Discuss Medea as a Revenge Tragedy.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that there is much in the drama that makes it a revenge tragedy.  The act that Medea takes against Jason for his transgressions is revenge enough.  Yet, where I think that the revenge element is completely explored is that we are not entirely certain why she does what she does.  Revenge becomes the source of analysis, the origins of questions about both the character and the act.  If Medea is so incensed with Jason's infidelity and disloyalty, why does she target her own children?  Where is that line that allows wrath to overtake love?  When the Nurse tells us that she fears for the children because someone, anyone, is going to have to take the brunt of her scorn, the exploration of revenge as an element that knows no bounds becomes evident.  At the same time, I think that the revenge element is also brought out by the fact that the chorus seems to be encouraging Medea, suggesting that the true damage of revenge is that it becomes contagious.  In this light, revenge becomes almost sensationalistic, like the first Reality Television show, where individuals are perversely fascinated with the carnage about to unfold and not assuming the moral and ethical positions to prevent it.

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