Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Religious Education

    Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

    Religious Education 

    I would like to again celebrate Chiara Fankhauser and Abbey Maffescioni (Year 10) we are completing their media internship at Australian Catholic this week. This is a significant achievement and a wonderful opportunity. Their applications were both excellent and testament to their competence and interest in the ‘media’, Religious Education and English.

    During the internship the girls are members of small team who are in the process of editing the winter edition of Australian Catholics Magazine. We are very excited about this as our Year 7 students will receive a copy of this as part of their Religious Education program. Further, I look forward to hearing of their experience, their sharing to our community and the encouragement their success offers others in the future.

    I would like to conclude by sharing with you text of a piece of work that Abbey used to support her application. I am sure you will agree she is very talented and offers a persuasive and insightful response to the misuse of the media in the modern day.

    I wish both Chiara and Abbey all the best as they enter into this exciting opportunity.

    Mr Brendan Nicholls  Religious Education Coordinator

     

    Medea – Creative Writing Piece

    Abbey Maffecioni

    [Scene is set within the palace of MEDEA (Queen of Corinth), in the throne room; NURSE, an old servant of MEDEA]

    NURSE: My Queen Medea, forced from her home the land of Colchis, her heart deceived by a spell; cast by Hera, Mother of the Gods. Unaware of the twisted spell, she assisted Jason in stealing the Golden Fleece, Jason easily persuaded Medea to execute many truly villainous acts against the innocent. Oh if only she had known of what awaited if only her hero Jason was not guilty of ordering these criminal behaviours of his bride if only Jason had not exiled them to Corinth. I ask my Queen what of her oaths that she took to Jason on the island of Drepane, with the Gods as their witnesses, what of her pledge of faithfulness. Now Jason stays no doubt plotting against our Queen and her new bride, unknowingly to be exiled from Corinth by Creon within the hour, though fairly in a foreign land a man can survive with merely a name, he can lose nothing more. But what chills me is what curses would he place on Medea and their children? No man would lightly abandon his rage, they have no belief in loss only glory and being triumphant in any battle they fight. And oh what a glorious life they must lead, die in battle or live to tell of their victories but when death comes will it be their victory they think of, is that all they hold dear, is there nothing greater in life, shall my words prove true that men are simple in their ways.

    [The CHORUS of Corinthian women enter.]

    CHORUS: The Colchian woman, now a Queen of a foreign land. But where is the Queen now? She must answer for the woe she has caused. She wept violently of sorrow when Jason sought out the princess for his bride and now she finds herself to be wed to whom she tried to ruin. To inflict harm on two, only one has been struck, Jason has been deceived by two women. How could Medea defend this? 

    [Medea; Queen of Corinth, enters and addresses the CHORUS]

    MEDEA: Ah Ladies of Corinth, you all know the suffering and pain which I endured. Yet here I am the Queen of my own state married to the beautiful princess, daughter of Creon. And where is the man whom I must thank for my most impressive fortune? He is to be exiled from this land he once exiled us to. Oh the misery that was caused by his ignorance, I can only pray to the Gods he makes little fuss when he leaves this city. To think the man who I believed to be my world was my foulest traitor. Jason with his endless hunger for power, one that never wavered even after he had Iolcus in his grasp, shame was cast over him when his bride wasn’t good enough for our people. After all my false love and the love of our children, he sought the princess of Corinth to make her his bride, I would never accept such a criminal unity, charged with a vengeful fire kindled by Hera’s spell with the power of Aphrodite, I set forth with the intent to strike down the princess. But as a laid my eyes upon her I felt the fire pass over me and was replaced by bewitchment by the princess before me. When King Creon arrived, terror-stricken, he willingly gave me his daughter’s hand in marriage. Men are the most miserable of specimens, divorce brings disgrace on a woman and we should not refuse our husbands, we are bound to one lover for our lives and seek no other.

    CHORUS-LEADER: We ask you, Queen Medea; Is it that Jason will seek revenge, you tell of the crime he was to commit but forget of your own criminal behaviour. What have you to say for the grief you caused?

