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Oedipus the King, Medea, Phaedra, Le Cid

Character types in Oedipus the King, Medea, Phaedra, Le Cid, and/or M. Butterfly are explained.

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As you identify character types in Medea, please allow these ideas to guide you:

Medea is not only the play's protagonist but also exemplifies an extraordinary character type for various reasons. For example, she exhibits the roles of both sorceress and princess. She uses these supernatural powers to help Jason secure the Golden Fleece. She also fits the character type because she reveals harsh but revolutionary truths about human nature as she struggles between her role as mother and her keen desire for revenge.

Her extraordinary characterization is also revealed through her actions. For example, she employs her powers to manipulate the daughters of Pelias toward murdering their own father. Her emotional roller coaster also denotes her extraordinary portrayal. Her barbaric actions with the deaths of her own children reveal her lust for anguish. Finally, her extreme pleasure of watching Jason's suffering also expresses that she is not an "ordinary" character type. She justifies these killings by arguing, "Anger, the spring of all life's horror, masters my resolve" (line 1076). Medea even labels her murders a "sacrifice" (line 1053) offered in exchange for a higher principle that only she could comprehend. (Please note that many critics also label her as a tragic hero/heroine.)

If you are seeking a reference, critics label her as extraordinary because
"She could be a ...

Solution Summary

This posting compares and contrasts characterizations within these plays.