About the Poems
by Anna Maria Hong
I became interested in the tale of Medea while rereading and teaching the myth of Jason and the Argonauts to my first-year college students a few years ago. As my teenage, mostly male students noted, Medea owns the story, pretty much doing everything for Jason including getting the Golden Fleece and avenging his family against his evil uncle Pelias by tricking Pelias’ daughters into cutting the king up and boiling him. I liked her talent and her ruthlessness (there’s a lot of chopping up of “obstacles”) and her passion—she does everything and anything for Jason up until the point at which he dumps her for another princess. And I liked the strangeness of her character within the literature. She’s not male, not Greek but “Asiatic,” and unlike other Greek heroes who are mostly well behaved (think Herakles), she is never punished for her transgressions, which are severe. The gods and Euripides favor her as a wronged, enraged, and resourceful woman, an intriguing concept then and now.