Discuss Medea and Oedipus in terms of self-destruction.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that both characters are constructed with a definite tinge of self- destruction.  Oedipus' relentless pursuit of the truth and the discarding of those who speak otherwise to him in his best interests would be representative of how his destruction is wrought by his own hands.  Medea's willingness to destroy Jason is one that knows no boundaries, even towards herself.  While both forms of destruction are evident, I see them a bit different.  On one hand, I think that Oedipus' self- destruction is less deliberate.  His pursuit of truth and his need to alleviate the pain of his citizens guides him, and while he dismisses Tiresias and his wife's insight, for example, I don't think that Oedipus expects that he is going to be so destroyed by the truth.  Medea has no illusions about her own vengeance.  As she carries on with her plan and as both Jason and the Chorus tell her that her path is going to bring her as much pain as anything else, she does not seem to care.  Medea seems to willingly embrace what is going to happen and her own destruction seems to be secondary to the hurt inflicted on Jason.