The Story of Creusa. Inspired by Medea by Euripides
|‘Creusa’s wedding gifts arrived, a gold coronet of leaves and a gorgeously embroidered and scented robe- all smeared by Medea with deadly poison’ – Heroes, Stephen Fry
‘Creusa could not wait to try them on in front of a mirror of polished bronze.’ – Heroes, Stephen Fry
‘[Jason] has married Glauce, Creon’s daughter. Poor Medea! Scorned and shamed, she raves, invoking every vow and solemn pledge that Jason made her, and calls the gods in witness…’- Nurse, Euripides’ Medea
Creusa, or Glauce, as she is often referred to, was a young bride. Being the young, vibrant and beautiful princess of Corinth, she knew her father, the great King Creon, would marry her away to a suitable candidate. She disliked it but silenced throughout her life she had little influence in the matter. To be truthful, upon her marriage to Jason, the Jason from the mythical and majestic Jason and the Argonauts legend, she knew in her hearts of hearts that her life would quickly cease. Of course, at the mere age of 14, she hadn’t led much of a life and believed a marriage to Jason would be better than marriage to just anyone. He had stories to tell and should be exciting. Perhaps, her life wouldn’t be too bad.
Reader, I must tell you now, Jason was already married to the former Princess of Colchis, Medea. Now, Medea was part-divine as the sun-Titan Helios was her grandfather, and she was an avid supporter of Hecate, the goddess of magic, which I shouldn’t have to tell you, made her a witch. With the gods on her side and her consuming revenge on Jason for not just breaking her vow of marriage but breaking his oath to Zeus that he would love Medea forever, all the fortune went to Medea. Essentially, she was corrupted by revenge against Jason, translating into her desire to kill his new bride. Good, now that nasty exposition is out of the way, let’s continue Creusa’s story.
Creusa was two days away for what would be her death at the hands of Medea. Of course, Medea would kill the innocent young bride and not her devious, betraying excuse of a husband…Apologies, my dear reader, I became too emotional. Rest assured; Medea cannot harm me.
Creeping to spy on Jason and Medea, Creusa hid behind the wall displaying the Titanomachy. ‘My Hades’ she thought, Medea was quivering with undisguised rage. Confused, Creusa slid down the wall, her back pressing against the cold depiction of ancient war the only thing stabilising her. Medea must be bitter about Jason leaving her and the children to serve his ambition, she thought. Wise beyond her years, the girl knew Medea would do anything to enact her revenge. This was known throughout Corinth, after all she caused her brothers’ death to escape with Jason, making her callous. More than this, there was Medea’s divinity and witchery to be wary of. Fortunately, Creusa was told bedtime stories about the roaring power of divinity by her nurse; once a mortal is tied to it, they will be forever. Medea was unstoppable; she had Zeus on her side. Creusa took a breath, thought, and realised something. She would be a wife and Queen in name only, the more she let Medea’s words to Jason wash over her the more her certainty grew. This man would not be respectful, not that any men were to her, but still. Her eyes grew level and her head rose as she exhaled with defiance. If she continued down her path, she would have to remain inside and be a dutiful wife. This was not Creusa, and nor should it be, readers, Creusa was energetic, lively, and intelligent. More than that, she didn’t want to play the role of a woman. I’m spelling it out for you, my dear, but I need you to know Creusa was a good woman and could have led the Amazons if she had been born to their land. As it were, her chances of independence were zero.
This was her realisation:
To live free would be a dream
To not have to seam and croon,
To speak her mind, to scream
To gleam a good future
To be able to dream
Of a simple future.
This was her problem. She could not see a future she wanted. A future possible and within the grasp of her fate was non-existent. As she crept to her room, she made a decision.
A decision. One simple decision.
A collision of thoughts, she could sequester away.
To Sparta to be a warrior! If only!
Or she could run and make all of them pay.
But that wasn’t Creusa’s way and
she was tired of all the misery she knew was coming,
resigned to her future, unable to change anything
without the will of the gods. That lucky Medea
doesn’t know how good she has it, but would the pit
be worth it?
Submiss to her death by the hands of her predecessor
maybe she’ll be pushed onto a hearth, or
she’ll scream by a backhand, or
be poisoned by a robe, ha, that’s more likely by a witch.
She only bears hope, it won’t be painful and a… ha,
what word rhymes with ‘witch’?
Two days later, she acted upset at the arrival of Medea’s children to her room and turned the other cheek, before her husband reprimanded her.
‘You must not be unfriendly to our friends. Turn your head round and give up feeling angry. Those your husband loves you must love too. Now take these gifts…’
Jason's words served only to make her more certain, yet her face remained a picture of serene beauty. The gifts from Medea, Creusa suspected, were to be her murder weapon. She bit back a sigh at how obvious Medea was making it, and hoped the woman would reach safe sanctuary. The embroidered gown and golden coronet highlighted her beauty. Giving a last smile to her lifeless form in the glowing mirror, she collapsed. The Fates cut her thread of life, whilst her soul was whisked to Elysium.
My dear reader, here is Creusa’s death scene. I won’t describe it in intricate gruesome detail like Euripides does in his tragedy Medea. I won’t talk about the white froth oozing from her lifeless lips tinged with a sickly blue. I won’t talk about her eyes popping. I won’t. Ah, I did, didn’t I? Well, not into Euripides style detail. Besides, my darling, your narrator is the King and God of the Underworld. The Majestic Hades. So, what can you expect from dear old me?
P.S. Remember Creusa, the only victim of one of the most intense marriage squabbles in my history. She made her own way out and should not be forgotten. Interpret the myth your way, my jewel, but give Creusa a voice in your mortal retellings. She’s a good friend of mine.