Oedipus the King, a Tragic Hero Essay

Oedipus the King, a Tragic Hero Essay

Length: 1712 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Oedipus, a tragic hero

Sophocles's Oedipus Rex is probably the most famous tragedy ever written. Sophocles's tragedy represents a monumental theatrical and interpretative challenge. Oedipus Rex is the story of a King of Thebes upon whom a hereditary curse is placed and who therefore has to suffer the tragic consequences of fate (tragic flaws or hamartia). In the play, Oedipus is the tragic hero. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him.

In The Poetics, the greatest statement of classical dramatic theory, Aristotle cites Oedipus as the best example of Greek tragedy. According to Aristotle, Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is not perfect, but has tragic flaws (hamartia). Aristotle points out that Oedipus' tragic flaw is excessive pride (hubris) and self-righteousness. 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. Catharsis, in Greek, means "purgation" or "purification"; running through the...


... middle of paper ...


... Oedipus a great tragic hero of classical Greek while Thelma and Louise remained as one of the action play with different meaning of tragedy than Oedipus but still able to get the attention. Therefore, how the human emotions between the characters in two stories as well as the audiences and the character were manipulated by the characters for the same action in different way is shown by both of these stories and so it is very important to theater producers and actors and students like us to continue study and play till this time of 21st century to define the art, life, and theater in better way as well as to understand it in different angle.

Works Cited

Cohen, Robert. Theatre: Brief Version. 6th ed. New York: VonHoffmann, 2003

Milch, Robert J. Cliff Notes on Sophocles'Oedipus The King, Oedipus At Colonus & Antigone, Ed. Gary Carey. Nebraska: Cliff Notes, 1999

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Tragic Hero : Oedipus The King Essay

- ... Oedipus learns that the king of Thebes has been killed, and as his reward for relieving the city of Thebes of the Sphinx’s curse he has been granted to now rule the kingdom and seek justice for the king’s murderer. “The Killer, whoever it may be, could kill again And lay those deadly hands on me. As I serve this cause, so I serve myself. Now quickly, my children, up off the steps, Take your boughs of supplication and go. Call the people of Thebes to assemble here, And I will do everything. Apollo be with us, He will reveal our fortune- or our fall.” –Oedipus (Sophocles, 2015)....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Tiresias, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Oedipus : A Tragic Hero Essay

- "Children, young sons and daughters of old Cadmus, why do you sit here with your suppliant crowns?", Oedipus asks his people unknowing that the answer given would set off a series of ill-fated events for the inquirer himself. The people of Thebes ask Oedipus to find a way to end the blight plaguing their city. In search for an end to this madness a prophecy is revealed that in order for the plague to end a man must be cast out of Thebes. A man who killed his father became husband to his mother and father to his brothers and sisters....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Sophocles, Tragic hero]

Strong Essays
1450 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Oedipus The King : A Tragic Hero

- ... The servant meant to leave Oedipus on the hilltop spares him, enabling his adoption by the royal house of Corinth. Ironically, rumors of his birth lead Oedipus, like his father before him, to entreat the oracle at Delphi, who repeats dire the prophecy. “The central ambiguity… [is the] problem of how to interpret an oracular utterance.” His path is thus directed toward the fulfillment of the prophecy, “… divine purpose is an ever-present controlling factor.” The actions and direction of each character and event lead to the dreadful climax....   [tags: Tragedy, Sophocles, Oedipus, Poetics]

Strong Essays
1239 words (3.5 pages)

King Oedipus as The Classical Greek Tragic Hero Essay

- King Oedipus as The Classical Greek Tragic Hero In his Poetics, Aristotle defined the term 'tragedy' as 'a man not preeminently virtuous and just, whose misfortune, however, is brought upon him not by vice or depravity, but by some error in judgement' the change in the hero's fortune must not be from misery to happiness, but on the contrary, from happiness to misery'. From this definition, he further expanded it by defining the profile of the Classical Greek tragic hero, basing it on what he considered the best tragedy ever written, Sophocle's Oedipus Rex....   [tags: Oedipus Tragic Hero Essays]

Strong Essays
1356 words (3.9 pages)

The Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King Essays

- "Writing About Drama" in the book, Literature for Composition, describes the world's greatest plays written before the 20th century as either tragedy or comedy. In a tragic play, the tragic hero usually does some fearful deed which ultimately destroys him. The main character of a tragic play does a good deed which in turn makes him a hero. This hero reaches his prime, and in the end a fearful deed which he had committed earlier, ultimately destroys this man once called hero. Oedipus the king of Thebes is an example of this tragic hero....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Strong Essays
632 words (1.8 pages)

Oedipus the King as a Tragic Hero Essay

- Oedipus as a Tragic Hero According to Aristotle's theory of tragedy and his definition of the central character, Oedipus the hero of Sophocles is considered a classical model of the tragic hero. The tragic hero of a tragedy is essential element to arouse pity and fear of the audience to achieve the emotional purgation or catharathis. Therefore, this character must have some features or characteristics this state of purgation. In fact, Oedipus as a character has all the features of the tragic hero as demanded by Aristotle....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Strong Essays
954 words (2.7 pages)

tragoed Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)

- Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King In the introduction to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sophocles defines a tragic hero as one who "[behaves] admirably as a man, [but who] is nevertheless tripped up by forces beyond his control and understanding..." (Sophocles 76).  In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic hero. The force that "trips up" the hero is fate, or, moira. It is Oedipus's actions that set the events into motion,  but it is ultimately his fate, and his attempted aversion to it, that brings about his downfall....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Strong Essays
1213 words (3.5 pages)

Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero Essay

- A tragic hero, as defined by Aristotle, is a man who is great but also terribly flawed, who experiences misfortunes while still remaining admirable to the audience at the end of the play. One of Aristotle’s favorite works, Oedipus the King, a play by Sophocles, is a play that above all others, defines the meaning of what a true tragic hero really is. In the play, Oedipus the King, the story unfolds after Oedipus unintentionally kills his own father and goes on to marry his mother. The events of the play are tragic, but it is the way that Oedipus handles the tragedies that make him a tragic hero....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
750 words (2.1 pages)

Oedipus the King, a Tragic Hero Essay

- Oedipus, a tragic hero Sophocles's Oedipus Rex is probably the most famous tragedy ever written. Sophocles's tragedy represents a monumental theatrical and interpretative challenge. Oedipus Rex is the story of a King of Thebes upon whom a hereditary curse is placed and who therefore has to suffer the tragic consequences of fate (tragic flaws or hamartia). In the play, Oedipus is the tragic hero. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1712 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero

- Sophocles said that a man should never consider himself fortunate unless he can look back on his life and remember that life without pain. For Oedipus Rex, looking back is impossible to do without pain, a pain that stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. He freely chooses to pursue and eventually accept his own life's destruction. Although fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his undying quest for the truth ruin him....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
693 words (2 pages)