chapter  6
Changing Perceptions: Medea as Paradigm of the Ideal Marriage
ByEkaterini Kepetzis
Pages 14

This chapter addresses the medieval and early modern interpretations of the myth in order to explain why marriage became an important aspect of the story. These texts, not the Greek and Roman sources, were the primary models for depicting the Medea myth in art. They are intertwined with the attitude of early modern society towards love and marriage in general. The chapter highlights the paradigm shifts leading to the breach of this tradition during the eighteenth century with the focus on de Troy's cycle of paintings. The first major appearance of Medea in the Middle Ages occurs in Benoît de Sainte-Maure's Roman de Troie. However, during the eighteenth century the tradition of interpreting classical mythology, history and religion as allegories directly related to the present became questionable. Moreover, classical originals increasingly replaced the later moralizing texts.