Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Modern Translations Part 3 Medea "Burns My Soul" free lesson plan

A good activity for older students is to have them translate monologues from older plays like Shakespeare and Greek plays in to modern characters.

In this first modern version of Medea's monologue, compare it to the old version. Here is BURNS MY SOUL BY D. M. LARSON OF FREEDRAMA.NET


Oh my children, you have still a city and a home, where you can live far from me and my sad life. You will live your lives, apart from your mother forever; I must go away. I will no longer feel the joy you bring me. I will not to get to see your happiness, the great happiness of your marriage, your bride, or your wedding. I'm a victim of my own selfishness. So was there no point to raising you as my sons. Did I suffer for nothing? The cruel suffering of giving birth to you. Before I had hope, hope that you would care for me in my old age and be there for my death, laying me to rest with your loving hands. But even this dream is gone. I must face a life of bitterness and sorrow without you. Your eyes will never see your mother again. Why do you look at me that way, children? Why smile such sweet smiles? What am I going to do? I don't have the heart to do what I want to do when I see the happiness in your eyes. I want to take you with me. Why should I hurt you only to hurt your father? No, no, I will not do it. But how can I let my enemies escape punishment. I must do it. There's no other way. I can't let my feelings for you get in the way.

I will not fail. My heart begs me not to do it and let the children go. Spare them. They give me comfort when I am so far away, won't they? No, never will I hand over my children to them. They must die. I gave them life; now I will take it away myself. Their fate is sealed and there is no escape. Now I will say good-bye. My children, let your mother kiss you. You are so dear to me. You are such beautiful children and I want your happiness. But your father wants to take that from you. It's bittersweet holding you one last time. I will miss you. Go, leave me; I cannot look at you. My sadness overwhelms me. I finally understand the awful thing I am to do; but I burn inside and it's hard to think... hard to be logical... hard to be reasonable... when my anger burns my soul.

Now compare it to the original by Euripides:

MEDEA: O my sons! My sons! ye have a city and a house Where, leaving hapless me behind, without A mother ye for ever shall reside. But I to other realms an exile go, Ere any help from you I could derive, Or see you blest; the hymeneal pomp, The bride, the genial couch, for you adorn, And in these hands the kindled torch sustain. How wretched am I through my own perverseness! You, O my sons, I then in vain have nurtured, In vain have toiled, and, wasted with fatigue, Suffered the pregnant matron's grievous throes. On you, in my afflictions, many hopes I founded erst: that ye with pious care Would foster my old age, and on the bier Extend me after death--much envied lot Of mortals; but these pleasing anxious thoughts Are vanished now; for, losing you, a life Of bitterness and anguish shall I lead. But as for you, my sons, with those dear eyes Fated no more your mother to behold, Hence are ye hastening to a world unknown. Why do ye gaze on me with such a look Of tenderness, or wherefore smile? for these Are your last smiles. Ah wretched, wretched me! What shall I do? My resolution fails. Sparkling with joy now I their looks have seen, My friends, I can no more. To those past schemes I bid adieu, and with me from this land My children will convey. Why should I cause A twofold portion of distress to fall On my own head, that I may grieve the sire By punishing his sons? This shall not be: Such counsels I dismiss. But in my purpose What means this change? Can I prefer derision, And with impunity permit the foe To 'scape? My utmost courage I must rouse: For the suggestion of these tender thoughts Proceeds from an enervate heart. My sons, Enter the regal mansion. [Exuent SONS.] As for those Who deem that to be present were unholy While I the destined victims offer up, Let them see to it. This uplifted arm Shall never shrink. Alas! alas! my soul Commit not such a deed. Unhappy woman, Desist and spare thy children; we will live Together, they in foreign realms shall cheer Thy exile. No, by those avenging fiends Who dwell with Pluto in the realms beneath, This shall not be, nor will I ever leave My sons to be insulted by their foes. They certainly must die; since then they must, I bore and I will slay them: 'tis a deed Resolved on, nor my purpose will I change. Full well I know that now the royal bride Wears on her head the magic diadem, And in the variegated robe expires: But, hurried on by fate, I tread a path Of utter wretchedness, and them will plunge Into one yet more wretched. To my sons Fain would I say: "O stretch forth your right hands Ye children, for your mother to embrace. O dearest hands, ye lips to me most dear, Engaging features and ingenuous looks, May ye be blest, but in another world; For by the treacherous conduct of your sire Are ye bereft of all this earth bestowed. Farewell, sweet kisses--tender limbs, farewell! And fragrant breath! I never more can bear To look on you, my children." My afflictions Have conquered me; I now am well aware What crimes I venture on: but rage, the cause Of woes most grievous to the human race, Over my better reason hath prevailed.

Questions for students:

Which version did you like better? Why?

What is the character like in the modern version?

Is the character different or the same as the original version?

Select a line from each monologue that mean the same thing but are worded differently.

Does the new version capture the meaning of the original?

How did the modern version help you understand the original version?

Why might an older piece of writing like Euripides still be meaningful today?

Feel free to post your answers to these questions below and discuss!

Find more monologues at http://www.freedrama.net/small1.html

1 comment:

  1. I like the older version the best because it is more descriptive and shows more emotion and it is more meaningful. The character in the modern version is less compassionate and isn't as moving as the old version.
    Now I will say goodbye my children let your mother kiss you. Farewell sweet kisses, tender limbs farewell.
    The new version does capture the meaning of the old as it describes the older version language. As in ye, thou, etc. It helps you to understand how the character is feeling. An older piece may be meaningful today because it is more descript and historical and shows true deep emotion.