The play Medea by Eurypides is looked upon as a tragedy even though in the end, the main character of the story succeeds in what she had set upon to accomplish. Even so, this play still fits the Aristotelian definition of a tragedy. Aristotle wrote that for a play to be a tragedy, it must have several characteristics. First, it must show life as being better than it is in reality. Tragedies are also imitations of events in which an action is taken that results in an unhappy ending. These type of stories also cause the audience to feel sadly about the events that have taken place and pity for the characters that were affected by the tragic actions. .
Medea imitates life as better than it really is in that it revolves around people who are high in stature and position. Jason, who is the main antagonist of the story, is a great hero from Greek mythology; he is the one who went on the quest for the Golden Fleece. He is seen by the Greek people as an infamous person. His former wife, Medea, has no such fame and yet still has a higher position than most people do. She is popular among the Greek people despite her being a foreigner, and being married to Jason earns her a high position in the first place. Though she is not nearly as high as Jason himself, she is much more intelligent than he is. On numerous occasions she is said to be a very clever woman; even her worst enemies, Jason and Creon, tell her this. Creon is, in fact, scared of Medea for this very reason, for he knows how clever and strong she is. .
This play has another attribute of being a tragedy in that it revolves around an action taken by the main character that will lead to a very unhappy ending. For the first half of the play, the audience is introduced to Medea and her pathetic situation. Being betrayed by her husband, she plots a horrible revenge against him. It is the action that she takes to get her revenge that causes the unhappy ending.