(Michael Bulley’s letter appeared in the Guardian, 3/14; Photo: the Guardian.)
We ruin, waste and trivialise human life by ignoring that, writes Michael Bulley
Charlotte Higgins is right to see Medea, in Euripides’s tragedy, as heroic (Greek tragedies like Medea are an ethical nightmare. That’s why we need them, 11 March). Euripides presents Jason, Medea’s husband, as blind to the power of Aphrodite, and therefore doomed to suffer horribly.
There is a vital speech from Medea, when, having decided to kill her own and Jason’s children, she says: “Yes, I know what sorts of evil things I am going to do, but passion, which is to blame for the greatest evils for mortals, is greater than my considered thoughts.”
Euripides does nothing to justify Medea’s infanticide. It simply stands as a measure of her passion: she loved Jason enough to kill her own children. It is hard to imagine a greater or worse love.