Two Tragic Heroes Are Better Than One In many Greek tragedies, there will be one tragic hero and one tragic hero only. However, in Euripides’ drama Medea there are two tragic heroes within one story. One of these heroes is who the play is titled after, Medea. The other tragic hero is Medea’s ex-husband and father of her children, Jason. To be classified as a tragic hero, a character must present certain qualities such as, a royal status (king, queen, princess, prince etc. ), an extraordinary power (wisdom, compassion, strength etc. ), a fall from grace based on the hero’s own actions, and finally acceptance of their istake or mistakes.Order now
Medea and Jason’s family history, impressionable characteristics, downward spiral caused by their own blunders, and their willingness to expect their wrongdoings in the end, portrays them both as tragic heroes. Medea is a powerful but vicious woman whose own actions cause her to fall from the pedestal that she has been living upon her whole life. She comes from a prestigious background as she is the daughter of King Ae?©tes of Colchis. Not only is she a princess, Medea is also a sorceress. This allows her to use magical powers on herself and on others around her.
Medea’s downward spiral begins because of her attachment to Jason and her insistent need of extracting revenge against her former love. Her desire for Jason becomes so intense at one point that Medea ends up slaughtering and dismembering her own brother in order to allow Jason to escape from the king. Medea catering to Jason’s needs before her own was Just the beginning of her downfall. Jason repaid Medea for her bravery by leaving her and their kids for another woman. This causes Medea to feel unwanted, embarrassed, and tremendously hurt so she concocts a scheme to obtain retribution on Jason.
Her endeavor only intensifies her unenviable fate as Medea ends up executing Jason’s new bride, the bride’s father, and her own two children. While Jason played a role in Medea’s downfall, her own actions are what caused the final blow. Medea was the one to send the poison to the princess, knowing that it would kill her and possibly her father. “The best method is the most direct, the one which I have a special skill- I’ll murder them with poison” (l. 452-5). Medea was the one who stabbed the sword through both of her children’s bodies, knowing it would kill them. IVe made up my ind, my friends. I’ll do it- kill my children now, without delay, and flee this land. I must not hesitate” (1. 1457-58). The reasoning behind Medea’s murderous plot is simple, she felt Jason deserved to have everyone he loves taken away from him the way he took Medea’s love, pride, and dignity. Medea also has self-knowledge of the situation and her actions. “But I’m treading an agonizing path, and send my children on one even worse” (1. 1268-69). In this passage, Medea is having a conversation with herself debating whether or not to murder her children.
This direct quote is Medea’s ay of acknowledging that the path she has chosen for herself is not a simple one and the path she is forcing her children to follow is dangerous, awful, and unfortunate for them. In another instant, Medea struggles immensely with following tnrougn on actually commlttlng tne crime 0T executlon to ner cn110ren “Don’t play coward. Don’t remember now how much you love them, how you gave them life. For this short day forget that they are your children- and mourn them later. Although you kill them, still you loved them (1. 1468-72).
This further proves that Medea has self- wareness of her crimes and that she accepts that what she is about to commit is wrong. However, even though Medea is aware that her actions are wrong, this does not change her mind and she ends up murdering her children anyways. Even though Medea has a king as a father, magical powers, and intelligence, her obsession with Jason leads her to her own tragic fate. While Jason has had to fight through hard times before, it is his own doing that leads him to his appalling destiny. Jason was the son of Aeson who was the king of lolcus, making Jason a prince.
He started off ompanionate and even helped Hera who was disguised as an elderly woman cross a river. However, his compassion slowly dwindled after he met Medea. Soon after landing in Corinth, Jason left his wife and kids for a younger bride. However, Jason feels he did not commit this act out of spite for his old wife, but out of concern for her and their son’s well-being. “On the point that irks you, it’s not the case I hate our marriage bed, overcome with lust for some new bride, nor am I keen to rival other men in the number of many children” (1. 658-62). “The most important thing for us to o is to live well and not in poverty… 1. 654-5). While Jason may have portrayed his actions as a sacrifice for his family, everyone else saw them as a despicable crime to commit against his wife and children. While Jason is arrogant, he did not fully deserve the punishment he received from the hands of Medea. He cared about his children even before Medea had slaughtered them by wanting to take care of them and make sure they would help rule over Corinth one day. “With the God’s help, IVe made a secure provision for you. At some future date, you’ll be leaders here, in Corinth, alongside your new brothers (1. 1075-78). He He also agrees to try to convince the king to keep the children out of exile. Medea tells him, mfou could tell your wife to ask her father not to send the children into exile. ” Jason responds by saying, “A good idea. I think I can persuade her (1. 1107-09). At the end of the play, Jason shows his true colors towards his children as he starts to feel immense sorrow because of their death. “How I wish I’d never been a father and had to see you kill my children (1. 1681-82). This quote shows that Jason would rather be childless and not ave any chance of being able to carry on his family line than to witness his children get murdered. At least it was not my hand that killed them” (1. 1625). Jason acknowledges in his own way that the death of his children is because of his actions on Medea, even though he does feel the blood belongs on Medea’s hands alone. Both Medea and Jason are full of characteristics that make them tragic heroes. They both come from a royal background and possess some type extraordinary power, Medea being a sorceress and Jason being compassionate and clever. However, they both have acquired fatal flaws that end up creating their fate.
Medea has too much compulsion for revenge on Jason that she ends up murdering her own children, and Jason becomes too blinded by the possibility of never ending riches that he trades one family in for another. If Medea did not seek revenge on Jason, she never would have “needed” to murder anyone or never would have been exiled from her country. If Jason did not leave Medea for someone else, she never would have tried to seek revenge on nvm ana Ill K tnelr cn110ren wnlle Jason ana Medea try to polnt Tlngers at each other for their downfalls, they both have themselves entirely to blame for their own demise.