Zoé Schweitzer
Zoé Schweitzer.

Zoé Schweitzer is Maître de conferences at Saint-Etienne University since 2009. Her PhD in comparative literature was dedicated to the different Medea written for stage from Renaissance to Enlightenment (Sorbonne University, 2006), she published several articles on this subject and a translation in French from a rare Italian Medea written by Maffeo Galladei (1558). Her researches are about tragic theatre from this period and late XXth century.


According to mythologists as well as famous Latin theoretician Horace, Medea is defined by the infanticide accomplished before leaving Corinth and this episode should not be changed unless a risk of lacking verisimilitude. But at the same time, according to social and psychological verisimilitude, motherhood and inner maternal love forbid a mother to accomplish anything against her child(ren). These requirements may seem incompatible and nevertheless Medea never had such an important success on European stage than during this period. How can Medea still be Medea?

I would like to answer this question by analyzing different solutions imagined by European playwrights (English, French and Italian) and commentaries made by Latin and Greek Translators from this period, crossing different approaches (gender, comparatist in particular). My hypothesis is that even if violence is reduced, sometimes apparently evacuated, to satisfy this double – and contradictory – conception of verisimilitude by ingenious theatrical solutions, another form of violence may appear, more discreet, and maybe also more disturbing than the former one (Glover, Coupé).