Oedipus the King as a Tragic Hero

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Oedipus as a Tragic Hero

According to Aristotle's theory of tragedy and his definition of the central character, Oedipus the hero of Sophocles is considered a classical model of the tragic hero. The tragic hero of a tragedy is essential element to arouse pity and fear of the audience to achieve the emotional purgation or catharathis. Therefore, this character must have some features or characteristics this state of purgation. In fact, Oedipus as a character has all the features of the tragic hero as demanded by Aristotle.

The concept of tragic hero is very important in the construction of tragedy. It is the main cause of pity and fear. The tragic hero is a character between the two extremes; he is neither virtuous nor evil. At the same time, this character is better than the ordinary men or audience, he has some good qualities. Moreover, as a tragic hero, he is moving from happiness to misery by his downfall at the end. In fact, this downfall is caused by an error or a flaw in his character not by a vice or depravity. Another feature in the tragic hero is that he has good reputation and he is a man of prosperity. It can be said that Oedipus is a tragic hero because he has all the previous mentioned characteristics and the whole play is a classical application of this concept.

In fact, every feature in the definition of the tragic hero can be applied to the character of Oedipus. First, he is a good man. He made a virtuous service to Thebes and save the city by solving the riddle of Sphinx. In addition, he is good king and he can feel the suffering of his people because of the plague. He tells them "each one of you is enclosed to himself" he tells them that his suffering is greater than ...

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.... They fear the real identity of Oedipus and they do not want him to discover it. Moreover, the pity is associated with his downfall at the end. These emotional of pity and fear lead to the emotional purgation of the audience, which is the main aim of tragedy according to Aristotle. He is very appropriate to arouse such feelings because he has all the qualities of the tragic hero.

In fact, Oedipus is doomed to kill his father, marry his mother and finally to be blind. It was his destiny or fate; he has nothing to do with this end or to prevent it. It was his fate which was manipulating him; drive him from Cornith to kill his father and then to Thebes to marry his mother. His destiny made him "his wife's son, his mother husband." By the hands of fate, he turned to be the most hated man in Thebes and "the man whose life is hell for others and for himself."
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