    MEDEA: You ask me to justify what I have done? Why should I defend myself? Us women live in a world with laws written by and for men; who wield weapons into battle as the fools they are, only to die for a legacy they have clutched to their whole lives that they will never see fulfilled. A woman has the torture of birthing and raising their legacy even after they are gone; and what of us? Abandoned, homeless, exiled, cast out, forced from our homes. So my friends how could I possibly defend myself in a land of men, where even a sorceress and high priestess of the temple of Hecate can be stripped of her title and has nothing and nowhere to go. Are women truly timid and cowards? When we must endure sharing our lives with strong-willed men who act so foolishly or are we stronger than any scheming, unfaithful, wicked man we have the labour of meeting. Here I stand before you, Queen of this land and you ask me of the grief I have caused; In my eyes, I see no foul play.

    CHORUS-Leader: Here approaches Creon to bring news from the house of Jason.

    [Enter CREON]

    MEDEA: You there, Creon, I welcome the news of Jason’s exile. How did he go? What painful words did he deliver us? It would bring me twice as much joy if he left cursing our names and his tales of suffering. Tell us your story Creon.

    [MEDEA sits at the throne]

    CREON: When I arrived at the house of Jason, I informed him of your decree, that he was to be banished beyond this country. He spoke of the great harm he will do to you and your bride. For the sake of my daughter’s mortality, allow him to stay in this land. I beg of you humbly, my Queen.

    MEDEA: There is no harm he could possibly do upon me or your daughter, I would not allow it. You must drive him out of Corinth, show no mercy. Send the servants, punish any who pity him for they should be shown no more pity than him.

    CREON: Did you not love him once! is all this trouble to be caused for one man.

    MEDEA: Do not waste your words trying to change my mind, you could never possibly persuade me.

    CREON: A man who has been made a fool of has a murderous heart. Especially when a deed such as that is accomplished by a woman.

    MEDEA: Men need no assistance in making fools of themselves, it is at their core to do so.

    CREON: Please allow him to stay another day, then he will never set foot in Corinth again.

    MEDEA: I see no reason to fulfil your wish. But as the father of my bride, I will listen. Go, tell Jason of my decision but be clear it was through no pity of mine that he is to stay.

    [exit CREON]

    CHORUS: No woman should endure the burden of men; Medea has escaped this. Blessed by this earth and the sun, the father of her father; Apollo shines in golden robes, lightened body and all-bright in gold; immortal youth and eternal beauty, surely they are of the same blood. She was saved from her spell by falling hopelessly in love with the princess, Glauce. 

    MEDEA: Now that I have taken a new wife and she has taken in my children, I will rule as Queen of Corinth my children will be the heirs. If only there were another means for mankind to reproduce, without the male sex; Oh what troubles the world would be rid of!

    [Enter GLAUCE]

    MEDEA: My princess, eternally beautiful, the perfection of all that is graceful and refined. Our marriage, words of honour to the gods binding us, but for me now in truth. I am forever devoted to you and your desires.

    GLAUCE: I have been blessed by an envious wife to be Queen you needn’t fulfil all of what I ask. The gods have been generous to us and our union, I now have two children with the one that I love, are the gods not generous?

    [MEDEA rises from the throne and goes to GLAUCE]

    MEDEA: I thought not even the Gods had the power to undo the damage caused by my past lover, but you are here and my heart has never been so elated. You are worth more than I have ever blessed with, though many dreams of gold and power I only wish for you to stay with me.

    GLAUCE: I know of the suffering afflicted by Jason, but now we needn’t worry about him.

    MEDEA: Of course we needn’t, Jason is gone we will never see him or be harmed by his treachery.

    [MEDEA kisses GLAUCE’S forehead: exit GLAUCE]

    MEDEA: Ah, this is hard to bear. I should have exiled Jason; why did I listen to that fool Creon [moves and sits back on the throne]. Jason doesn’t give up easily and would never accept being fooled.

    CHORUS-LEADER: I believe that you said no harm would come to your wife or children. What unpleasantness do you fear? You may have to face it presently; Jason is fast approaching.

