Revenge tragedy locates us in places of social and psychological tragedy

Essay by bl4d3High School, 12th grade February 2008

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"Revenge tragedy is usually based around a society which is corrupt and has multiple flaws. At a glance, all may seem well but the citizens and characters they know the truth. The central character would have unstable emotions and hate building up inside which inevitably leads to the central character's path for revenge. As a genre, revenge tragedy changes through time to fit in with society. Thus, revenge tragedy can be used by the writer to criticise society and question the views of the people. "Medea" a play by Euripides presents the audience a society with aspects of social and psychological tragedy.

The Athenian society in which "Medea" is set revolves around the concept where females and outsiders have little or no social status. Hence those living in this type of environment suffer from prejudice and emotional stress. In the beginning of the play Medea is under immense pressure and says:"Come, Zeus' bolt of lightning and pierce my head!What do I gain still by living?Alas,alas! May I find rest in death,Leaving this hateful life."Her

suicidal thoughts begin to build as she lives in an extremely underprivileged according to society. This represents Medea's emotional turmoil. The psychological tragedy is shown by using her background as indication of her nature. She comes from Colchis, stole the Golden Fleece, killed her brother, and is considered to be a barbarian.

The catalyst which provokes Medea to seek revenge is presented to us in the first episode when we find out that Jason is planning to marry the daughter of the king of Corinth. Medea becomes confused and says "they have dared to wrong me unprovoked."She is denied equal and fair justice as the society is dominated by men. Jason, a male who has social status reflects the typical Athenian society. He believes that...