The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex Essay

The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex Essay

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The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex


According to the ancient Greeks and Aristotle the hero is a person who possesses superior qualities of mind and body, and who proves his superiority by doing great deeds of valor, strength, or intellect. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex the main character Oedipus possesses these characteristics of a true hero, which in turn lead to his self-destruction.

In the beginning of the play Oedipus's great intellect is made known by the chorus who see him as someone who has proven his wisdom, someone who has single-handedly saved Thebes in years present from the Sphinx, and someone who is adored by his people. He displays his great intellect when the priest declares:
You freed us from the Sphinx; you came to Thebes and cut us loose from the bloody tribute we had paid that harsh, brutal singer. We taught you nothing, no skill, no extra knowledge, still you triumphed. A god was with you, so they say, and we believe it-you lifted up our lives (Sophocles 1226).
Another sign of Oedipus's intellectual achievement is his self-blinding. Though he may not see the world with his eyes, he can now see his true self, and what he was. To me personally Oedipus is a kind of symbol of the human intelligence which cannot rest until it has solved all the riddles, even the last riddle, the riddle of his own life.

The hero, being blessed with superior qualities of mind and body, loved to engage in battle, preferably with another hero, since combat gave him the best chance to demonstrate his
physical strength. D. Brendan Nagle, author of The Ancient World: A Social and Cultural History, contends that the hero was always belligerent because he regarded combat as, "the ultimate test of human valor, strength, and ability"...


... middle of paper ...


...to pursue it or to let it find us, and Oedipus chose to seek his out even when others told him not to; and this is what makes Oedipus a true tragic hero.




Bibliography:

WORKS CITED

Dodds, E.R. "On Misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex." Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Michael J. O'Brien. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1968. 17-29.

Nagle, Brendan D. The Ancient World: A Cultural and Social History. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1979.

Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. Illinois: Passport Books, 1988.


Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Fifth edition. Boston: Bedford, 1999. 1224-1265.


Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Interpretations Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1998.

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