Medea & Dream of Passion: Compare & Contrast
Medea is a Greek tragic story that was written by Euripides, and it is based upon the myth of Medea and Jason. This tragic story was first written in 431 BC, and the plot centers on a barbarian protagonist, Medea, who finds her prominent position amongst the world of the Greeks as threatened. She, therefore, seeks to take revenge against Jason, her husband, whom she accuses of taking another woman and divorcing her. In her revenge, Medea kills Glauce, the new wife of Jason, and their two children causing extreme pain to Jason. A dream of Passion on the other hand is a 1978 Greek drama film that is directed by Jules Dassin. The main thematic connotation used in this play is derived from the ideas contained in Medea. Melina Mercouri acts as Maya, who looks for Brenda Collins in a jail. Brenda Collins is accused of killing her three children, as revenge against her husband, whom she accused of cheating on her. This movie depicts the nature in which Medea, the tragic story by Euripides has been interpreted over the years. This document is an analysis of the similarities and differences of Medea and A Dream of Passion, and whether the two authors are trying to say the same thing, in a different manner.
One of the major similarities between these two pieces of art is that they both depict the theme of murder and infidelity. For example, in the story Medea, the protagonist accuses her husband Jason for abandoning his family, in favor of the daughter of the King of Corinth, who is Creon. This is because Jason felt that through this marriage, he may be able to advance his interests and reclaim his lost glory. This is a sign of infidelity, mainly because it is unethical for an individual to live his family, and thereafter engage with another woman. Family is a sacred and religious institution that has to be respected by both the male and female species. In the play Dream of Passion, infidelity is also the main cause of the murder of the children. Brenda Collins manages to kill her three children as a means of seeking revenge against her husband.
This is because of neglecting her, for another woman. Furthermore, the protagonists are women, in these two circumstances, and the only method of seeking revenge against their spouses is the murder of their children. This is mainly because the society in which the women were living was male-centered, and children are viewed as the property of their husbands, and not the wife. It is based on this fact that Medea chose to kill her children, to ensure that her husband would not pass his family name or lineage to his children. This was very painful to Jason, and hence Medea managed to achieve her objective of seeking revenge. Another similarity emanates in the manner in which the two pieces of art are able to depict women and their role in society. Medea is seen as an outcast in her society, and the King of Corinth tells her to leave. On the other hand, Maya is treated as a foreigner in her country, this is despite and this is because she has spent a considerable number of years abroad.
Maya is an actress, and she is unable to effectively connect with the character that she is playing. This is mainly because of her many years outside her country, and hence she is unable to fit in the new society. She is forced to interact with Brenda Collins, for purposes of making her gain an insight into the role that she is supposed to play. Based on these facts, the two authors are trying to depict the theme of feminism and its impact on women. Furthermore, they both depict instances whereby women are able to stand against what the society expects of them and inflict injury on men. Despite these great similarities, there are a number of differences denoted in the two pieces of art.
In Medea, the protagonist was able to escape, while in the work of Jules Dassin, the protagonist was arrested and jailed for murder. In the modern setting, such kind of action would amount to insanity. This insanity is seen in the manner in which Brenda Collins narrates the murder, and sits down cuts a cake, and begins to eat. A modern woman, narrating the murder of her children cannot act in such a way if she is sane. The only reason given to such kind of a situation is insanity. On the other hand, Medea was very calculative, in her plans of killing her children, and her husband’s woman. It is important to understand that in traditional Greek society, children and women were not that important. In fact, children were not to be loved unconditionally. Furthermore, the Greek culture required that a child who was born sickly had to be killed, as the society did not accept any forms of weakness.
It is within this context that Maya kills her children, and it is also within this context, that her husband Jason understands the loss that he has suffered. This is the context that modern society cannot relate to and accept. This is the reason as to why the audience gets scared when they see Maya, composed and relaxed when playing the role of Medea. The audience expects her to be insane, locked away, and this is mainly because an individual acting within the right mind cannot act in such a manner. It is therefore important to denote that in Medea, the character was composed and calm while planning on how to kill her children. This is an aspect that Maya tries to achieve but to no avail.
In conclusion, the two stories both depict the place of a woman within the society. A woman is seen as a person whose main role is to get married and have children for the husband. This is a role that Medea and Brenda Collins refused to play. They expected loyalty and respect from their husbands, without which, they too would rebel against them.
A Dream of passion. DVD. Directed by Jules Dassin. Los Angeles, Calif.: Charter Entertainment, 1987.
Collier, Michael. Medea. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Shelley, Peter. Jules Dassin: the life and films. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2011.