    [exit CHORUS: Enter JASON, angered]

    JASON: You scheming viper-minded woman; You lioness, you have had your claws wretched in my heart. Your decree for my banishment, I know to be an act of war. Is that what you desire? To fight, because I will willingly do so to take what is rightfully mine.

    MEDEA: Oh, of course, you believe everything to be an act of war! Is that all you think of? The next battle, who is against you and who your enemies are. You deserve nothing and you have no right to fight for something that you do not own.

    JASON: [paces in front of throne] You have stolen my children, my kingdom and my reputation; and I will fight for them.

    MEDEA: Oh poor man wretched in your sorrows! What pity I take on you, what a cruel twist of fate that the woman you tried to abandon, abandoned you. I take pity on you, poor fool.

    JASON: You witch; you have done villainous things, you never deserved to be Queen of any land. You killed your own family and many others [stops pacing, turns to MEDEA], did you enjoy watching your father and brother suffer at your own hand, where you gratified to trick those girls into killing their father. 

    MEDEA: You have no right to speak of what I have done. I had no control over what I did.

    JASON: But you still did it, you can deny your villainous conduct or admit to being the abomination you are.

    MEDEA: All that I did was under your order; I had no way of denying, I was under a spell. I had no choice in what I did, I never willingly murdered my father and my brother. I merely did what you set me out to do so it would seem we have encountered a moral dilemma, is the one who gives the order as guilty as the one who executes it?

    JASON: What I have done in my past for the right to my own crown is no act of villainy.

    MEDEA: Yet what I have done, you see is appropriate to hold against me, why should the rules not be enacted on you as you believe they should to me?

    JASON: You are an unfeeling monster, you betrayed me for a new bride. Gone is all trust we placed in our oaths, you cast me from this land with no friends without my children.

    MEDEA: When I witness the day you are to bear a child you may take them.

    JASON: You have an incurable evil within you, I feel nothing but hatred for you. I was your husband once, remember our oaths, our pledge to one another.

    MEDEA: Ah, yes, a wonderful husband indeed. A truly good husband does not ask her to murder her family, or abandon his wife and children-

    [JASON tries to speak]

    MEDEA: I do not care for your excuse, I am the Queen, you are not the King. You dare accuse me of being unworthy of trust, on land where you have no rights. You, Jason, are a wicked man who is dark at his heart. Call me a lioness! Call me a witch! But I say now when I dig my claws into your heart all it bleeds is the darkness within you.

    [Medea rises form the throne: exit MEDEA]

    JASON: Damn her! I curse the days we shared a wedding bed. I wish now that I had never gone to Colchis and retrieved the Golden Fleece. And now I am to be exiled, penniless without any heirs.

    [enter CHORUS of Corinthian women]

    CHORUS: We hear your cries of unjust hatred for the Queen, you are undeserving of the right to a city. You have earnt nothing you possess, it was Medea who knew how to defeat the warriors of the earth and how to make you impervious to fire and Medea who tamed the dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece, the key to your rule Iolcus. But it was also you who took her from Colchis, made her kill her family and leave her without a home to go back to. You cursed her the moment she became a part of your legend, and yet you still deceived her.

    JASON[faltering]: I do deserve a kingdom; it was my birthright. [looks towards CHORUS] I have killed many for glory if people told of my story would I not be known for my triumph. So many are dead because of the glory I sought out for.

    CHORUS: Then there is one last person in your story who must end it all, all the pain was caused by one and you must destroy them for it, a person who is unfaithful to you and has caused you the most grief. 

    CHORUS-LEADER: Jason, you must know who it is we speak of.

    JASON: A life of triumph for nothing. Zeus have mercy on me a once honoured life of adventure, so now it must come to a bitter end; I have become a tragic figure in my eyes all the adventure was for nothing. I am tired.

    [JASON exits]

    CHORUS: Both Jason and Medea, from the moment they became part of each other’s lives they were doomed. Their fate was chosen by a goddess who sought revenge, in gaining revenge on one she achieved the destruction of another. Jason and Medea, no one could live with the other. One would have to die.

