Oedipus Rex As A Tragic Hero

  • Length: 909 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is a classic tragic hero.
According to Aristotle's definition, Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is a
king whose life falls apart when he finds out his life story. There are a
number of characteristics described by Aristotle that identify a tragic hero.
For example, a tragic hero must cause his own downfall; his fate is not
deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble
stature and have greatness. Oedipus is in love with his idealized self, but
neither the grandiose nor the depressive "Narcissus" can really love himself
(Miller 67). All of the above characteristics make Oedipus a tragic hero
according to Aristotle's ideas about tragedy, and a narcissist according to
Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self.
Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an
important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must
then suffer the consequences of his actions. Those actions are seen when
Oedipus forces Teiresias to reveal his destiny and his father's name. When
Teiresias tries to warn him by saying "This day will give you parents and
destroy you" (Sophocles line 428), Oedipus still does not care and proceeds
with his questioning. The tragic hero must learn a lesson from his errors in
judgment and become an example to the audience of what happens when great men
fall from their lofty social or political positions. According to Miller, a
person who is great, who is admired everywhere, and needs this admiration to
survive, has one of the extreme forms of narcissism, which is grandiosity.
Grandiosity can be seen when a person admires himself, his qualities, such as
beauty, cleverness, and talents, and his success and achievements greatly. If
one of these happens to fail, then the catastrophe of a severe depression is
near (Miller 34). Those actions happen when the Herdsman tells Oedipus who
his mother is, and Oedipus replies "Oh, oh, then everything has come out
true. Light, I shall not look on you Again. I have been born where I should
not be born, I have been married where I should not marry, I have killed whom
I should not kill; now all is clear" (Sophocles lines 1144). Oedipus's
decision to pursue his questioning is wrong; his grandiosity blinded him and,

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Oedipus Rex As A Tragic Hero." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Apr 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Oedipus: The Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Antigone Essay - An Aristotelian Tragic Hero is characterized by seven different aspects; the tragic hero must have noble stature, be good but not perfect, have an error in judgment, have a downfall, go through catharsis, their punishment must exceed crime, and the audience must feel fear and pity for the character. The two plays Oedipus Rex and Antigone by Sophocles show the qualities of a tragic hero according to Aristotle using Oedipus and partially Antigone. The tragic hero title does not apply to a character that does not represent one or more characteristics....   [tags: judgement, pity, catharsis]
:: 2 Works Cited
833 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello - Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello     Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Most proud people will never consider themselves to be truly proud until they come face to face with the consequences of their pride. Sophocles and Shakespeare both address this dilemma in their plays Oedipus Rex and Othello. Through their nobility, their tragic flaws, the fall these flaws cause, and the suffering and wisdom they derive from these falls, Oedipus and Othello reveal the true character of the tragic hero and show the devastating consequences of pride....   [tags: Othello Oedipus Rex Shakespeare Sophocles]
:: 2 Works Cited
1208 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex Essay - The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex According to the ancient Greeks and Aristotle the hero is a person who possesses superior qualities of mind and body, and who proves his superiority by doing great deeds of valor, strength, or intellect. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex the main character Oedipus possesses these characteristics of a true hero, which in turn lead to his self-destruction. In the beginning of the play Oedipus's great intellect is made known by the chorus who see him as someone who has proven his wisdom, someone who has single-handedly saved Thebes in years present from the Sphinx, and someone who is adored by his people....   [tags: Papers] 1371 words
(3.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Sophocles' Oedipus Rex: Oedipus, the Tragic Hero Essays - The play Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, tells a horrendous tale about one man's quest for the truth. In the play, King Oedipus was burdened with the task of finding his predecessor's murderer so that order may be restored to his kingdom. While his conscious mind was seeking the murderer, his unconscious mind was retarding his progress in order to conceal the truth. Tiresias prophesies the truth to Oedipus, but Oedipus's unconscious mind would not hear it. Thus, when the awful truth is finally revealed, Oedipus is overwhelmed by it....   [tags: literary analysis, analytical essays] 726 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
tragoed Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) - Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King In the introduction to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sophocles defines a tragic hero as one who "[behaves] admirably as a man, [but who] is nevertheless tripped up by forces beyond his control and understanding..." (Sophocles 76).  In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic hero. The force that "trips up" the hero is fate, or, moira. It is Oedipus's actions that set the events into motion,  but it is ultimately his fate, and his attempted aversion to it, that brings about his downfall....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 4 Works Cited
1213 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
tragoed Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) as Ideal Tragic Hero Essay - Oedipus Rex as the Ideal Tragic Hero If we give ourselves up to a full sympathy with the hero, there is no question that the Oedipus Rex fulfills the function of a tragedy, and arouses fear and pity in the highest degree. But the modern reader, coming to the classic drama not entirely for the purpose of enjoyment, will not always surrender himself to the emotional effect. He is apt to worry about Greek fatalism and the justice of the downfall of Oedipus, and, finding no satisfactory solution for these intellectual difficulties, loses half the pleasure that the drama was intended to produce....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex] 1261 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Comparing Aristotle and Miller´s View on Tragedy Essay - In ancient Greece citizens hoped to go unnoticed by the Gods. The Gods played a huge role on what occurred in a citizen’s life. If a prophecy was decided by a God, then there was no altering it. Aristotle believes that this is what makes up a true tragedy. He suggests that tragedy is plot driven, and if the plot is set then there is no way around it. In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is paying for the sins of his father King Laios. Laios was given horrible future by the Gods for angering them when he rapes another man....   [tags: Arthur Miller, Oedipus Rex, tragic hero]
:: 4 Works Cited
1241 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oedipus the King, a Tragic Hero Essay - Oedipus, a tragic hero Sophocles's Oedipus Rex is probably the most famous tragedy ever written. Sophocles's tragedy represents a monumental theatrical and interpretative challenge. Oedipus Rex is the story of a King of Thebes upon whom a hereditary curse is placed and who therefore has to suffer the tragic consequences of fate (tragic flaws or hamartia). In the play, Oedipus is the tragic hero. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles] 1712 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oedipus: A Tragic Hero Essay - Oedipus: A Tragic Hero Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King is Sophocles’s first play of “The Theban Cycle.” It tells the story of a king that tries to escape his fate, but by doing so he only brings about his downfall. Oedipus is a classic example of the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a basically good and noble person who causes his own downfall due to a flaw in his character. Oedipus is a man of noble blood; his parents, who raised him as a child, were King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
:: 1 Works Cited
671 words
(1.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero - Sophocles said that a man should never consider himself fortunate unless he can look back on his life and remember that life without pain. For Oedipus Rex, looking back is impossible to do without pain, a pain that stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. He freely chooses to pursue and eventually accept his own life's destruction. Although fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his undying quest for the truth ruin him....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
:: 2 Works Cited
693 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]

