Medea and Hedda Gabler

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The materialistic wants of people often lead them to act in imprudent ways. This is especially true in the cases of Jason and George Tesman, main characters from the plays of Medea and Hedda Gabler, who display the folly of blindly adhering to aesthetic standards. (In this essay, an aesthetic standard is the placement of value on worldly goods and sensationalistic feeling). Acting on such a standard creates a tunnel vision that limits one’s thoughts and prevents one from seeing anything other than that which is directly beneficial. This tunnel vision inhibits Jason and George Tesman from perceiving reality as it is and holds them captive to their own specious view of events. Furthermore, it negatively affects their lives as well as those of others. As seen through the characters of Jason and George Tesman, aesthetic standards can lock one’s mind into a box with no key. The play Medea opens with the revelation that Jason, a Greek explorer, has left his wife Medea for another woman. This infidelity is the primary example of Jason’s distorted principles and symbolizes the strong influence aesthetic standards have over his life. One needs only to read Jason’s debate with Medea to understand Jason’s blindness. While on his quest for the golden fleece, an event that occurred prior to the play, Jason sought Medea’s help to vanquish obstacles that impeded his wanted goal. When Medea mentions this incident during their dispute, Jason replies: “My view is that Cyprus was alone responsible of men and gods for preserving my life. You are clever enough-…but on this question of saving me, I can prove you have certainly got more from me than you gave” (Euripides 17). Jason is so overcome by his own emotions that he stoically believes a lie to ... ... middle of paper ... ...esman’s failure to recognize Hedda’s devilish character, there is not even a manuscript acknowledging the life of Eilert Lovborg. This can all be attributed to the fact that George was subject to whimsical emotional desires. The blinding power of aesthetic standards is a defining, if not clearly visible, theme in both the plays of Medea and Hedda Gabler. Both the authors, Euripides and Ibsen, bring the subject to a new light through the characters of Jason and George Tesman. Although the plays were written for people of a certain era, their message is timeless. The act of impulse must be replaced by the thought of careful understanding, a lesson one can take into reality from tales of fiction. Works Cited Euripides. Medea. Trans. Rex Warner. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1993. Ibsen, Henrik. Hedda Gabler. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1990
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