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'A Simple Girl’?: Medea in Ovid Heroides 12


Davis, PJ, 'A Simple Girl'?: Medea in Ovid Heroides 12, Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature, Vol. 41, (1-2) pp. 33-49. ISSN 0048-671X (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© Aureal Publications 2012

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0048671X00000242


For Homer’s Circe the story of Argo’s voyage was already well known.2 Although we cannot be sure that the Odyssey’s first audience was aware of Medea’s role in Jason’s story, we do know that by the time that Ovid came to write Heroides, she had already appeared in numerous Greek and Latin texts, in epic and lyric poetry and on the tragic stage.3 Given her complex textual and dramatic history, it seems hardly likely that any Ovidian Medea could actually be ‘a simple girl’. And yet precisely this charge of ‘simplicity’ has been levelled against Heroides 12 and its fictive author.4 I propose to argue that the Medea of Heroides 12 is complex, not simple, and that her complexity derives from the fact that Ovid has positioned his elegiac heroine between past and future,5 guilt and innocence, epic and tragedy.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Homer, literacy, criticism
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Latin and classical Greek literature
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Davis, PJ (Professor Peter Davis)
ID Code:121889
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-10-19
Last Modified:2017-12-14

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