5 page paper Greek tragedy: tragic flaws

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Concept Hamartia ( tragic error, flaw, or missing the mark) and its centrality to Greek Tragedy. A great character is “brought low” on account of a single flaw in his or her nature. Choose one of the following characters and explain what do you think that person’s hamartia is using AT LEAST 7 DIRECT QUOTES from the play in question.

Medea in Medea by Euripides

Oedipus in Oedipus the King or Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

Electra in Electra by Euripides

Pentheus in the Bacchae by Euripides

Thyestes in Thysestes by Seneca

In the second part of your essay, you should identify what moral resonance the tragic flaw you have identified might have had for Athenian society in the 5th Century BCE (or with Rome under Nero if you choose Thyestes). What lessons could the Athenians/ Romans have drawn from seeing such a character destroyed? Are these lessons still applicable in our society today? Can you think of a modern historical person or character who exhibits a similar tragic flaw? How is tragedy perceived differently in contemporary society? Can “tragic heroes” still be instructive to us today? If you write about Seneca, remember that he was living in Roman Times, so the historical factors he was dealing with were slightly different.


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