Missing in Medea: Looking for Glauce

So my sister and I are writing together this summer. We’ve written on and off prompt and shared some drafts and it’s been pretty great. Sometime last week, she sent a text reading:

You are a private investigator. You’ve been following a c heating husband for a month. Write a report to your client-an emotionally unstable wife-telling her what you did and what you learned. 

I would like to take this opportunity to say that when I skip off a prompt, I skip hard, which is what happened here, but I ended up drafting a poem anyway, so win!

I started thinking about cheating spouses and then I started thinking about famous couples in literature and my mind landed on Medea. This isn’t as random as it may sound. I teach a section of World Lit every other semester, so this past spring I was deep in this very play for a few weeks. I like Medea for a lot of reasons, but what it really comes down to is that I find the portrayal of women to be both fascinating and terrifying.

It would be fair at this point to make the assumption that maybe I drafted a poem about Medea, but that’s not what ended up happening, because as it turns out, there’s another woman I find even more interesting.

Glauce, Princess of Corinth, who is to marry Jason, turned out to be the subject of my poem. This woman, who dies at the hand Medea, for doing nothing other than what she is told, has no lines in the entire play. As a result, she is not listed in the list of characters nor is she really acknowledged in way other than from the words that come out of other character’s mouths. Incidentally, most of the characters who speak of her specifically, are male.

Whenever I teach this play, there’s always heated discussion about Medea as victim or perpetrator and my students always have interesting things to say about her, but no one ever speaks of the princess. It’s as if she is nothing more than a plot device

This is all to say, I started thinking about how Glauce may have felt upon seeing Jason and Medea and their boys arrive in Corinth. What would she know of Jason? Of Medea? Would she be afraid? Would she trust her father? Would she resent him? Would she admire Medea? Would Medea disgust her? Would Jason?

As a final note, after reading the play again, I surfed around online and was able to find several, beautiful, haunting depictions of Medea in classic art, but none, not a one of Glauce. Voiceless and faceless, this young woman who died wearing a dress made of gold.



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