S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Notes on Medea

Thanks to having watched Medée yesterday night,

1) This morning I got a visual joke from last night's opera. I know it sounds silly to be proud of comprehending something funny the next day, but to be fair, it was a vaguely sobering scene at the time, with the palace on fire, corpses everywhere, and Jason collapsing under the enormity of it all. The way the production is done, they show you the children once, at the beginning, en route to take a bath, in tow with their nurses. Courtiers are part of the procession, carrying the bath itself, towels, and various other equipment, such as jugs of water and the like for the children's cleansing. At the very end, to drive home the fact that the children were killed off too, the curtain rises to show the palace on fire and the bathtub, with blood-stained sheets draping out of it. Get it? It's a bloodbath. (Okay, grisly humor, but since it was a baroque opera of a Greek tragedy, I don't feel it had any real representation of reality - not why I was watching it.)

2) I ran across a relevant passage when looking through Cicero's The Nature of the Gods for other purposes entirely:
"Again, if Ino (whom the Greeks call Leucothea, and we name Matuta) is regarded as a goddess because she is the daughter of Cadmus, must we not include also in the retinue of the gods Circe, Pasiphae, and Aeetes, whose mother was Perseis, the daughter of Oceanus, and whose father was the Sun? After all, our Roman colonists at Cercei are devoted worshippers of Circe, as of Matuta. So you accept her as a deity; then what excuse will you make for excluding Medea, daughter of Aeetes and Idyia, when her two grandfathers were the Sun and Oceanus? Or her brother Absyrtus, who in Pacuvius is called Aegialeus, though the name Absyrtus is commoner in ancient literature? If Medea and Absyrtus are not deities, I fear for the status of Ino, for the claims of all these persons derive from the same criterion."

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