Oedipus Analysis : Oedipus Tyrannus By Sophocles Essay

Oedipus Analysis : Oedipus Tyrannus By Sophocles Essay

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The ancient story documented in the writing Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles follows the story of a clever and strong hero who has tragedy befall him. He is fated to kill his father and marry his mother as a result of his father not heeding a warning from the gods. Upon discovering this, Oedipus blinds himself in excruciating guilt, to cut off his senses from the world around him. This guilt is not deserved by Oedipus because he committed the heinous crimes unwittingly he thus, making him innocent of the actions that spurn on the tragic events that occur. While Oedipus possesses some character flaws, they were not conducive to the tragedies that transpire. Rather, he is a heroic and just man who suffers for no fault of his own because of a curse carried over onto him by his father.
The argument has been made that Oedipus is a deeply flawed character and his downfall is brought upon him because of retribution by the gods for these flaws. While it is true that he is flawed because he is overly curious, this fault does not bring about his undoing. Rather, the curiosity that Oedipus displays leads to his discovery of the truth, but this is not the action that causes his inevitable ruin. Admittedly, Oedipus may have gone his entire life without knowing the truth, but that would not have prevented the pollution he cause that is gripping the city of Thebes and eventually destroying his kingdom, leading to possibly more tragedy for Oedipus and his people. In making this discovery, he suffered as a martyr for his people so that he would solely bear the weight of the pollution unjustly forced upon him. This curiosity was not just for the sake of discovery, but was a life or death situation for many people, which is why Oedipus pursues the trut...

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... if Oedipus lives a life of suffering, then tragedy could befall anyone. In one example the chorus says, “Mighty Oedipus--... proof that none of us mortals can truly be thought of as happy”. It is understood that this quote indicates that when Oedipus is sentenced to tragedy, then fate and the gods of Sophocles’s play are proven to be fickle and able to cast anyone into despair.
Oedipus is a character who is confronted by misfortune through no fault of his own, but as a tool for the gods to carry out his father’s fate. Therefore, Oedipus is a character who is innocent of the actions leading to his downfall. This does not prevent Oedipus Tyrannus from meeting the requirements of a tragedy because of the various definitions of hamartia. Oedipus’s downfall is brought about not by poor character, but in spite of his moral character and because of his unconditional fate.

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