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Lecture 22

ENGL 103W Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Hubris, Euripides

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Torsten Kehler

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Lecture 22
Civil War
- 430-400 BCE
- Civil war between Sparta and Athens  slave-owners, democratic, central power
Violent, hierarchical, slavery
- Athens was completely destroyed, never recovered
- Reasons behind the war:
Philosophy and rhetoric
Jason and Medea
- Jason tries to persuade Medea to accept her fate
Uses rhetoric, reason, and argumentation
If he knew what she was capable of, he would have been more careful
oHow do you deal with someone like this?
- Euripides invents a character like no other
Medea is plausible
He is seen as a threat to tradition, always creates “new” characters
Jason’ Tragedy
- Lost his future and family and children
- Traditional stereotype for tragedy
- Pays the price
- Jason’s hubris:
Tells Medea she will be okay on her own
Says he will provide their children with siblings
Initial hubris was bringing Medea with him in the beginning
- Believes Medea when she “accepts” his new life
Why should she? They have a life together
- The price you pay is in excess of your own terror = tragedy
- But does Jason deserve all of this?
Tragedy isn’t always fair
Subjects of Tragedy
- Aristotle: what happens if you make a tragedy about a bad person?
Success of bad person  not tragic
Failure of a bad person  karma, fair, justice
Not moved by bad people suffering
Success of a good person  not tragic
Failure of a good person  close, but just depressing
- Subject of tragedy must be an ordinary person with normal flaws
- Jason is ruled by ambition : marrying king’s daughter
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