Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The Dawn Palace retells the classic Greek story of Medea and Jason from Medea’s point of view, thus making her the heroine. The story also provides a commentary on the difficulties confronting a strong, intelligent woman trying to maintain her identity in a male-dominated world. Deserted by her mother when she is three, Medea is told by her father, King Aeetes of Colchis, that her mother died, a statement that she learns is a lie when she secretly removes the death mask from the corpse that is supposed to be her mother’s. Trained by Circe to become a priestess, Medea also becomes a gifted healer by the time that she is ten years old. Circe instills in her the desire to become a lifelong learner, a role that she fulfills admirably but that gives her a range and depth of knowledge that makes some people suspect her of being a witch.

Largely ignored by her father and without her mother, Medea grows up lonely and longing for love. When Jason arrives in Colchis searching for the Golden Fleece, Medea instantly falls in love with him, helps him complete the seemingly impossible tasks that Aeetes requires him to accomplish before he can have the fleece, and runs away with Jason when he leaves Colchis with the fleece. Medea sincerely believes Jason’s oath that he will marry her and always love her, in spite of warnings from Atalanta and Hercules that Jason is a calculating adventurer concerned only with meeting his own goals by whatever means he...

(The entire section is 538 words.)