Medea the Fillicidal Mother

Medea (about to murder her children) by Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix (1862).

I find Medea a fascinating character. I doubt if she would have gone down in history quite as vividly if she hadn't killed her children to have her revenge on her husband. This is what many husbands do to their wife and children, by the way, when they realise their wives are about to leave them for another man, and taking the children with them.

Did anyone see Diana Rigg in that chilling Euripides play? She didn't do it on impulse but spent the whole play agonising about it. "Shall I or shan't I? Should I or shouldn't I have my revenge ?"

Logically, if her purpose was to have her revenge then there was no better way of doing so.

For her, in her unique position, killing her children would add to her immortality rather than diminish it.

For us ordinary folk, killing our healthy children would mean we have frustrated our own project of passing on our genes.


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