Understanding Fate in Oedipus Tyrannos

analytical Essay
1211 words
1211 words

The Greeks were one of the most powerful empires of early civilizations with the well documented conquest, legends, gods, etc. One of their most significant things left of their empire, is their theatrical style, none bigger than Tragedy. The Greek Tragedy was their basis of Drama and is still studied today. Their view of the world and life could be personified in the plays and by the personages. It is the case in the play Oedipus Tyrannos. The play, written by Sophocles, represents the typical Greek view of the world with all the values that the Greeks wanted to show. This play is probably the best example to represent the typical tragic hero, in that case Oedipus. The dominant theme that Sophocles wanted to demonstrate in the play was the concept of fate and how nobody was able to escape it, not even the most prestigious people. Fate was extremely important for the Greeks because it related directly from the gods, the most powerful aspect of their existence. As a typical tragic hero, Oedipus has doomed himself to have a fatal fate by his consistent efforts to avoid his fate and also because of the human side in him that tried to protect him from it. Eventually, Oedipus could not escape what the Gods had written in time for his life. This paper will try to prove this statement by looking at Oedipus as the tragic hero and the representation of the concept of fate in Oedipus Tyrannos by looking at Oedipus.

In typical Greek tragedy, the main character to whom the story is about and relates to is the tragic hero. Aristotle defined the tragic hero as "a person of exalted position who, because of some error or flaw, suffers a total reversal of fortune arousing a feeling of pity and fear. The calamities befalling him are exceptional ...

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...nstant efforts were in vain because humans are not able to control their fate no matter what they do, if it is meant to be it is meant to be. What if king Laios and queen Jocasta instead of wanting to kill Oedipus when he was young would have instead kept him done to the fate of Oedipus? Would it have destroyed it or simply created an even worse that it was? No one will ever know but, it is still debated today.


Friedman, Norman. "The Tagic Hero." College English May 1958: 368-369. Print.

Kierkegaard, S. The Ancient Tragical Motif as Reflected in the Modern. New York: Anchor Books, 1944.Online. Retrieved April 10th 2011 from

Mishra, Karuna Shanker . "The Greek Tragic Hero." The Tragic Hero Through Ages. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre, 1992. 1-37. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how sophocles' play, oedipus tyrannos, represents the typical greek view of the world with all the values that the greeks wanted to show.
  • Analyzes how aristotle defines the tragic hero as a person of exalted position who suffers reversal of fortune, causing pity and fear. fate was important to be represented in tragedy because it defined their path in life.
  • Explains that fate was important to the greeks because it defined their path in life. the hero's downfall is a result of other higher powers that exist beyond themselves.
  • Analyzes how the greeks said that the gods controlled human fate, but the human side led oedipus to his fate.
  • Concludes that the concept of fate is one of the bases in greek tragedy. oedipus was the perfect representation of what the tragic hero should be and why it was so important.
  • Explains kierkegaard's the ancient tragical motif as reflected in the modern.
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