The myth perpetuates characters present in history and literature for a better understanding and analysis of everyday life, giving answers to questions that reason does not necessarily understand. Myth tries to explain the inexplicable. For Albert Camus, “myths are made for the imagination to animate them”. There is a re-updating of the myths, giving life to characters, their glories and misfortunes, initiating the process of bringing them to the contemporary world.
Let us take as an example the myth of Medea, written by Euripides, which is one of the first artistic manifestations in the world in which a woman rebels against the sufferings imposed on her, precisely because she is a woman. Written in 431 BC, “Medea” is one of the most performed texts over the centuries. In cinema, it won versions by Pier Paolo Pasolini, in 1969, and Lars Von Trier, in 1988. In theater, the first “Gota D’Água” was written by Chico Buarque and Paulo Pontes, in 1975, and the second, “Mata your father”, by Grace Passô, 2017.
In the tragedy narrated by Euripides, in order for Jason to occupy the throne to which he was entitled by inheritance, he must conquer the Golden Fleece. Upon arriving in Colchis, where the Fleece was kept, King Aeetes imposed on Jason the fulfillment of four tests to obtain possession of the valuable object. In love with Jason, Medea helps him conquer the Fleece. Together, they flee from Colchis to Corinth. To ensure their escape, Medea kills her brother and throws his pieces overboard. However, in Corinth, Jason marries Glaucia, daughter of King Creon. Medea, blinded by pain and hatred, takes revenge on Jason by killing Glaucia and her own children, then leaving in a chariot of fire.
In “Mata teu Pai”, Grace Passô, makes a critical cut about the myth beyond the infanticidal reading proposed by Eurípedes. Passô makes them understand that, in fact, Jason is wrong, because of his betrayal. The Medea of this reading brings points that are recurrent in our society: the betrayed woman who attacks her lover. It is as if the woman took responsibility for the man, after all, we are taught from an early age that we have to mature faster, at the same time that men are allowed to have childish attitudes and behaviors, because society believes that they take longer to mature. . For Passô, Medea does not want to kill her children, as she did for Euripides. She wants to kill her father, thereby killing the patriarchy and what is in us. As happens when we want the other to perceive their prejudices and we don’t perceive ours.
There is a very strong actuality in the figure and history of Medea, which frees the female voice that not only feels deeply wronged, but also refuses to be confined to the domestic space. She brings a critique of male behavior and the institutionalization of their power, anchored in the language of rhetoric and argumentation preserved for men. At the same time there is a dichotomy in Medea, as the infanticidal figure, the mother who killed her children, coexists in her, but there is also the strength that marks her will to exist and tell her own story. She doesn’t want to be branded only as Jason’s wife and murderer of his children.
In the light of contemporaneity, it is possible to reflect on how much our women’s bodies, especially those of black women, are immersed in an economic logic, where we see the naturalization of violence, rape and femicide. We live in a society whose system was made to exterminate us. The recognition of patriarchy, her laments about the condition of being a woman, added to the fact of being the basis and support of the heroism of the man she loved, as well as the issue of motherhood, make Medea a symbol of the oppression of women throughout history. , echoing recent theories about the female sex as the other side of the coin: liberation from the state of subjection.
It is extremely important to think about Medea’s resistance as a power of the feminine, as many stories were destroyed to silence. Medea’s story proposes that we end the maintenance of the machismo that places us women as a thing, a sexual object and a passive being. Medea incites, provokes and stresses us to be women… of the chariot of fire.
*Giselli Ribeiro is a cultural producer, specialist in Artistic Languages, Culture and Education at IFRJ and graduated in Visual Arts at UERJ