The Most Tragic Character in Medea by Euripides

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The Most Tragic Character in Medea by Euripides

Medea is the story of an estranged woman who wishes to seek revenge on

her husband (who has left her for another woman) by poisoning his new

wife. This, however, is made more difficult when the King of the land,

Creon, tells Medea to leave, mainly because he is scared of her. She

appeals to him for one more day to sort things out, and uses

persuasion by making him feel pity for her when she says "This one day

let me stay, to settle some plans for my exile…since their own father

is not concerned to help them. Show some pity: you are a father

too…their fate is very hard".

Medea tells the Chorus, a group of women from Corinth that this one

day is all she needs to get her revenge.

Jason visits Medea and offers to give her money for her and her sons

but she proudly refuses it. He leaves, feeling smug that he has what

he wants.

Aegeus, king of Athens and old friend of Medea's, enters. Aegeus is

childless. Medea tells him of her problems, and asks for shelter in

Athens. She offers to help him to have a child as she has detailed

knowledge of drugs and medicines. Aegeus eagerly agrees. If Medea can

reach Athens, he will protect her. Medea makes the old king vow by all

the gods, which in Ancient Greece meant a promise that would never

ever be broken.

Medea decides to kill Jason's new wife and his father-in-law, (who is

in fact the King, Creon) by sending poisonous gifts. She then also

tells the chorus of her plans to kill her children for two reasons.

Firstly to hurt Jason, and secondly so they would not be killed by the

followers of Creon when they find out he is dead.


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...fferent kind: dangerous to my

enemies, Loyal to my friends."

Finally, Medea, at the end of the play has killed her own sons,

something that is not only tragic, but somewhat disturbing. In modern

times she may be perceived to be unstable, but perhaps all this

tragedy in her life has caused her to act in such a way. She is left

completely alone by the end of the play; no husband, no family, no

children, and her friends probably do not wish to speak to her. For

this reason I believe Medea to be the most tragic character. She will

be alone for the rest of her life because of her own actions.

Throughout time it has been said that human emotions are such that

they can lead us to commit atrocities. This is certainly true to

Medea's case. Through her actions dire consequences have come about

for her and those around her.
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