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"Est Deus in Nobis ... ": Medea Meets her Maker

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Chapter Summary

In the Heroides Ovid had presented the case both for the prosecution and the defence in the letters of Hypsipyle and Medea herself. Hypsipyle's letter, ostensibly written on learning of the triumphal return of the Argonauts, is shot through with intertextual foreboding of disasters to come; Medea's, written as she prepares to set those disasters in train, is similarly pregnant with backward-looking irony. The pitifully few surviving fragments of his tragedy Medea tell us little, but it must have owed its chief inspiration to Euripides. For the Heroides he had drawn on both Euripides and Apollonius; Medea as an epic heroine entailed engagement not only with Apollonius, but also with Virgil, who for his portrayal of Dido and Aeneas had extracted the essence of the relationship of Jason and Medea, its progress from love through betrayal to hatred and revenge.

Keywords: Apollonius Rhodius; Heroides; Jason; Medea



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