A tragic hero, as defined by Aristotle, is a man who is great but also terribly flawed, who experiences misfortunes while still remaining admirable to the audience at the end of the play. One of Aristotle’s favorite works, Oedipus the King, a play by Sophocles, is a play that above all others, defines the meaning of what a true tragic hero really is. In the play, Oedipus the King, the story unfolds after Oedipus unintentionally kills his own father and goes on to marry his mother. The events of the play are tragic, but it is the way that Oedipus handles the tragedies that make him a tragic hero.
In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is depicted as a morally ambiguous character; neither purely evil or purely good. Oedipus runs from his fate initially to prevent himself from pursuing what he believed was his fate; however, he is lead straight towards his real fate. He kills his biological father as he is headed to Thebes, where he takes the throne. Once he has taken the throne, he begins to try and save his city from the plague by looking for the murder of king Laius. However, what he does not know is that the prophet has told him who has slew the king; therefore, he presents his ignorance as a leader. Not only does his ignorance create the flawed character inside himself, but it also causes him to run from his fate. The significance of Oedipus being a morally ambiguous character is that he cannot run from his fate
Explained by Aristotle, the characteristics of a good tragic hero must be “better than we are,” a man who is superior to the average man in some way. A man one might say closely resembles Oedipus Rex. But Oedipus is more imperfect than perfect, as he commits his actions in haste and is unable to see what is happening around him. His hamartia was the main reason for his downfall. In the play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus demonstrates his errors in judgement through his hubris, blindness, and foolishness and therefore is at fault. Oedipus’s great hubris led him to a path where he couldn’t come back from. His blindness and ignorance to the truth caused Oedipus to take actions that he thought would aid him escape the prophecy told by the oracle. His actions justify the line of events that occur in the play.
Oedipus is depicted as a “marionette in the hands of a daemonic power”(pg150), but like all tragic hero’s he fights and struggles against fate even when the odds are against him. His most tragic flaw is his morality, as he struggles between the good and the evil of his life. The good is that he was pitied by the Shepard who saved him from death as a baby. The evil is his fate, where he is to kill his father and marry his mother. His hubris or excessive pride and self-righteousness are the lead causes to his downfall. Oedipus is a tragic hero who suffers the consequences of his immoral actions, and must learn from these mistakes. This Aristotelian theory of tragedy exists today, as an example of what happens when men and women that fall from high positions politically and socially.
Oedipus is widely known for being the man that killed his father and married his mother. After Oedipus finds out about what he has done he proceeds to jab both of his eyes out and remains blind for the rest of his life. By Oedipus doing this it means that his fate that was told to his parents at the beginning of the story had come true. With Oedipus jabbing his eyes out, this made it clear that this was a tragedy. Oedipus is the perfect fit of being a tragic hero. First of all by being born into royalty and throughout his life he held a royal persona. Also he makes some choices that leads him to his own destruction. For example, with him already marrying his mother and his mother had already had several of his kids their was nothing that he could do when he found out that his wife was also his mother. In the story as he went back to confront his mother/wife, she had already hung herself. As for being a hero, he done many heroic things throughout his life. For example, when he arrived at the city where he met his mother and father, there
Throughout the play, there are many examples that support the argument that Oedipus is a tragic hero. By definition, a tragic hero is “a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat”. Oedipus is a concerned and loving king whose people trust him explicitly. However, throughout the play, he makes choices that put him in bad situations. The play tells the story of Oedipus' journey to try and uncover the mystery of Laius' murder, as told by the oracle. Throughout his journey, he commits horrible crimes, and destroys both himself and his life. Oedipus also drags innocent people down with him. Oedipus is a tragic hero because of his fatal flaws, he was born of noble birth, he showed excessive pride and he became more self aware.
Oedipus Oedipus is a story about a few basic human emotions. Among them are rage, passion, humility, and guilt. The Ancient Greeks understood these emotions well; their society was based upon the logical emotions, but always threatened by the violent ones. Oedipus was at first told that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother.
Sophocles is perhaps one of the greatest tragedians ever. 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. This pain stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. Oedipus freely chooses to pursue and accept his own life's destruction. 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.
Oedipus's pride leads to the story's tragic ending. He is too proud to consider the words of the prophet Teiresias, choosing, instead to rely on his own investing powers. Teiresias warns him not to pry into these matters, but pride in his intelligence leads Oedipus to continue his search. Oedipus thinks he can change fate. He just tries to ignore it, because he counts on his own ability to root out the truth. Oedipus is a clever man, but he is blind to the truth and refuses to believe Teiresias's warnings. He suffers because of his hamartia. I t is this excessive pride fuels his own destruction. I would just say Oedipus is a tragic hero.