HCIT Period 2
31 January 2014
Sophocles and Euripides: Tragedies Caused by Vengeance and Passion
Bertrand Russell wrote, “The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts” (www.goodreads.com). In the plays by Euripides and Sophocles the emotions of the characters based on the knowledge they know causes great tragedy in their life. Medea is the story of Medea’s reaction to Jason getting married to the princess of Corinth. Hippolytus is about a man whose stepmother Phaedra falls in love with him causing great sorrow for all involved. In Oedipus, an old prophecy about a man comes back into the light when he tries to end a curse over his land. Antigone, is about a girl who wants to give her brother, who has died, a proper burial, but she is unable to because of a stubborn king. The characters in these four tragedies have vengeance and too much passion which leads to tragedies at the end of the play.
Having vengeance leads to tragedies at the end of the three plays: Medea, Hippolytus, and Antigone. In the play Medea, Medea shows how her vengeance leads to tragedy when she kills the princess of Corinth, the woman Jason had left her for, and when she kills her children because, “Force every way will have it the must die, and since/ this must be so, then I, their mother, shall kill them” (1. 1240-1241). In Hippolytus, Aphrodite’s vengeance leads to tragedy is when she says, “But for this sin against me/ I shall punish Hippolytus” (1.21-22) by making Phaedra fall in love with Hippolytus, ultimately leading to his exile and death. In Antigone, Haemon’s vengeance which leads to tragedy, is shown when Creon hears, “Haemon is dead; the hand that shed his blood was his very own” (1. 1250-1251). Haemon killing himself causes his mother the kill herself, which leave Creon with great sorrow. Having vengeance causes tragedy and leads to much sadness for all who are involved in the plays
Having too much passion leads to tragedy at the end of the three plays: Medea, Hippolytus, and Oedipus. In Medea, Medea shows how having too much passion can lead to tragedy, when she is talking to Jason, who has left her for the princess of Corinth, and says, “O coward in every way—that is what I call you, /with bitterest reproach for your lack of manliness, /you have come, you, my worst enemy have come to me” (1. 465-467). Her passion for Jason is ultimately the cause of the deaths of the princess of Corinth, Creon, the king of Corinth, and Medea’s children. In Hippolytus, Phaedra’s passion