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Oedipus: The Tragic Hero

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Autor:   •  April 19, 2017  •  Essay  •  730 Words (3 Pages)  •  221 Views

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Jordan Steverson

P. Garrett

ENC 1141

8 March 2017

Oedipus: The Tragic Hero

There are many characteristics that complete Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero; these being the presence of hamartia and peripeteia, a sense of self-awareness, the audience’s pity for the character, and the hero is of noble birth. Oedipus in Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex is the tragic hero. The history behind the character of Oedipus, in the play Oedipus the King, is very complicated. His intricate past dealing with fate, pride, and lack of judgement is what drives the focus of the story and brings on his downfall

Oedipus receives word that he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus fulfills the very destiny he was attempting to flee from. He flees to the city of Thebes and as he is headed there, he gets into an argument with an older gentleman and his companions, slaughtering them all except one. Unbeknownst to him, Oedipus killed his father that day and heads on. Oedipus makes it to Thebes where he solves the riddle of Sphinx and takes the kingdom and the queen as his own. After a long while ruling Thebes and raising four children with the queen, a priest declares he fulfilled the destiny he was trying to escape. Oedipus blinds himself and leaves Thebes forever but not before Iocaste hangs herself from embarrassment.

One of the major themes in Oedipus Rex is having excessive pride. You see the first impression of Oedipus’ pride when he calls the citizens "my children" and "I have come myself to hear you"; "0 mighty King, we turn to you. Find us our safety, find us our remedy, whether by counsel of the gods or men." The citizens of Thebes don’t realize then that they are bowing before the very man that murdered their former king over an argument. Oedipus; pride tells him to deny every account of him being the killer, even from Teiresias, until later in the play, exclaiming "I think that I myself may be accurst by my own ignorant edict." Oedipus realizes what he has done and casts himself out of Thebes.

Oedipus has very bad judgement in Oedipus Rex. He exclaims to the people of Thebes that "Whoever killed King Laius might-who knows? - Decide at any moment to kill me as well. By avenging the murdered king I protect myself.” Oedipus wisely tries to find and punish the former King Laius’ murderer to rid Thebes of the plague. Yet this decision shows irony because Oedipus is Laius’ murderer. Oedipus


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