Is Oedipus A Tragic Hero Essay

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Can A Tragic Hero exist in the Hero’s Journey?

The tragic hero was a staple of Greek Drama. This type of hero forced audiences to fall in love with the character, only to have their heart broken when the character falls. Every tragic hero has a flaw that will eventually lead to his or her demise and this flaw is displayed through the play. For example in Oedipus Rex Oedipus’s flaw is that he is quick to anger. When you examine Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey and interesting question emerges. Can a tragic hero fit into the structure of the monomyth? The answer to this question is yes, a hero who would have been defined as tragic by the Greeks can fit into the monomyth developed by Joseph Campbell. We can see how this is possible by using the ancient Greek drama Oedipus Rex.

In Oedipus Rex we meet a character named Oedipus who is the king of Thebes. To fully answer the question presented in the opening paragraph it first needs to be determined whether Oedipus is a tragic hero. A tragic hero is defined as the protagonist of a tragedy, as someone good who ultimately fails because of a tragic flaw or a mistake. Oedipus personifies the ideal tragic hero. While he is a kind, caring and noble man, because of his impulsiveness and quick temper he makes a series of bad decisions that, if they had been thought out, he could have avoided. =Oedipus exemplifies what a tragic hero is, a person who tries to be the best person he can be but has one flaw that eventually will bring him down. Now that Oedipus has been established as a tragic hero does his journey follow a pattern that is similar towards what Joseph Campbell describes in the hero’s journey?
In the previous paragraph Oedipus was defined as a tragic hero. So does his journey foll...

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...s downfall. This change in thought is part of one of the final stages of the hero’s journey, the revelation. This revelation the Oedipus makes will change is life after he if exiled from Thebes. After Oedipus blinds himself he realizes that he has to just be a normal person and control his anger. He will have to leave Thebes but he realizes that he can have a good life after Thebes.
Oedipus Rex contains a hero who while being defined as a tragic hero also manages to follow the pathways of the heroes journey. Oedipus goes on a hero’s journey that is vastly different from the usual journey but it still qualifies as a hero’s journey nevertheless. Oedipus is also a tragic hero as his flaw of quick anger would eventually lead to his demise and exile from Thebes. Oedipus Rex is a great example of a story that can contain a hero’s journey, but yet have a tragic hero.
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