5 page paper Greek tragedy: tragic flaws

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Question Description

Concept Hamartia ( tragic error, flaw, or missing the mark) and its centrality to Greek Tragedy. A great character is “brought low” on account of a single flaw in his or her nature. Choose one of the following characters and explain what do you think that person’s hamartia is using AT LEAST 7 DIRECT QUOTES from the play in question.

Medea in Medea by Euripides

Oedipus in Oedipus the King or Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

Electra in Electra by Euripides

Pentheus in the Bacchae by Euripides

Thyestes in Thysestes by Seneca

In the second part of your essay, you should identify what moral resonance the tragic flaw you have identified might have had for Athenian society in the 5th Century BCE (or with Rome under Nero if you choose Thyestes). What lessons could the Athenians/ Romans have drawn from seeing such a character destroyed? Are these lessons still applicable in our society today? Can you think of a modern historical person or character who exhibits a similar tragic flaw? How is tragedy perceived differently in contemporary society? Can “tragic heroes” still be instructive to us today? If you write about Seneca, remember that he was living in Roman Times, so the historical factors he was dealing with were slightly different.

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School: Rice University

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Running head: GREEK TRAGEDY


The Greek Tragedy: Tragic Flows


The Character of Medea

Medea in Euripides is a character with two faces, and one is seen when things are good
while the other character is recognized when the things in life are going not as expected.
Euripides has made a significant step in showing all the two characteristics that are in Medea,
and his purpose is to show the theme of Hamartia. Hamartia is when a flaw in the character of an
individual brings them down and ruins them making people see another character in them that is
scary and unimagined by anyone. Medea in this play has been portrayed to be the one woman of
many attributes and a noble character. She is the loving wife that is committed to her marriage
and her family more than anything. She was committed to her household and her husband so
much that she sacrificed all that she had to ensure that he was safe. “She, poor lady, hath by sad
experience learned how good a thing it is never to quit one's native land.” She has been seen and
known by people in the city as a strong woman with a strong love and dedication to her family
and her husband.
Euripides has also been able to show forth her nobility and usefulness to the society as a
woman with a gift of divining or prophesying into the future or the lives of the people. All this
made up the woman to be someone that the community respected and cherished because of her
talents and nobility of character. Like any other individual in life, flaws are part of lives of many
people and some of the flaws that come or spring up in lives of people turn them out of course
and change their course of lives. Hamartia in the life of Medea is evident when she is pushed to
the limit. When things are going out of control, and nothing seems working in her favor. She had
never loved or been in love before she married Jason, and when they got married she was at the
top, and she gave her whole self to that relationship.
The Hamartia of Medea



Medea had a flaw in her character that was a time bomb waiting to explode when the
right trigger was pressed. She had many flows that she was not aware of and the limit to which
they would go when things went against her expectation. Her flaw was not one thing but a series
of things that led to a sudden change in character and eventually the whole person. She had the
problem of unbalanced emotions, and she could not take bad news or difficulty in any easy way.
In the story, she was seen as the loving and strong wife who sacrificed a lot for her husband and
was willing to go any height to protect him and his interest. Because of her unbalanced emotions,
she invested all her love in Jason even to the point of running away from home to be with him.
Besides that, she went on from unstable emotions to passionate jealousy when she found out that
the man she had given up everything to be with was no longer in love with her but in love with
another woman. That’s when she burned with rage and hot anger which led her to kill her and
burn her bones while watching them burn with ...

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Thanks, good work

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