Oedipus Tragic Hero Essay

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Tragic Heroes in Oedipus the King and Death of a Salesman
The tragic hero is defined by Aristotle as "a great man who is neither a paragon of virtue and justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any real badness or wickedness but because of some mistake” (Aristotle n. pag.). There are a few principles that Aristotle believes to form a tragic hero: the protagonist should be a person of power and nobility, who makes a major error in judgment and eventually comes to realization of his or her actions (Aristotle n. pag.). In Arthur Millers’ play, Death of a Salesman, he has twisted Aristotle’s belief of a tragic hero, and has created his own. Although Miller has twisted Aristotle’s belief, Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex, has a tragic hero (Oedipus) that follows the flaws, dignity, and acknowledgment of the truth that Aristotle believes in to make a tragic hero. It is essential for them to recognize their position and role in the play. Due to the fact that Willy Loman and Oedipus experience tragic flaws throughout their respected plays, they both have nobility, and they both realize the fact (anagnorisis) that they made an error in their life (hamartia). Through their fatal mis-steps, their pride and ego, predominately affect their familial lives, which in turn causes them to realize the truth that they are tragic heroes.
The noble characters, Oedipus and Willy rely on things of substantial value in their lives, but then unfortunately fail, further deepening their harmatia. In Arthur Millers’ essay “Tragedy and the Common Man,” he does not believe that just nobility and power over others is inadequate to just judge a select few:
Insistence upon the rank of the tragic hero, or the so-called nobility of his character, is re...

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...before something happens?” (Miller 133). Biff is getting frustrated with Willy because he is trying to turn his son into somebody that he does not want to be. Willy’s tragedy is due to the fact that the truth for him is far fetched, since he is always seeing life in a flashback, which leads to his demise.
Aristotle’s description of a tragic hero exemplify Willy Loman and Oedipus Rex very well in both their respected plays. They struggle to make the right judgment (hamartia), and with certain flaws throughout their plays, make it hard for these characters to realize the truth (anagnorisis). However, through certain evidence and different obstacles Oedipus and Willy’s demise is caused by their hamartia. Although these characters experience hope along the way, their pride and egotistical lifestyles outweigh the hope that they receive to get their life back on track.
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