The Concept of the Tragic Hero: an Analysis of Jason and Medea in Euripides’ 'Medea’

1436 words 6 pages
In ‘Medea’, Euripides shows Medea in a new light, as a scorned woman that the audience sympathises with to a certain extent, but also views as a monster due to her act of killing her own children. The protagonist of a tragedy, known as the Tragic Hero is supposed to have certain characteristics which cause the audience to sympathise with them and get emotionally involved with the plot. The two main characters, Medea and Jason, each have certain qualities of the Tragic Hero, but neither has them all. This makes them more like the common man that is neither completely good nor evil, but is caught in the middle and forced to make difficult decisions.
Euripides’ ‘Medea’ is a play based on the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. The play was
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At the end of the play, Jason realises that Medea is evil, “Now I see it plain... you, an evil thing” (43) However, at no point in the play does he accept that he is also at fault for the children’s death by betraying her.
The aspect of the tragic hero that isn’t met at all by either character is a tragic demise. In the end, neither of them dies. Medea not only lives, but she escapes to Athens “in a chariot drawn by dragons” (43) Euripides has used this ending of the play to show a world where evil can escape without punishment while the innocent suffer. This is another place where his play is unlike a typical Greek drama, as usually someone such as the Gods or the Furies intervene for punishment. In this case, it is a God who helps her escape, “You will never touch me with your hand, such a chariot has Helius, my father’s father, given me to defend me from my enemies.” (43)
Jason is shown to be selfish and uncaring as in the beginning, while he is well off, he is willing to “put up with it that his children should suffer so” (3) and to let them live in exile. We see his hypocrisy when they are dead and he calls out “Oh, children I loved!” (46) Medea points this out “Now you would speak to them, now you would kiss them. Then you rejected them” (46)
This makes it easier to sympathise with Medea as she is consistent throughout and only acts this way because she

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