n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Conflict and emotion in Medea's 'irrational' dream (A.R. 3.616-35)

Volume 53, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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This article combines a literary analysis of Medea's dream (A.R. 3.616-35) in terms of Homeric models with a consideration of developments taking place in post-Homeric dream theory. Nausicaa's dream is generally considered the primary influence for this passage, but Medea's psychological characterization owes a great deal more to Penelope and her conflicted emotional state. As an adaptation of Penelope's psychological dilemma, Medea's dream is grounded in the originally Platonic notion that an irrational disposition can cause shameful dreams. The influence of this idea on Apollonius most likely came through a Stoic channel and enabled Medea to be presented negatively in terms of specific irrational passions. Medea's dream should thus not be thought of as inspired by the gods in the strict Homeric sense but as a manifestation of her brewing passion, which enables the gods to intervene indirectly.

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