Sunday, 3 April 2016

Book #15

Jason and Medea by Apollonius of Rhodes

The tragic, epic love affair that allowed Jason to get the Golden Fleece. 

Having little to no knowledge of Greek mythology, Jason and Medea made me wish I knew more. With nods to various other myths, places, and gods, I felt wholly undereducated throughout the whole thing.

Here we are given the story of Jason's quest to obtain the Golden Fleece. Aeëtes sets an impossible task for Jason - yoking two flame-breathing, bronze-footed Bulls to plough a four-acre field, sowing the teeth of a serpent which will sprout into earth born men, who he must then kill. Aeëtes advises if Jason completes this quest, the fleece will be his. The goddess Hera, desiring Jason's success, employs Eros to shoot an arrow through the heart of Aeëtes' daughter Medea, causing her to fall in love with Jason and use her strong knowledge of witchcraft to help him complete the task.

As I've grown to learn with the Little Black Classics range, excerpts aren't always great. Yes, I loved reading of Medea's conflict in her love for Jason and her loyalty to her father. Yes, I loved the subsequent struggle with the Bulls, and the slaying of the men. But Jason and Medea's love story seems doomed from the beginning (as most Greek love stories often are), and I needed much more than this. Perhaps it's time for me to step out of my comfort zone and try to tackle the entire Argonautica.

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