Is Medea a tragic hero?

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Medea is a tragic hero. She is generally considered to fit in this category because she embodies the primary characteristics of such a hero. Medea has valid motives for her actions but is brought down by events beyond her control. In addition, she has a tragic flaw that she cannot overcome. The combination of fate and this character flaw make it so that the situation she sought to remedy ends badly.

In this story, the situation she cannot control is caused by her husband’s sexual desire, which leads to his infidelity. Medea had helped Jason when he desperately needed help, but he has not repaid her loyalty. Because of his betrayal with another woman and his abandonment of their children, Medea feels jealous, desperate, and forsaken. Furthermore, his new wife’s father, a powerful king, banishes her and the children. These combined circumstances not only spur her desire for revenge but make her unbearably distraught. Losing her ability to rationally resolve the problem, she resorts to poisoning and murder. While the death of her replacement in Jason's affection might be understandable, her killing of her children is a truly tragic outcome.

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