At the beginning of the play, Oedipus is largely confident, and with good reason. He has recently freed Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx and has achieved royal status as king. In accordance with Aristotle’s view, the audience members would no doubt possess a deep respect for Oedipus as a “larger and better” version of themselves. For one thing, Oedipus was, in fact, the son of Laius and Jocasta. Therefore, he was noble in the simplest sense because his biological parents were indeed royalty. However, Oedipus believes himself to be the son of Polybos and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth, which allows for him to achieve another kind of nobility, even if it is false. Moreover, as pre...
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...h Oedipus was of noble and genuine character, evoked pity from the audience, and possessed a “tragic flaw,” this does not immediately suggest that Oedipus is a tragic hero. Oedipus’ downfall was not a result of his “tragic flaw,” but rather the sole authority of the gods. Upon closer examination, one discovers that even though fate seemed to determine Oedipus’ life, he did have free will. It was this free will, which allowed him to make certain choices in hopes of preventing the ultimate authority of the gods, that eventually led to his suffering and brought the prophecy of the oracle to life.
Sophocles. “Oedipus Rex.” Introduction to Drama. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom
Aristotle. “On the Nature and Elements of Tragedy.” Introduction to Drama. Boston,
MA: Pearon Custom Publishing, 2006.
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