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Extra notes from Medea by EuripidesIn the Poetics, Aristotle describes three essential parts to Greek Tragedy and in turn successful art. The three components work in relationship with each other, a collaboration leading to higher consciousness and restored order, whether socially orindividually defined. The first is "recognition" which implies the realization of some truth, that often times (initially) appears to the protagonist as a form of ignorance. In Greek culture blindness and seeing are transposed to indicate this moment of recognition as tragic vision; recognition manifests itself in blind prophets like Tiresias the seer and Oedipus' act of blinding himself (after seeking out the reality of his life). In Greek sculpture, a few statues have somewhat featureless eyes, perhaps suggesting the idea of the blind seer again; and of course ancient rumors reported that Homer--in all his visionary poetry--was also blind. Let me remind you that Homer is undoubtedly a tradition--evolving out of three ages of oral culture--rather than a single human being. See optional reading: The Age of Heroes.The second component of tragedy is "reversal" where through some form of inquiry or journey, the hero discovers that recognition is held in a kind of 180 degree turn where formerly held truths are actually versions of ignorance or that former versions of ignorance turn out to be visionary. The ancient story of the hunter Actaeon shows us this connection between recognition and reversal. Diana, the woodland goddess, transforms Actaeon into a deer and thus he is hunted down and destroyed by his own vicious hounds. The story tells of the hunter becoming the hunted--reversal--andthe recognition of the other's experience in life (in this case the deer)--Actaeon surelyrecognizes the perspective of the wild buck before his brutal undoing. The fate of thelovers of Ishtar in The Epic of Gilgamesh also shows us the reality of recognition andreversal--for instance, the gardener is transformed into a mole. And more importantlywe see our relation with nature portrayed as a reversal, when Enkidu is transformed from a wild beast into a domesticated man (forever estranged from the wild creatures), who knows the trappings of civilization and culture.The third aspect of successful tragedy is the "tragic flaw." This term is elusive. In most cases, it refers to one's true character, the nature of one's soul or daemon or "divine spirit." It is not about being evil. It implies unforeseen consequences that arrive in mass when a hero fails to follow his true character or when one's character causes a mistake in judgment. Tragic flaw is about the reality of human frailty.MEDEAWhen we talk about Medea, we might begin by thinking about how reversal plays an important role in understanding Euripides' intentions. First, as the play opens (prologue), the Nurse gives us history and a view of the "diseased love" between Jason and Medea. There is no equivocation; Jason has wronged Medea. The