Among the modern interpretations of Medea, one of the most influential plays by Euripides, which was first performed in 431 BC, there is a so-called “barbarian Medea” reading, which explains the murderous deeds of the heroine (including the killing of her own children) primarily through her barbarian descent and otherness. In this paper, however, I wish to join another trend among the related, rather expansive, research efforts, which identifies the ultimate reason for the revenge taken by this fierce and impetuous protagonist not in her otherness deriving from her barbarity but essentially in her quality as a cheated and humiliated spouse. In my study, I intend to focus on the figure of Medea as a “Corinthian wife” on the basis of three significant locations in the text of the play: the speech of the Nurse (1–45), Medea’s lamentation (214–267), and the agon between Medea and Jason (446–626). It is my intention to contend that during the “peaceful” years spent in Corinth (cf. 11–15), Medea is an average wife, just like any other woman of her age, until Jason decides to leave her. At this point, however, since she takes Jason’s oath sworn to Zeus and the other gods seriously, she abandons the traditional role of “the ideal wife” and exacts her revenge planned on the prompt of her desperation and the specific combination of circumstances. All this relates her back to her mythic past but, in this case, her barbarity becomes an indication of her otherness as a woman, the same way as her deeds become a medium of the experience shared by contemporary spouses and women.
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