However, the fact that Medea is willing to kill her children is what looses her the support of the chorus and she no longer becomes the tragic hero because a tragic hero falls from position of prosperity to a position of misfortune by a an unfortunate mistake on their behalf. Medea cannot here be seen as making a mistake for this is meticulously thought out, she has realised that the only true way that she can get revenge is if she ruins Jason and takes the one thing that really matters to him, his children. Though the Chorus may have supported Medea in the revenge on Glauce Jason’s new fiancée, the killing of one’s own children is morally intolerable. But the fact that Medea is more of the villain in this tragedy is due to the reputation that she has made for herself. We see Medea for the true character that she really is when the messenger arrives with the news that Creon and his daughter are dead. ’Your news is excellent. I count you from today my friend and benefactor……Tell me, how did they die? You’ll give me double the pleasure if their death was horrible’ (line 1128-1129). Here Medea shows no signs of remorse or regret for what she has done. Instead she listens intently while the messenger recollects the deaths of the father and daughter. Her Villainous character is set in cement when Medea murders her children. ‘Help, help! Mother, let me go! Mother, don’t kill us’……’Help, help, for god’s sake! She is killing us’ (lines 1273-1276). The cries of her children are so horrible that even the chorus who supported Medea can’t accept that what she has done is right. ‘O miserable mother, to destroy your own increase, Murder the babes of your body! Stone and iron you are, as you resolved to be’ (lines 1277-1280). Her vengeance is bloody and final, leaving Jason alone and pathetic at the play’s end as she flies off on her chariot to join Aegeus in Athens. This is the climax of the villainy of Medea and the reason why she can never herself be a tragic hero.
Jason is an example of a heroic character that is cast in an unheroic light. The attitude that he is depicted in is of an opportunistic who has absolutely no scruples; he is full of deception and nauseating smugness. He condescends to his wife, although she is in every way superior to him. A tragic hero gains insight through suffering and Jason does not realise that he has made a mistake betraying Medea until he has suffered.
Jason is a harsh character, but he not necessarily as harsh as we all see at a first glance. He is constantly trying to persuade the royal family to accept Medea but she is always ruining all her chances. ‘I have tried all the time to calm them down; but you would not give up these ridiculous tirades against the royal family’ (lines 456-458). At this point Jason is angry but it seems justified. He has given unnecessarily effort to help Medea and his children, and he continues to help her even though she refuses to help his advances. His continuous help, which never once ever alters the fate of his children, is wholly genuine. The main problem however with Jason is that he is stupid in the way that he handles things, he often has fair arguments for why he betrayed Medea but he puts them across in such patronising words that they would anger Medea and bring them back to the beginning of their feud. ‘If there is anything else I can provide to meet the children’s needs or yours, Tell me; I’ll gladly give whatever you want’ (line 609-611) this shows clearly the sincere care that he has for Medea and the children, but then he goes on to say ‘To refuse such help is mad’ (line 613). This serves no purpose accept from angering Medea and shows that Jason does not think before he speaks. But however Jason acts the attitude of Medea towards him is set in stone, and this is the real tragedy of the play. What drives Medea is the sheer sense of jealousy that Jason is with another woman, although Jason is driven mainly by selfish motives, he also manages to help the tragedy along. 'But if you women have reached a state where, if all's well with your sex-life, you've everything you wish for' (lines 570-571). Jason does not understand the implications of this statement, he is voicing Medea most feared thing, being laughed at by others, seen as a walk over. She could never bear to live in a place where she was laughed at; she would rather fulfil her plan and endure the suffering.
The more we see of Jason the more that we realise we are like him, making him the tragic hero because the tragic hero is one who is like us. It is too easy to dislike Jason because we are dismissing that he is doing things for a selfish motive as we do. So we see a transformation in the character of Jason from a despised one to one that you sympathise with, even though he may be a nasty character. Jason suffers far more a cruel punishment than you could ever expect, but he as a character feels that he has already paid her everything that he can, he has brought her to a civilised land, given her children, and made her sons fame, offering her money whenever she may need it. Jason does not deserve the punishment that he received he has done nothing out of the ordinary for the day in age.
Jason lacks any emotion until the last scene where we see him destroyed from the vengeance of Medea, the death of all those close to him, the refusal of the right to bury his children and the fact that he must die an unheroic death. For Jason his fame is everything, and this would be non –existent without that of the fleece and the Argonauts, it is just ironic that the person that won him that fame is the one that ruined him. 'The serpent that kept watch over the Golden Fleece... it was I who killed it' (lines 444-446). Once of the most extraordinary things about Jason throughout the whole play is that he refers to his children as Medeas, we automatically presume that he has no attachment to his children, it however is not until the end that he refers to them as his. 'What. Killed my sons? That word kills me' (lines 1310-1311). This is the most heartbreaking scene in the whole play and you can understand the pain and anger that Jason is feeling for he has lost everything where as Medea has gained everything.
Jason is broken and desperate at the end ‘For God’s sake let me touch there gentle flesh.’ (Line 403) and here we see the hero at his lowest point, after he has fallen from a position of power to a position of tragedy. Jason is a hero, even though he has no heroism left in him. Of course we can sympathise with Medea, there is no doubt that she must feel hurt and hard done by, but the fact that she murders her children will never make her hero for this is to morally unacceptable. The more we see of the argument for Jason, the more we can relate to Jason. He is arrogant, stupid and void of any emotions, but essentially a good, caring man who is looking out for his wife and children.