Oedipus Rex Tragic Hero Analysis

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If one is familiar with Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, one may consider King Oedipus, from Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, as a potential example of an ideal tragic hero. Sophocles exemplifies the definition of a tragic hero in his portrayal of King Oedipus, in addition to masterfully constructing a tragedy that has lasted the ages and continues to thrive as a classic work of literature to this day. A brief review of Oedipus Rex reveals key elements when defining a tragic hero. The first is the situation, as it unfolds, is complex in nature. The protagonist, King Oedipus, is of nobility and high respect; however, he is also troubled personally by unresolved questions of his past. The second element is his hamartia or error, a tragic flaw of sorts. The last element is his fall from his position of power and respect, after the climax of the story.

Aristotle observed that to define a tragic hero, one should begin with a man of nobility or high respect,
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The city is strife with problems that is creating undue hardship for the people. During this time, Oedipus swears that he will do whatever he must to save the city and informs the people that he has sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to Delphi to seek the counsel of the god of prophecy, Apollo. The goal of Oedipus is to determine why the city is besieged by the gods and to determine what action he must take the save the city. In the first scene, when Creon returns from Delphi, he tells Oedipus that the gods are punishing Thebes for harboring the murderer of the former king, Laios, who was killed before Oedipus took the throne. Oedipus is shocked to learn that the people never found the killer of King Laios and declares an edict of justice by “pronouncing a terrible curse on the murderer if he does not at once come forward” (Knox, 1957, p. 12). Oedipus also states that every man, woman, and child is subject to the proclamation—including

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