Ancient Greek Literature encompasses an assortment of poetry and drama to include the great masterpieces of tragedy. In Classic Literature, tragedies are commonly known for their elaboration of a protagonist fitting the classification of a tragic hero. This type of hero often collectively described as a character of noble birth, facing an adversity of some nature and a fate of great suffering. The characteristics of what encompasses a tragic hero are most prominently recognized from the viewpoint of the extraordinary Greek philosopher, Aristotle, in his work Poetics. Aristotle defined this type of character, the tragic hero, as having several basic characteristics, to include: hamartia, anagnorisis, peripeteia, hubris, and catharsis. These characteristic elements of tragedy were commonly manifest in numerous works throughout the classical Greek literature. One of the finest and most renowned classics portraying the classification of tragic hero is the popular Greek Tragedy written by Sophocles, Oedipus the King. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles portrays the tragic hero by way of the main character Oedipus, the king of Thebes. For this research paper, the focus is on the character analysis of Oedipus ascertained as a tragic hero. Oedipus is the embodiment of a tragic hero as he epitomizes the elements of Aristotle’s classic definition through the character’s tragic flaw in judgement (hamartia), reversal of fate (peripeteia), self-discovery (anagnorisis), excessive pride (hubris), and evoked feelings of pity (catharsis).
To begin with, let us evaluate the Greek term, hamartia, in relation to the analysis of the character, Oedipus. In tragedy, the term hamartia commonly refers to a tragic ...
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...o Oedipus the King, uncovered certain controversy and contrasting interpretations, as mentioned above. When reviewing the writings of Farahbakhsh, Kim, and Segal, their enlightenment concerning the topic delivered a different reading of this classic work with some persuasive opinions against the example of Oedipus as a tragic hero. Charles Segal, expresses King Oedipus as the “communal victim, the pharmakos, or scapegoat,” not fitting terms to describe a hero (Segal 212). In comparison, the writings of Budelman, Kennedy, Knox, Mahony and Sissa expound on the more shared perspective of a tragic hero in Oedipus the King. Given the points of both the compelling and discerning interpretations, the evidence examined remains as convincingly articulating the viewpoint that Oedipus is indeed and example of the embodiment in Aristotle’s definition of a classical tragic hero.
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