    [enter MEDEA]

    MEDEA: How ironic, drowning on a burning ship [MEDEA begins laughing] Oh what a hilarious twist of fate. A man thought to be so strong, crumbled at the loss of a wife who never loved him. Oh, the shame he must have felt to take his own life. I would not hesitate to say that those who pass for the great thinkers of this earth are in fact the greatest fools.

    [enter MESSENGER]

    MESSENGER: My Queen Medea, I have brought you news of Jason.

    MEDEA: What of him, what more annoyance can he cause in one day?

    MESSENGER: He is dead, my Queen. He went to his ship the Argo, and set it aflame with himself inside. It was as though the ocean itself was on fire. Many tried to stop the flames but it was without a doubt going to sink. Jason was heard inside crying out for Zeus to end his suffering. He had trapped himself inside and drowned. I will leave you now. 

    [exit MESSENGER]

    MEDEA: How ironic, drowning on a burning ship [MEDEA begins laughing] Oh what a hilarious twist of fate. A man thought to be so strong, crumbled at the loss of a wife who never loved him. Oh the shame he must have felt to take his own life. I would not hesitate to say that those who pass for the great thinkers of this earth are in fact the greatest fools.

    [Exit MEDEA]

    CHORUS: Anger crushed both of their hearts of anger that lead them to their fate. In any circumstance, Medea leaves with the last laugh, and Jason is left to grow tired of living a life of regret. For Medea always sent on the path of freedom by her noble father the sun. Because, when raging seas subside, when wars are over and poets sing, Medea remains a monument of woe.

    Reflection

    I chose to write it the way I did because I felt that I wanted to kind of like the original but change it a bit to get a different message from it. My aim was to write the story but tell it where the roles were in a way reversed, between Medea and Jason and get more of a fair argument going between them without the misogynistic ideology seen throughout the original play. I didn’t write it with a particular audience in mind, but it would probably be aimed at someone who has read Medea and knows the story and so they get to see the story differently to what they originally saw in the original.

    It was connected to the original text, it was set in the same place and time; with the same characters involved. With the elements of the text I kept the original themes of the play, which are; Conflict, between Jason and Medea; Passion, love for the princess; Revenge, practically everyone; The role of women, this theme in particular I tried to explore more, like in the original with the Chorus (Ladies of Corinth). I altered the text kind of with a role reversal, but not really; it was more like what if I followed the story of Jason and the Argonauts where Medea was under a spell, and then the spell was kind of lifted/broken after she met the princess and fell in love with her. So similar to a role reversal because then Jason was left with nothing and to be exiled. I also used formal and dramatic language, like the original text. I used the same setting and characters because I felt that I should be true to the book while achieving a different aim to the original play.

    I chose to do a play script format because I felt that it would be easier to tell the story without having to only see it from one character’s point of view, or constantly changing the character you were seeing the story from. And honestly, I felt as though it fitted the way I was writing it more and how I adapted it. I addressed most of the elements, I could have been more descriptive with adding actions and directions in the script.

    I used the original play script format as the original author as well as the original themes and formal language. With writing my own adaption of the story and writing the characters differently while trying to stay true to who they are was difficult, but I found that I did learn more about them trying to figure out what kind of language they would use, what choices they would make in situations. I found it difficult to really get my ideas written out, I found it difficult starting to write because I found everything to be kind of pretentious when I wrote it out. I tried to use the same kind of writing as the original text, like the kind of writing style, of course, its translated from the original text in Greek, but I still tried to stay true to the writing style.

    I think with this creative writing piece that I really wanted to explore what Jason would do if he were put in a similar situation to Medea, which back then would have been a very unlikely situation. I also really wanted to explore the chorus a bit more because I feel like they are such an important part of Greek plays; also through the chorus’ interactions with Medea, I tried to explore the roles of women more, and kind of their thoughts on men of that time. I chose to do this because I felt with writing about whether or not Euripides was a feminist or a misogynist really made me want to write it again but with the roles reversed and a more feminist point of view. Honestly what inspired me to respond like this was showing Lucy what an actual feminist writer looked like, just kidding, I really wanted to rewrite it in a more interesting way without all the misogynistic comments. I’m proud I got it done in the end.

     

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