Related Searches

therefore, his fate is not deserved, but it is far beyond his control. A
prophecy is foretold to Laius, the father of Oedipus, that the destiny of
Oedipus is a terrible one beyond his control. But when it is prophesized to
Oedipus, he sets forth from the city of his foster parents in order to
prevent this terrible fate from occurring. Oedipus's destiny is not deserved
because he is being punished for his parent's actions. His birth parents seek
the advice of the Delphi Oracle, who recommends that they should not have any
children. When the boy is born, Laius is overcome with terror when he
remembers the oracle. Oedipus is abandoned by his birth parents and is denied
their love, which is what results in what Miller calls "Depression as Denial
of the Self". Depression results from a denial of one's own emotional
reactions, and we cannot really love if we deny our truth, the truth about
our parents and caregivers as, well as about ourselves (Miller 43). The birth
of Oedipus presets his destiny to result in tragedy even though he is of
noble birth. In tragedies, protagonists are usually of the nobility to make
their falls seem greater. Oedipus just happens to be born a prince, and he
has saved a kingdom that is rightfully his from the Sphinx. His destiny is to
be of noble stature from birth, which is denied to him by his parents, but
given back by the Sphinx. His nobility deceived him as well as his
reflection, since it shows only his perfect, wonderful face and not his inner
world, his pain, his history (Miller 66). When he relies on his status, he is
blind, not physically, but emotionally. He is blind in his actions; therefore
he does not see that the questioning would bring him only misery. Later,
after his self-inflicted blinding, Oedipus sees his actions as wrongdoing
when he says "What use are my eyes to me, who could never - See anything
pleasant again?" (Sophocles line 1293) and that blindness does not
necessarily have to be physical as we can se when he says, "If I had sight, I
know not with what eyes I would have looked" (Sophocles line 1325). In the
play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays the main character, Oedipus, as a
good-natured person who has bad judgment and is frail. Oedipus makes a few
fatal decisions and is condemned to profound suffering because of them. I
agree with Aristotle that Oedipus' misfortune happens because of his tragic
flaw. If he hadn't been so judgmental or narcissistic, as Miller would
characterize a personality like Oedipus, he would never have killed King
Laius and called Teiresias a liar. In the beginning, Teiresias is simply
trying to ease him slowly into the truth; but Oedipus is too proud to see any
truths, and he refuses to believe that he could have been responsible for
such a horrible crime. He learns a lesson about life and how there is more to
it than just one person's fate.

Return to 123HelpMe.com