The mortal Medea, as described in Wikipedia, does not appear to characterize the lines in Alexander Pope's Dunciad:

As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,

The sick'ning stars fade off th' ethereal plain.

It's the use of the word strain and its multiple meanings that suggests there could have been another aspect of Medea known only to the poet, or there was another meaning of the word back in 1728.
Is strain her willing, or is she singing some dread dirge? Her herbal medicines were mostly of a "beneficial" nature, but could she be straining the stars (her enemies?) into some kind of poisonous concoction?

  • It's interesting that Medea's patron was Helios (the deus ex machina in her play.) I wonder if the fading of the stars could have something to do with sunrise... Pure speculation, mind you.
    – DukeZhou
    Jan 14, 2019 at 21:26


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