Consider Medea as a Revenge Tragedy

Question: Consider Medea as a Revenge Tragedy.


“Medea” (431 BC) is a tragedy written by the classic tragedian Euripides (480 – 406 BC). It is based on the subject of the conflict between man and woman. Revenge is one of the important features in the tragedy “Medea”. Sundry points of view make it a revenge tragedy.

Definition of revenge tragedy

“Revenge tragedy” is the outcome of adding two words. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, revenge means “harm done to someone as a punishment for harm that they have done to someone else.”

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Tragedy means “a very sad event or situation, especially one involving death or suffering.” So, revenge tragedy is a tragedy in which a counter-attack will be shown after an attack.


Oppression is the main feature of a revenge tragedy. There can be different kinds of oppression such as psychological, physical, financial oppression. In this tragedy, Medea has been oppressed by her husband, Jason’s betrayal. Medea is the princess of Colchis. She falls in love with Jason when Jason goes to rescue the Golden Fleece. In a sentence, she does everything legal and illegal for him. But Jason betrays her by getting a second marriage.

Acute sufferings

Suffering is an important feature of a revenge tragedy. We find the sufferings of some characters in the play. Medea is the heroine of the play and sufferer of betrayal. Besides, Jason, his sons, Glauce, and the king of Corinth, Creon is also the sufferer in the play. Their sufferings are the result of Jason’s betrayal of Medea. Medea’s this dialogue proves her suffering:

“Alas, alas, I have suffered, suffered things worthy of many tears.”

Being imbalanced

Being imbalanced is an important feature of a revenge tragedy. This is common that if someone hurts one, he or she will be imbalanced from anger. Medea has done the same thing in the play. Medea is the person who kills her brother, being exiled from her family and city only for Jason. Instead of her sacrifices, she gets his betrayal from him. Jason forgets her sacrifices and marries Glauce. Being imbalanced Medea cries for justice in the following manner:

“For me with justice to avenge these wrongs on my perfidious husband…..”

As a result, she becomes imbalanced and wants to take revenge upon him anyway.

Hypocritical characters

Hypocritical characters will be present in a revenge tragedy. If we look at the background of getting the Golden Fleece, we will get why Jason was sent to get the Golden Fleece. Actually, Jason is the prince of Iolcus. He is the son of King Aeson. Jason was sent abroad to gain knowledge.

Here, Pelias, uncle of Jason announces his kingship in Iolcus after Aeson. When Jason comes back to his homeland, he claims his kingship after his father. But his uncle refuges his claim and plots upon him to murder. The Golden Fleece of Corinth was a valuable thing to them.  One who goes to take it, nobody can come back alive. Pelias sent Jason to take the Golden Fleece. The purpose of this is to murder him. So, in this case, we can see that Pelias is the hypocritical character whom Medea kills by his daughter.

Destruction of both parties

The ending of a revenge tragedy is destructive for both parties. This is one of the important features of a revenge tragedy. We come to know that Medea has taken her revenge upon Jason by killing Glauce, the king of Corinth, and her own two sons. On this side, the palace has been destroyed. Jason becomes mad-like because he has lost his sons and new bride. On the other hand, though Medea takes her revenge on Jason, she has lost her own sons. So, this is clear that both parties have been destroyed.


From the light of the above discussion, we can say that v this tragedy contains almost all the characteristics of a revenge tragedy. So, this is nothing but a revenge tragedy.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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