Greeks as Leucothea, the White Goddess. The legend of Inos is found in different parts of world with slight variations. Euripides one of the great giants of Greek tragedy was perhaps the first who used the legend of Inos in his tragedy Medea, when he composed it in 480 B. C. His tragedy complemented to the myth of Inos so well it became more popularly known as the legend of Medea. While in love with Jason, Euripides’ Medea helps him steal the golden fleece from her father, King Aeechis of Colchis. Thus, betraying her own clan. She is later abandoned by her husband, who leaves her to marry Creusa, daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. In despair Medea kills herself and her two sons. She however, goes unpunished and escapes in the dragon chariot. She takes refuge with king Aegeus of Athens. She later marries Achilles in the underworld and becomes immortal. Medea therefore, becomes the heroin of the tragedy, whereas, its her husband who suffers for betraying his wife. The legend of Medea, represents the cultural conflicts, racism and gender prejudices working on the individual lives of the characters. The employment of these phenomena in the evolution and degeneration of the characters, makes the legend universal in its appeal. It is for this reason that even in the twentyfirst century, writers incorporated the myth in the modern characters as in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. Set between the characters of the Carribean and England, Wide Sargasso Sea emphsise the above mentioned phenomena working on its individual characters. The novel is written in the post modern post colonial settings. Immediately after the emancipation of the Carribean blacks. It narrates the story of Anoinette later renamed as Bertha, belonging to dominica, a city of British owned Jamaica. She is married to an English man. It is eventually this relationship that derives young and innocent Annoinette to a mad woman Bertha, who later on commits suicide. The story narrates how the cultural, racial and gender prejudices makes individuals vulnerable. The novel is often seen as an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre written in 1886, with the same story outline, however, the real source dates back to the legend of Medea or more precisely the myth of Inos. Like medea, she marries a foreigner, and is later exploited by him for her racial inferiority and gender bias. Euripedes’ medea is an enchantress. Her weakness as a woman is exposed when exploited by her husband. She, however, comes out as a resolute and vindictive person. She is portrayed as strong and completely in control of her self. Till the end when she kills her kids, she is contemplative and logically derives herself to commit their murder. Whereas, Rhys’s Bertha is doomed to her madness by the social as well as biological factors. The novel seems more of an approach that how the social factors catalyses the biological deseases. Her death, however, gives her the same triumph that Medea enjoyed over her husband. For Rochester, she remained his property even in her madness. He says towards the end, â€Å"even though she is mad, she is mine†. This possessiveness is given away by her through her death. Just as Medea escapes unpunished in a dragon chariot before her husband’s eyes. It is interesting to note that how a twentyfirst century african woman writer incorporates the same myth used by the Greek tragedian of fifth century Before Christ. A deeper study regarding the history of the myth will unfold that how the myth of Inos undergoes different versions through out centuries and claims its authority in various cultures. After Euripedes, Publius Ovidius Naso, the Roman poet of 49 B. C. used the story in his own work which influenced Lucius Anneus Seneca the famous Hispano- Roman tragedian of 4 century B. C. at Corduba (Cordoba). Scholars believe that Seneca might have brought the original legend of Inos to Spain thorugh his own intellectual influence. However, the inscriptions on the stones at Maikop, 56 miles east of the Black Sea near Colchis, reveal the story of Jason and his Argonauts. According to the legend of Medea, Jason and his Argonauts travel to Colchis and it is there that he meets Medea. It seemed through the amazing discovery, that the whole legend or some parts of the legend might be true. The pheonicians of the 12th to 8th centuries before Christ, then present at colchis a region of the Western Georgian Socialist Soviet Republics, are supposed to transport the legend to Spain later when they themselves settled in the Iberian peninsula. It is through Spain that the legend passed on to Africa and from there to America along with slave trade. It is exceptionally popular with the Afro- Americans, who imagine her to be in real, wandering in dark forests and shrieking. Toni Morrison, another of the celebrated Afro- American writer draws a like wise figure of a phantom in her novel â€Å"Beloved†. In whatever version the legend of Medea appear, it projects very effectively the apparent triumph of the male sex over female, whereas, it is the weaker sex that despise the yolk of her stronger counter part and sets themselves free in the ultimate analysis. Therefore, the story becomes one of betrayal, vengeance and triumph. It is the ultimate triumph of the weak over the strong that the story remains a favourite with the writers and readers alike especially by the women writers in patriarchal societies.

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