Interesting interpretation by Suzie Miller:
We have two women in the original version – Medea who becomes the crazy monster, and Glauce who is the virginal innocent, and who in the Euripides’ play has no voice whatsoever; not a single line. I wanted to find the character of each of these women, and have them confront and manipulate each other. In the time of the Greeks a woman had to take power from others, and to do so required skills, strategies and hard, strong decision-making.
The character of Medea is so much more than that of a spurned wife, and my exploration hopes to highlight her passion and drive, her anger at being betrayed not only as a woman but more importantly as Jason’s partner and co-conspirator in their joint empire building. What would Claire Underwood do if Frank Underwood betrayed her stake in the empire they too are building?
The eternal stumbling block though is always the fact that Medea kills her children. She kills her kids! Even if an audience member can sympathise with the passionate power building woman, they always balk at this act, and so too they should. Euripides has her do this terrible deed for revenge and revenge only, but in doing such a dreadful act as a means of merely punishing Jason, Euripides undermines everything about Medea. Dare I say, Euripides might have gotten it wrong?
What if she was the greater thinker, the one with greater foresight who saw what would happen to her boys? For these children by virtue of being Jason’s first sons will surely be a threat Jason and Glauce’s future sons’ inheritance of the throne. In my version it is only Medea who sees this, and Glauce herself confirms it to be so. The boys are doomed from the moment Jason made his new alliance. Ironically it is Medea’s very love for those boys that increases her fury at Jason, her anger at him for letting them all down so very much, and her fury that he refuses to see he has doomed his own children.
However things are never quite so clear-cut, and, for this character-obsessed playwright, there is no denying the competing elements within a person’s nature, and Medea, despite her great political skills, is a passionate woman driven to punish Jason as well as to protect her boys. When that passion overrides her cool sense of judgement and Medea makes the slightest miscalculation, then by inadvertently underestimating the smallest of elements, everything comes tumbling down.
While her boys were always doomed — it now becomes this very day that their lives are most at risk. What does a loving mother do? Watch them tortured and dismembered? Or take actions into her own hands? In this context I would argue that her last terrible deed in the killing of her children is explicable as an act of love — and the action of a strong, brave woman and mother.