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The Importance Of Hubris In Oedipus

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According to Collins English Dictionary, the definition of hubris is “an excess of ambition, pride”. Hubris is a person like Oedipus in this play who tricks himself. Throughout the story of Oedipus the king, Sophocles developed the story by building up the characteristic of each character from the start to made the story end as a tragedy. The protagonist, Oedipus, shows might and arrogance without acknowledging the truth. Oedipus’ hubris is responsible for the pollution that at the end leads to his downfall. His stubborn mind and blindness made him never thought himself as the murderer of Laius, a husband of his own mother, and are thirsting to find the truth later on. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles’ classic Greek tragedy, associates a tragic flaw(s),…show more content…
. . . From the thirteenth chapter of the Poetics we learn that the best sort of tragic hero is a man highly esteemed and prosperous who falls into misfortune because of some serious hamartia: examples, Oedipus and Thyestes. In Aristotle’s view, then, Oedipus’ misfortune was directly ocasioned by some serious hamartia. . . . The word hamartia is ambiguous: in ordinary usage it is sometimes applied to false moral judgments, sometimes to purely intellectual error - the average Greek did not make our sharp distinction between the two(18-19). This view of a tragic flaw, moral or intellectual in nature, within the protagonist is not shared by all literary critics. Robert D. Murray, Jr. in “Thought and Structure in Sophoclean Tragedy” gives a formalist’sperspective on the issue: For the formalists, A. J. A. Waldock answers the moralists with appealing indigantion, in his discussion of the Oedipus Tyranus: We know little of Sophocles’ religion. . . . He believed that there are ups and downs in fortune, and that men are never secure. . . . There is no meaning in the Oedipus Tyrannus. There is merely the terror of coincidence, and then, at the end of it all, our impression of man’s power to suffer, and of his greatness because of this power. Now Waldock’s reaction is surely a needed response to the ultramoralistic notion that Sophocles was driven by an urge to warn his contemporaries that they should not be rash or proud lest a vengeful…show more content…
. . . In his growing strength Oedipus begins to act as the ritual scapegoat, the pharmakos, the figure who is ritually laden with all the evils and impurities of the community and then expelled to purify it. . . . Oedipus has separated himself from the monstruous, polluted self that had been hidden within him for so long (141).
Abrams says that the hamartia or tragic flaw is sometimes the vice called hubris (322). When Segal says that Oedipus is no longer the “polluted self,” does he mean that he no longer possesses hubris? In “Sophocles’ Moral Themes” Robert D. Murray Jr. cites a critic who alleges that Oedipus was too proud, that he lacked modesty and humility:
Let C. M. Bowra speak for the moralists: The central idea of a Sophoclean tragedy is that through suffering a man learns to be modest before the gods. . . . When [the characters] are finally forced to see the truth, we know that the gods have prevailed and that men must accept their own insignificance. In short, for Bowra, the essence of each play of Sophocles is a message urging humility and piety