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Erôs in Ancient Greece$
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Ed Sanders, Chiara Thumiger, Christopher Carey, and Nick Lowe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.001.0001

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Sexual Jealousy and Erôs in Euripides’ Medea

Sexual Jealousy and Erôs in Euripides’ Medea

Chapter:
(p.41) 4 Sexual Jealousy and Erôs in Euripides’ Medea
Source:
Erôs in Ancient Greece
Author(s):

Ed Sanders

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.003.0004

Recent research has argued that sexual jealousy did not exist in Classical Greece. However, modern psychological research into sexual jealousy demonstrates striking affinities to a wide variety of Classical Greek texts. Through a close reading of Euripides' Medea, this chapter demonstrates that sexual jealousy did exist, and was closely tied to erôs. Medea argues that as a woman and an individual she has suffered enormously for her husband. Having severed herself from a woman’s usual ties, her self-conception now centres on her triple roles as Jason’s wife: bedmate, home-maker, and bearer of children. His remarriage threatens all three roles. Medea’s situation, verbal expression, and actions are typical of Greek sexual jealousy scenarios in a wide variety of texts. While not rejecting recent readings of Medea as motivated by pride or rage, Sanders argues that sexual jealousy has been unjustly neglected, and should be rehabilitated to understand fully Medea’s emotional motivation.

Keywords:   sexual jealousy, erôs, Medea, psychology, emotion episodes, woman, wife, bedmate, bearer of children, remarriage

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