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by Euripides

Medea Prologue & Parados Summary

  • The editor starts by giving us the setting and some back story.
  • It is midmorning outside of Jason's house in Corinth.
  • Ten years ago, Jason sailed home with his Argonauts, triumphantly baring the Golden Fleece.
  • Jason also brought back an Asian bride, Medea.
  • Since their return, Jason and Medea have been living happily in Corinth, raising their children.
  • Unfortunately, the happy time is over, because Jason has now married a new bride: the daughter of Creon, King of Corinth.
  • OK, enough from the editor, on to the play.
  • Prologue:
  • The old Nurse enters from the house.
  • She's having a freak out.
  • She laments the fact that the Argo, Jason's ship, was ever built.
  • The Nurse cries that she wishes the adventurer had never come for the Golden Fleece, because then her mistress, Medea, would never have helped him get it and would never have fallen in love with the bastard in the process.
  • The old lady talks about how Jason and Medea's seemingly perfectly marriage has turned foul. Jason has now married Creon's fresh young daughter.
  • According to the Nurse, Medea has been having a major freak out of her own. Ever since she heard of Jason's betrayal she's been inconsolable.
  • The Nurse says that her mistress keeps cursing the fact that she ever turned on her own father to help Jason get the Golden Fleece. Medea gave up her home and family for Jason, and now he's gone and dissed her in the worst way possible.
  • The grieving Medea apparently now even hates her own sons by Jason.
  • The old lady is really afraid that her mistress is going to do something drastic, because Medea is a fierce and vengeful woman.
  • A Tutor enters, with Jason and Medea's two sons.
  • "What's wrong with you?" the Tutor asks the Nurse.
  • The Nurse says she's bummed about Medea's situation.
  • The Tutor says that Medea's situation is even worse than she thinks. Creon is planning to give both Medea and her sons the boot.
  • The Nurse replies that Jason would never let his sons be treated like that, even if he doesn't like Medea anymore.
  • Don't be so sure about that, says the Tutor.
  • The Nurse curses Jason, saying he's an enemy to those he's loved.
  • "Isn't everybody?" replies the Tutor. He thinks all human beings are only worried about themselves.
  • The old lady tells the Tutor to take the kids and keep them away from Medea. She knows her mistress is plotting something and doesn't want the boys to get caught in the crossfire.
  • From inside the house, we hear a long tortured moan from Medea. She cries out that she wishes she were dead.
  • Fearfully, the Nurse rushes the Tutor and the boys away.
  • We hear Medea curse her sons, Jason, and herself. She says that their whole family is doomed.
  • The Nurse doesn't understand why Medea is cursing the sons. How is any of this their fault?
  • The old lady says that she's glad she's not royalty, because they're often punished for being overreaching.

Parodos (Entry Song)

  • The Chorus enters. It's a group of Corinthian women. They're upset about all the drama going on.
  • The Nurse agrees that it's a bad situation.
  • They hear Medea praying for lightning to strike her.
  • The Chorus sings that it's foolish to want to die just because your husband is leaving you.
  • Medea cries to Artemis, guardian goddess of women, to bring the palace of Jason's new bride to ruins.
  • The Nurse hopes that Medea's grief will soon fade.
  • Bring Medea out here, the Chorus says to the Nurse. They want to try and talk some sense into her.

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