Another example of Oedipus’ hubris is when the messenger from Corinth comes to Thebes to tell Oedipus of his father’s death. Upon hearing this, Oedipus believed that he had defied the gods and escaped his fate; only later did he find out the truth. Oedipus the King conforms to the typical conventions of a tragic drama through the use of a tragic hero, Oedipus. The qualities of the tragic hero reflect recurring human qualities and thus continue to connect with audiences of any generation. The issues explored in the play rely on the way people are naturally fascinated by power and status and despite the differences in society, are still universally recognized and have a wider significance than just the tragedy of Oedipus as an individual.
Tragic Heroism: In Sophocles’ play Antigone, the character of Creon exemplifies a tragic hero more than the characters of Antigone or Medea because he experiences a fall from grace and his prosperous position, possesses a tragic flaw, and accepts the responsibility of his actions in a way that does not blame anyone and “shows enlightenment and growth”, all in accordance with Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. (“Connections: A Theory,” 2000). In the play Antigone, Creon falls from grace and loses everything, which is an important aspect of Aristotle’s tragic hero definition. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero should be someone “highly renowned and prosperous” (“Connections: A Theory,” 2000). This is essential to the plot of the tragedy and the feelings the audience is supposed to have after the play is over.
When Oedipus finally sees the truth, he blinds and exiles himself as punishment which illustrates his understanding of why and acceptance of what he has done. From Oedipus the relationship between greatness and hubris, (exaggerated pride or self-confidence), is revealed; the same traits that make up heroic greatness, when taken to the extreme, lead to the tragic downfall of our hero. Oedipus has been labeled as the ideal tragic hero for how completely he meets Aristotle’s three characteristics. Oedipus is a man of noble stature. First adopted by Polybus, the King of Corinth, and his wife, Merope who pretend he is their son and raise him as the Prince of Corinth.
Miller describes "that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were." It is in his belief that the notion will help modern people relate with the main characters in a tragedy that is also applicable to the audience’s understanding a tragic drama. By Miller’s standards Willy is not “flawless” by his actions, but rather the error in his conscience that makes him a tragic hero. Miller’s ideal tragic hero "demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity," (1974, 3) when given a struggle in reality. He states that “ the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing – his sense of personal dignity” (3).
Aristotle also enlightens certain characteristics that determine a tragic hero. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who commits an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions. The tragic hero must learn a lesson from his errors in judgment, his tragic flaw, and become an example to the audience of what happens when great men fall from their arrogant social or political positions. According to Aristotle, a tragedy must be an imitation of life in the form of a serious story that is complete in it; in other words, the story must be realistic and narrow in focus. A good tragedy will evoke pity and fear in its viewers, causing the viewers to experience a feeling of catharsis.
Oedipus personifies the ideal tragic hero. While he is a kind, caring and noble man, because of his impulsiveness and quick temper he makes a series of bad decisions that, if they had been thought out, he could have avoided. =Oedipus exemplifies what a tragic hero is, a person who tries to be the best person he can be but has one flaw that eventually will bring him down. Now that Oedipus has been established as a tragic hero does his journey follow a pattern that is similar towards what Joseph Campbell describes in the hero’s journey? In the previous paragraph Oedipus was defined as a tragic hero.
In Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Oedipus embodies the traits that a tragic hero should have, including being greater than the average man and possessing an ultimately benevolent character, while also following the plot line that a tragic hero must by coming to a great fall through external circumstances and internal character traits and accepting responsibility for his fall. Many explanations of Greek tragedies and the tragic hero expound that the hero must be “extraordinary rather than typical” in order to make his or her fall more distressing to the audience (“Tragedy” 1221). The creation of the tragic hero has also been described as “an imitation of persons who are better than the average” (Aristotle). The placement of the tragic hero above the rest of mankind creates feelings of fear associated with the impending and unavoidable fall by reminding the audience of the vulnerabilities to which all men are susceptible (“Tragedy” 1223). If the greatest men can come to a bitter end, any normal person would be defenseless against that fate.
Oedipus is in love with his idealized self, but neither the grandiose nor the depressive "Narcissus" can really love himself (Miller 67). All of the above characteristics make Oedipus a tragic hero according to Aristotle's ideas about tragedy, and a narcissist according to Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions. Those actions are seen when Oedipus forces Teiresias to reveal his destiny and his father's name. When Teiresias tries to warn him by saying "This day will give you parents and destroy you" (Sophocles line 428), Oedipus still does not care and proceeds with his questioning.
Oedipus is in love with his idealized self. All of the above characteristics make Oedipus a tragic hero according to Aristotle's ideas about tragedy. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions. Those actions are seen when Oedipus forces Teiresias to reveal his destiny and his father's name. When Teiresias tries to warn him by saying "This day will give you parents and destroy you" (Sophocles line 428), Oedipus still does not care and proceeds with his questioning.
The idea of a tragic hero comes from Aristotle, who thought a tragic hero involved a character of high standing suffering a downfall caused by one or two character flaws. In this story Brutus is a trusted friend of Caesar, but from a series of poor choices he betrays that trust by assisting in Caesar’s assassination, even delivering the death blow. Brutus realizes the error of his ways in his last moments, and the audience feels sympathy for this renegade protagonist. The specific sets of attributes that define a tragic hero (character flaw, downfall, moment of clarity etc.) culminate in Brutus, who Shakespeare used to send a clear message about people.