• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Tragic Heroes: Oedipus, Antigone, and Medea.

Extracts from this document...


Tragic Heroes: Oedipus, Antigone, and Medea Aristotle assigned specific traits, thereby defining the tragic hero of Greek drama, and plays such as Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Medea introduce three very different tragic heroes, which exhibit, for the most part, the characteristics described by Aristotle. The characters Oedipus, Antigone and Medea share qualities that make up a tragic hero: being of noble birth; being surrounded by an extraordinary circumstance, which spins out of control because of the hero's tragic flaw; gaining self-awareness or some kind of discovery through their downfall; and providing the audience with a sense of pity or fear. By examining the character Oedipus, one can see that he successfully carries all of the traits of a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle. Oedipus is of noble birth, being the child of King Laios and Queen Iokaste of Thebes, and after being saved from death by a Shepard, the King and Queen of Corinth, Polybos and Merope, took him in. By doing so, they keep Oedipus at a higher rank. ...read more.


Her quagmire occurs when, against the tenants of King Creon, she buries her brother Polyneices. In ancient Geece, this was considered to be Antigone's duty. The gods also mandated proper burial, but since Creon identified Polyneices as a traitor, burial is forbidden. He tells the people of Thebes that "...no one shall bury [Polyneices], no one morn for him, But his body must lie in the fields, a sweet treasure For carrion birds to find as they search for food" (108). Antigone gets caught in the act of burying her brother, and this marks the beginning of her downfall. Creon sentences her to be locked in a cave. His original decree would have had her stoned to death, but he revised this since Antigone is not only his niece, but also the fianc´┐Że of his son, Prince Haimon. She is left to die, apparently by suffocation or starvation; however, she hangs herself before Haimon can come to save her. In the case of Antigone, there is no apparent realization of wrongdoing. ...read more.


The Gods seem to condone what she has done. Like Oedipus, there is a discovery of wrongdoing; however, the audience reaction of this play seems to shift. At the beginning of the play, our sympathies are with Medea and what she has to go through, but in the end, we feel pity for Jason and how he is left with nothing. It is interesting that Medea who would normally signify a character of reproduction is turned into a seemingly anti-reproductive demon. Still, she fits within the tragic hero definition because she does finally discover her wrongdoing and how it leads to her downfall. Medea's life becomes miserable after she kills her own children and when she realizes she will never know love again. She is also devastated after being exiled from her home city, and she identifies her pain and suffering as a "broken heart." The Greek heroes Oedipus, Antigone and Medea share, in varying degrees, most of the qualities that make up a tragic hero: being of noble birth, being surrounded by an extraordinary circumstance, and gaining self-awareness or some kind or knowledge through their downfall, which, in some cases, helps audiences view them as sympathetic. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Antigone is a saint, whereas Medea is a devil incarnate" do you agree?

    4 star(s)

    To be honest I am not fully convinced by this, he doesn't make this offer until after Medea has been exiled and he no longer plans to give it (Q), even if he had planned to give his support he could of told Medea before he upped and left making

  2. "Euripides is not asking us [the audience] to sympathise with Medea..."

    - what she pursued was revenge, and the latter is far from synonymous to the former. The complexity of Medea is that there is no one 'villain' or 'hero'. It appears that Euripides has refused to hand either Jason or Medea the moral high ground.

  1. Social Historical Background - Antigone

    Poseidon and Hades received the sea and the underworld respectively. As Zeus was the king of Gods he was worshipped by all. Zeus was revered and respected for if he was not, he was known out of anger to throw bolts of lightning to the ground.

  2. In Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan, one of the main characters in the story, exhibits ...

    state I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; Till pride and worse ambition threw me down" (Book IV, line 37-40) As he sees the sun, he remembers how high he was in heaven until his pride and ambition brought him down.

  1. In Euripdes Play Medea

    enemy now, than weaken, then later pay with tears", even Glauce despite being the woman who Jason left Medea for, was

  2. The Tragic Hero

    in the situation and the ironies of fate, we come to expect the worst and would feel cheated if Haemon arrived at the last minute to rescue her, providing a happy but contrived conclusion. In tragedy things may not turn out as we wish, but we recognize the probable or

  1. What are the effects of the contradictory elements in the behavior of Blanche and ...

    She tries to explain this to Stella, but she does not believe her because of the illusion she had created and showed till that point. Stella is totally different and she lives in reality. Stella's standing up against Stanley proves her real approach to things, because she knows that she

  2. Cinderella - play script

    Minerva: Well you said to show him that there's more to me that mere beauty, so I thought I might recite a poem. Calliope: A poem? Minerva: What's wrong with that? Stepmother: Whatever you do girls you mustn't let the prince know how clever you are, men can't stand to be around smart women.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work