A Look at Two Characters of Greek.
Tragedy and Their Reactions to Adversity.
Throughout many Greek tragedies, plays, and poems there are many characters that are faced with adversity when tragedy occurs. With these many instances a multitude of emotional reactions arise. The variances of emotion, although shown from a character, are all based on human responses. These responses are countless in number for the reason that there are many facets to human nature. In looking at only two characters in Greek writings; Oedipus from Oedipus the King written by Sophocles and Medea from Medea written by Euripides, we can see two different reactions to adversity in tragedy. Medea, when faced with the loss of her husband to another woman, turns vengeful and murderous, "the emotions of the woman whose love has turned to hatred, and equally those of the man who loves no more, represent something eternal and unchangeable in human nature" (Page xv). Oedipus, when faced with the knowledge that he killed his birth father and married his birth mother, turns self destructive. "The tragedies of Sophocles concern resolute, intelligent, civilized people, determined to understand everything; they never do, because there is a dark nonsensical element in things which eludes comprehension and often destroys them" (Lattimore 102). Oedipus is one of these people. He is in search of the truth and finds it but to his own destruction, "the composite picture of a man who appears to have everything, and by doing nothing beyond seeking truth, loses everything, touches a universal anxiety" (Walton 3). Both Medea and Oedipus are faced with life changing events. How they individually handle the events is their greatest difference. Emotional reactions to adversity in tragedy vary from character to character and are based on personality, past experience, or exposure to many different situations during childhood.