chapter  2
13 Pages

The 'Medea'

Let us state the problem more fully. The Medea is twice censured by Aristotle: the Aegeus scene is illogical and is not even used properly, and the end is artificial and therefore wrong. Moreover, by implication he condemns the murder of the children as 'revolting' (JLtapov) , and the catastrophe, the escape of Medea and the death of the innocent, is hardly what he approved. Both the Hecuba and the Andromache have a sharply marked duplicity of action; the Heracles contains three actions (though with a more obvious connexion) and a character, Lycus, who seems to belong more to melodrama than to tragedy; the Suppliant Women offers one scene, Evadne-Iphis, about which a recent editor conjectures that it was put in to interest those spectators who were bored with the rest of the play; while the Troades is one episode after another, held together, we are told, by the passivefigure ofHecuba - as ifEuripides needed Aristotle to tell him that what befalls one person is not necessarily a unity.