Oedipus: The Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Antigone

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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. Antigone only represents some qualities of an Aristotelian Tragic Hero, whereas Oedipus represents all of the qualities.
Antigone may not represent all of the components of a tragic hero, but she does depict some. Her parents Jocasta and Oedipus did rule the thrown, and that gave Antigone her noble stature. Even though Antigone is pre-eminently great, she has flaws. She wants to honor her deceased brother, Polyneices, by burying him, but she wants to defy the laws openly to prove her point. After she commits the crime of burying her brother, Creon asks,
Creon: Did you know an edict had forbidden this?
Antigone: Of course I knew. Was it not publicly proclaimed?
Creon: So you chose flagrantly to disobey my law?
Antigone: Naturally… I feel no twinges of regret. (Sophocles Antigone 210)
This quotation shows how Antigone wants the whole city of Thebes to know that she will achieve martyrdom for her actions and because she just wants people to admire her. That also describes her downfall and error in judgment; she wants the world to know that she broke the law and that she did it for the Gods, but her hubris did not allow her to do it quietly. And as a result she received punishmen...

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...represent two, and that proves that the tragic hero in Sophocles’ plays is Oedipus. Bill Clinton demonstrates the qualities of a modern day tragic hero. The former president cheated on his wife and committed perjury and ended up becoming impeached as president. That shows that tragic heroes do not just exist in old literature, but in modern day life. Like Bill Clinton, Oedipus has all of the components of an Aristotelian Tragic Hero, while Antigone does not represent two.

Works Cited
Sophocles. "Antigone." Trans. Paul Roche. The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles. By Sophocles. Trans. Paul Roche. New York City: Plume, 1991. 191-252. Print. This source that I am comparing euthanasia to.
- - -. "Oedipus Rex." Trans. Paul Roche. The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. By Sophocles. and Paul Roche. New York: Penguin, 1991. 5-80. Print.

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