Is Medea a Tragic Hero?
Medea should be considered a tragic hero. Medea is a Princess
so she has a noble birth. Medea has an admirable character because she
loves her children and Jason. Jason cheating on her brings about her peripeteia.
Her hamartia is that she loves Jason to passionately. Medea’s
anagnorsis is before she kills her children. Medea realizes that what she is doing
is wrong, but her tragic flaw overcomes her, so she needs to act upon
Medea is admirable because she is a strong, loving woman. Medea
loves her children, and Jason more than anything in the world. “ I
poisoned the great serpent and got you the Golden Fleece and fled with
you, and killed my brother.” (Medea, Act I, lines to 293-4). Medea helped Jason claim his inheritance and
throne by retrieving the Golden Fleece. She is willing to do anything
to make Jason happy. Jason leaves her for another woman anyway.
Jason abandoning her and the children brings about Medea’s peripeteia, or reversal of fortune. Jason is selfish, and wants to raise his
social standing. He marries the King’s beautiful young daughter, and
allows the King to banish Medea. Medea has done so much for Jason, and
his betrayal destroys her.
hamartia, or flaw, is that she is willing to do anything to get her revenge on
Jason. Medea is so blinded by hate and rage that she kills Jason’s
new wife, the King and both of her own children. Medea says “ I have
done it: because I loathed you more than I loved them. Mine is the
triumph.” (Medea, Act II lines 326-327).
is when she realizes the truth of her tragic situation. Medea
started her life as a strong, powerful woman. She was struck by
Cupid's bow so she had no choice but to fall in love with Jason. She
lost control of her life because of her great love for Jason. Medea's
moods are all over the place sounding hopeless at first, “The people
of my race are somewhat rash and intemperate. As for me, I want simply
to die.” (Medea, Act I, Lines 116-7). Later in the play Medea shows
how shrewd she really is when she says, “But you know all that. And
besides we are women most helpless for the good, but skilled craftsmen
of all that is evil.” (Medea, Act I Lines 407-9). She had a sudden,
powerful recognition once Jason abandoned her that her love for him
was far deeper than his love for her. The gods are on Medea's side
because they sent her a chariot pulled by dragons to allow her to
The definition of the tragedy is a drama that illustrates the
sudden and catastrophic fall of a great person from fortune to
misfortune. In many ways, Medea does contribute to this idea of the
person that falls from fortune to misfortune. Medea is a Princess of
Colchis. She helps Jason through difficult trials because she believes
her heart is on fire with passionate love for him. The story is a
tragedy because it produces catharsis from the audience towards
marriage, the female position in Greek society and towards the
treatment of foreigners in Greek society. Medea complains loudly about
her relationship with Jason and her treatment as a foreigner to
produce catharsis from the audience. Her tragic flaw, a
characteristic in most Greek tragedies, is her passionate love for
Jason. Like many tragic heroes, Medea is not completely good or evil.
From a male perspective Medea's actions of killing her children would
make Medea evil. From a female perspective Medea is neither
responsible or at fault for killing her children. The larger question
is about Medea achieving agnorsis. Medea meets the majority of
the requirements to be a tragic hero even though she never dies or
gains a deep knowledge from the events that happen to her. Some people
argue that Medea is not a tragic hero because she killed her own
children. Medea has all five qualities of a tragic hero. The audience
of this play has an emotional response bringing about their katharsis.
Medea was a strong woman before she met Jason. The gods saved her by
allowing her escape so Medea can be a strong character again in her
new home, Athens.
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