Characteristics Of Oedipus

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Introduction One of the foundations of a Greek Tragedy is the concept of the tragic hero. Aristotle outlined what he believed were the characteristics of a tragic hero. Based on those characteristics we can examine Sophocles’ Oedipus and determine if he is representative of Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. In this essay we will look at Aristotle’s views on Greek tragedy and the tragic hero and how Oedipus is representative of Aristotle’s views. The essay will show that Aristotle’s characteristics of a tragic hero are exemplified in the Sophocles’ Oedipus. In order to understand what a Greek Tragedy is and understand the concept of a tragic hero, we must define what the word tragedy means. According to Brown…show more content…
The people of Thebes worship Oedipus. Oedipus suffers from the consequences of his actions. Oedipus is unaware the things that he has done. Oedipus is seen as a tragic hero is evident in his lack of knowledge of himself, his desire to find the truth and because of the wisdom that he gains at the end of the story. Oedipus decides to find out who murdered the king not knowing that he is not only the murder but the king is his father and he has married his wife who is his mother. Even after Tiresias confronts him about these events, Oedipus does not want to believe it. Oedipus begins to seek the truth but he does not really want to know the truth about himself. According to Farahbakhsh (2013), “Oedipus’ life is replete with choices and decisions: he decides to believe the oracle of Apollo’s temple and escape from Corinth; he decides to kill Laius, whom he did not know was his real father; he decides to risk his life and face the Sphinx; he decides to marry Jocasta, whom it did not know was his mother, as reward for killing the Sphinx; and ironically he sets out to punish Laius murderer” (Farahbakhsh, 2013). Unfortunately these decisions are Oedipus’ destiny that he has to fulfill. “If we give ourselves up to a full sympathy with the hero, there is no question that Oedipus fulfills the function of a tragedy, and arouses fear and pity in the highest degree” (Barstow,…show more content…
The story of Oedipus is characteristic of what Aristotle definition of a tragic hero. Oedipus is a noble and respected man who unknowingly does things in his life that ultimately causes his downfall. Oedipus tragic flaws lead him to seek the out the truth and discover the real truth about himself. Ironically his desire for the truth causes his downfall. Oedipus’ story causes the audience to feel empathy as well as fear for him. But the things that Oedipus occurs in the story are his fate. Aristotle also stated the tragic hero must gain some kind of wisdom from his erroneous judgment. Oepidus does find that wisdom in the end and becomes an example of how great men can fall unexpectedly to
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