• 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. "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.

  2. The Effects of Pride and Power

    threat to exile and kill, that was the only sure way in his blind mind that these obstacles in his way, to being a perfect supreme king, were to be ridden of. This proves that Oedipus's values are his powers over the people and not really the safety of his people, what it should be.

  1. Portrayal of society in "Oedipus the King" and "Antigone"

    The preoccupations of the Athenians are also reflected in the play. During the fifth century B.C. when Sophocles wrote the play great changes were taking place in Athens.

  2. Oedipus, The Tragic Hero.

    It seems strange to the reader that Oedipus is not more careful about what he does. For example, when he killed king Laois at the crossroads, he should have realised with the oracle in mind that anybody he kills is likely to be his father.

  1. Cinderella - play script

    Queen: Yes dear. Prince: (waltzing) You know I have the funniest feeling I've met you somewhere before. Cinderella: Well I'm sure I would remember Prince: Was it last summer at the lake? Cinderella: No I can't swim Prince: Then it must have been last winter, at the lodge Cinderella: Up in the mountains?

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

    Book Four of Paradise Lost is a good example. It begins with Satan's only soliloquy of the epic. As he awakes in Hell, he stares up at the sun and begins to speak; "Oh Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what

  1. Social Historical Background - Antigone

    A society at war As "Antigone" was being created a war was unfolding in the Peloponnese area. This was occurring as a result of a long dispute between the alliances of Sparta and Athens. Thebes was one of Sparta's allies, thus was against Athens.

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

    She is very concerned about the status her family has had. She thinks she is the only savior of the status that her family has had. She assumes that, that by doing this she would be doing something heroic but she is mistaken as she as we see later in

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