Medea by Euripides
servant of Medea
servant assigned to Jason’s children
MEDEA: wife of
CHORUS: a group
of Corinthian women
CREON: king of
AEGEUS: king of
servant of Jason’s
Medea’s and Jason’s two young sons
Creon and Jason.
home of Jason and Medea in Corinth. The Nurse, a slave
Medea, is standing by herself]
O how I
wish that ship the Argo
sailed off to the land of Colchis,
Symplegades, those dark dancing rocks
boats sailing through the Hellespont.
they’d never chopped the pine trees down
mountain forests up on Pelion,
oars for the hands of those great men
off, on Pelias’ orders,
the golden fleece. Then my mistress,
never would have sailed away
towers in the land of Iolcus,
passionately in love with Jason.
have convinced those women,
daughters, to kill their father.
have come to live in Corinth here,
husband and her children—well loved
in exile by
those whose land she’d moved to.
all sorts of help to Jason.
life is most secure and safe,
and her husband stand as one.
marriage changed. Now they’re enemies.
love’s grown sick, diseased, for Jason,
own children and my mistress,
is lying on
a royal wedding bed.
married the daughter of king Creon,
this country. As for Medea,
lady, in her disgrace, cries out,
his oaths, recalling the great trust
right hand with which he pledged his love.
out to the gods to witness
is repaying her favours.
lies there. She won’t eat—her body
surrenders to the pain, wasting away,
tears, ever since she found out
husband has dishonoured her.
lifted her eyes up from the ground
her head. She listens to advice,
friends, as if she were a stone,
ocean swell, except now and then
that white neck of hers and weeps,
herself for her dear father, her home,
land, all those things she left behind,
here with the man who now discards her.
suffering has taught her the advantages
being cut off from one’s own homeland.
hates her children. When she sees them,
there is no
joy in her. And I’m afraid
she may be
up to some new mischief.
thinks in extremes. I know her well.
put up with being treated badly.
I worry she
may pick up a sharp sword
her stomach, or else she’ll go
house, in silence, to that bed,
the king and bridegroom Jason.
face an even worse disaster.
dangerous woman. It won’t be easy
for any man
who picks a fight with her
she’s beaten and he’s triumphed.
Medea’s and Jason’s children with their Tutor]
her children. They’ve finished playing.
notion of their mother’s troubles.
don’t like to dwell on pain.
from my mistress’ household,
why are you
here, standing by the gate,
complaining to yourself
what’s wrong? How come Medea
to stay inside without you?
of Jason’s children,
master’s lot falls out badly,
for faithful servants, too—
their hearts also. My sorrow
great, I wanted to come here,
to speak to
earth and heaven, to tell them
wrongs inflicted on my mistress.
lady! Has she stopped weeping yet?
crying? I envy your ignorance.
suffering has only just begun—
even half way through it.
if I can
speak that way about my masters—
nothing of her latest troubles.
that, old man? Don’t spare me the news.
I’m sorry I said anything.
don’t hide it from a fellow slave.
I can keep
quiet if I have to.
Well, I was
passing by those benches
old men gamble by Peirene,
at the holy
spring, and I heard someone say
pretending I wasn’t listening)
king of this country, intends
to ship the
children away from Corinth,
mother, too. I’ve no idea
story’s true or not. I hope it’s not.
Jason wouldn’t let his children
exile, even if he’s squabbling
aside by new relationships.
Jason is no
friend of people in this house.
If we must
add these brand-new troubles
to our old
ones, before we’ve dealt with them,
then we’re finished.