This is a post for my March book challenge, #marchmonthofmythology.
Medea is a heroine that’s very close to my heart, so today, instead of an informational post, I’m sharing some of my creative writing with you.
Rumours. Whispers. That’s how it all started. I couldn’t believe them at first: you, marrying another woman? My Jason, leaving me behind? After all we’d gone through together? After all I’d done for you?
But in the end I had to realise the rumours were true. You’d found a princess, and forgot that you already had one. A Greek princess is better than a Colchian princess, I suppose. They all said any Greek woman would be better than a barbarian like me – but I thought you were different.
They told me, ‘Jason has found a new bride,’ and I told them, ‘no, not my Jason.’ I was still blinded as I had been from the day I met you. I’m finally starting to see.
I remember that day. I remember when you arrived in Colchis, you and your friends, the Argonauts. You were polite, and friendly, and beautiful. My father pretended to be charmed; only a few tasks, he said, complete a few simple tasks and the Golden Fleece is yours. I knew he was lying: the tasks were far from simple and even if you did succeed, he would never let you get away with the Fleece. I shouldn’t have cared; you were strangers. But you were polite, and friendly, and beautiful. And the gods were on your side.
I fell in love the moment I met you because the gods wanted you to succeed. I see that now. With Hera and Aphrodite on your side, how could you fail? They knew that with my help, you could overcome any obstacle.
Have you ever loved me, Jason? I thought you did. I was sure you did. You told me. You told me you loved me and you would always protect me. I betrayed my fatherland for you, my father and my family. Don’t you understand that without you, I have nowhere else to go? Everywhere we went I fought for you, I killed for you, and now I can never go back.
You met me in the sacred grove of Hecate that night; you asked me for help. I had been resolved until then: I would not help you. I would not choose a stranger over my own father, Aphrodite be damned. But your presence shattered my resolve. These tasks my father had planned for you, they were cruel and unfair. At least with my help, you would stand a chance.
You promised me you would take me with you. You promised me I would be safe. Did you say you would marry me? Did you call me your bride, or did I only imagine that? I was young. I was naive. I would do anything for you.
Do you realise you would have died? Without me, there would be no Jason. Without you, I would still have been a princess, I would still be with my family. I gave up everything for you and now I have nothing.
I put myself to work as soon as you left; the next morning I’d provided you with all the magic you needed. Fireproof, you tamed Hephaestus’ oxen. I told you how to beat the men who grew from the dragon’s teeth. My potion closed the eyes of the always-waking dragon. You got the Fleece, you got everything you wanted, because of me.
But I’d known, of course, my father would never let you get away with the Fleece. We fled, but he was on our heels. Even the Argo wasn’t fast enough for Aeetes’ fleet. I saved you, then, I saved us all. I could not have committed a more terrible crime. For you, Jason, I committed that abominable atrocity. I cannot speak of it even now. My hands are stained, still, with his blood.
You didn’t care, did you? You comforted me, said we would find a way to absolve me of the guilt. There was no way. I wonder if you knew that. I wonder, now, about everything you did. Did you ever mean anything you said? You must have loved me once.
I have to say it now, even if my voice falters. I have to name the ungodly act I did for you. My own brother, Jason, only a child, I murdered my own brother for you. I murdered him and let my father collect the pieces from the waves. It was the only way to slow him down. You assured me, there was no other way to escape. It was Hera’s mania, not my own mind that made the decision. It couldn’t be.
But if it wasn’t me, then why do I feel guilty? Why could the gods not forgive me? Why does my heart still ache at the thought?
We sailed away and every problem we faced, I solved. You would all be dead if it wasn’t for me, you and your friends. The Argo would have sunk to the bottom of the sea without my help.
I saved your old father with my magic. I helped you slay your usurper uncle; no, I slayed him for you. I made his daughters slay him for you. But what good did it do? After that, we couldn’t stay. You never got your throne. We were both refugees then, even if you were Greek and I wasn’t. We would build a home, here, in Corinth. After all I went through, at least I got what I wanted. What I thought we both wanted. I don’t know how I never saw you for what you were.
You couldn’t be happy with a normal life, a happy life. Our family, our sons weren’t enough for you. You want money and status and a younger wife. A barbarian, a witch like me could never get you where you wanted. You’ve forgotten what we went through. Jason, without me you would be dead.
I was a princess just like her, my father a king just like hers. I saved your life, I gave you two children, and what can she give you? Money. Status. How long, Jason, how long until you discard her too?
What will become of our children, Jason? I see you every time I look at them. Our boys. Your boys. They look so much like you. Polite, and friendly, and beautiful. I know you care about them. I know you love them. They are part of me, but they are part of you, too. Will you take them? Will I ever see them again? Will you forget, when I’m gone, that they were mine? They look so much like you. It won’t be hard for people to forget who their mother was.
You have robbed me of everything, Jason, so I will do the same to you.
Helios, grandfather, help me. Hekate, stand by me, guide me in my choices.
You think you can leave me, discard me, because I have nowhere to go. You forget, Jason, what I can do. You forget I have nothing to lose. You forget, without me, you would be dead.
You have robbed me of everything, Jason, so I will do the same to you.
Medea – the friend/sidekick who does all the work
The reason I picked Medea for today’s prompt – today being International Women’s Day – is partly just because I love Medea, and partly because she has a strong connection to feminism to me. When we read Euripides’ Medea in school (our final year subject for ancient Greek), the subject of feminism was raised, as well as the question whose side we were on – Medea or Jason. It struck me that most of the boys said Jason, while most of the girls, including me, said Medea. Another girl, while defending Medea, was asked whether she was a feminist. She said yes without hesitation – and the class was shocked. This made me think. I thought feminism was a good thing – I thought most people thought that. So why was it so shocking to say you were a feminist? Was there something wrong with it? Or was gender equality more of an issue than I’d thought up until that moment? I decided, quietly, that I was a feminist, and that that was nothing to be ashamed of.
Now I’m more educated about feminism and I’m more vocal about my opinions (though I’m still scared to speak up). Today I read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I wholeheartedly agree with that message. Do you call yourself a feminist? If you do, was there a moment you consciously decided to do so? If you don’t, why? (I’m not looking for an argument here, I’m just interested to hear people’s thoughts on this topic.)