Medea jugoslava – Danka Dutina – Stratagemmi 23





Yugoslavian Medea


Euripides’ Medea, the mysterious powerful magician and child-killing mother, has always been subject of numerous literary and artistic interpretations, as it touches universal issues of current relevance, such as vengeance, rebellion, the hate for and the fear of the other, the tragedy of the exiled, opportunism, exasperated ambitions. Interestingly, the lands from which the mythological mission of the Argonauts departed are the same lands where, after a series of non-democratic regimes and internecine wars, the archetype of Medea flourished immensely in literature, especially in theatre. With the evolution of the Yugoslavian geopolitical situation – from a belle epoque of sorts (but limited by a communist authoritarian regime), through the tragedy of the wars of the 90s followed by an extremely difficult period of transition, to the current state of affairs that couldn’t be further from ideal – the image of Medea evolved as well. There is a multitude of Medeas: the rebel, the warrior, the exiled, the immigrant, the stateless, the different one, the betrayed, the disenchanted, but also the one that rejects from the very beginning her tragic fate by refusing to link her life with Jason’s. Therefore, why does the Yugoslavian Medea, in all of her incarnations a strong woman that is mistress of her own destiny, do what she does? The following essay sets out to answer the above question by the means of a chronological analysis of particularly relevant theatrical pieces situated in their historic, cultural and geopolitical context.