In: KulturPoetik 2014, Heft 1


Mira Shah


Der erste Mord. Der Tod des Apsyrtos als Schlüsselmoment für moderne Interpretationen des Medea-Mythos: Jahnn, Pasolini, Wolf, Loher




Murderous Medea: following Euripides’ seminal tragedy countless authors and artists have depicted Medea as child-slaughtering outlaw and avenger. But the Medea myth is much more diverse and holds more depth than this. Medea’s career path as princess, magician, wife, mother and avenger opens with another abominable death: that of her brother Apsyrtos. This article focuses on how and why the death of Medea’s brother Apsyrtos has been examined and instrumentalised in modern adaptions of the myth by Hans Henny Jahnn, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Christa Wolf and Dea Loher. Whether Medea is guilty as charged but with sensible intentions to gain self-rule and show herself trustworthy, or innocent of crime or murder but stricken with guilt and alienation, her involvement in her brother’s death seems to hold the key to modern interpretations of antiquity’s different strands of the Medea myth and its adaptability to modern concerns of subjectivity and emancipation.