Essay Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello

Essay Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello

Length: 1208 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello


    Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Most proud people will never consider themselves to be truly proud until they come face to face with the consequences of their pride. Sophocles and Shakespeare both address this dilemma in their plays Oedipus Rex and Othello. Through their nobility, their tragic flaws, the fall these flaws cause, and the suffering and wisdom they derive from these falls, Oedipus and Othello reveal the true character of the tragic hero and show the devastating consequences of pride.

Both Oedipus and Othello are distinguished by nobility: Oedipus by birth and deed and Othello by a distinguished career. Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Jocasta his wife, the king and queen of Thebes. Because of an oracle prophesying that King Laius will be murdered by his son, Oedipus is left to die in "the mountains where Cithaeron is"(1472). He is then rescued by a shepherd and raised by "Polybus. . . king of Corinth/and Merope, the Dorian" (834-35). Not only is Oedipus noble in his birth and upbringing, he is also noble in deed. Upon coming to Thebes as a young man, Oedipus answers the riddle of the Sphinx, who is terrorizing the citizens, and rids the city of this monster. In turn he is made King of Thebes and marries, unknowingly, his mother, the queen. Othello, on the other hand, is noble only by deed. He is a Moor and a barbarian by Venetian customs. He is an outsider, yet he is accepted by the Venetian people because of his distinguished career as general of the Venetian army. In defense of his lack of noble heritage, Othello asserts: "I fetch my life and being / From men of royal siege" (1.2.20-21). It is his rank that makes him noble. His contemporar...


... middle of paper ...


... Inc., 1966.

Ehrenberg, Victor. ?Sophoclean Rulers: Oedipus.? In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O?Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Murray, Robert D. Jr. ?Sophocles? Moral Themes.? In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

Neely, Carol. "Women and Men in Othello" Critical Essays on Shakespeare's Othello. Ed. Anthony G. Barthelemy Pub. Macmillan New York, NY 1994. (page 68-90)

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy. 5th ed. New York: Harper, 1991. 1046- 1133.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy. 5th ed. New York: Harper, 1991. 999-1039.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Tragic Flaws of Othello and Oedipus Rex Essay example

- The future is decided and determined for us by our actions and choices. Humans get to determine which path they desire to proceed along, even if it may seem like the wrong choice. The flaws that each human possesses also contribute to shaping our destinies. Just like in the tragic dramas, the hero of the play exhibits flaws that influence their demise and defeat. A tragic drama is defined as a drama where the hero, or the main character, is brought to devastation or to endure pain and distress. It is usually an outcome from one’s tragic flaw or weakness....   [tags: Othello, Oedipus Rex]

Strong Essays
1178 words (3.4 pages)

William Shakespeare 's ' Othello ' And ' Oedipus ' Essay

- Throughout history of mankind pride has been recognized as a precursor to destruction. We find numerous references to pride being the downfall of man in the Bible. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Men who choose to be prideful are often destined for great suffering. Famous author, C.S. Lewis says in his book Mere Christianity that, “the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice.” ( insert bib)....   [tags: Oedipus, Tragic hero, Othello, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1041 words (3 pages)

To What Extent are ‘Othello’ and 'Oedipus Rex' Perfect Examples of Tragedy

- ‘Othello’ was written between 1601 and 1603. It was first performed in the Elizabethan courts during the Christmas season. The idea of a ‘perfect’ tragedy is the idea that the tragedy is faultless; it does what is expected; so makes the audience feel empathy and sympathy for the characters who suffer. There are two different types of tragedy: classical tragedy and Shakespearean tragedy. The tragic hero in this play is the main character, Othello. Othello's misfortune comes about because of his jealousy, trust, and his pride....   [tags: Othello, Tragedy, shakespeare, theatre, Oedipus Re]

Strong Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

Othello as a Tragic Hero Essay

- Othello is a tragic hero because of his greatnesses and his weaknesses. He is a noble man who possesses all the qualities of a military leader, which he is. He has control over himself and shows courage as well as dignity. Just as Othello is a virtuous man there are some flaws within him, these flaws complete him ff as a tragic hero. Othello is often blinded by trust and can not see a person for who they really are. He trusts the people around him even when they mean to afflict harm upon him. Through this, it can be seen why Othello is one of the most tragic hero out of all the characters from Shakespeare’s many plays....   [tags: Othello, Tragic Heroes, Shakespeare, ]

Strong Essays
726 words (2.1 pages)

The Tragic Hero Of Othello By William Shakespeare Essay

- William Shakespeare’s “Othello” is a clear representation of the downfall of a tragic hero. Set in Venice and Cyprus during the 16th century, Othello, a moor, deals with the manipulative actions of a general of the Venetian army, Iago. Due to losing his desired position of being Othello’s lieutenant to another solider Cassio, he plots is revenge in deviousness. Othello becomes persuaded by Iago 's rumors, framing, and miscommunications, causing him to kill Desdemona, his believed unfaithful wife....   [tags: Othello, William Shakespeare, Tragic hero, Iago]

Strong Essays
949 words (2.7 pages)

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - The Paradox of Free Will

- A Paradox: Oedipus's Free will in the Play Oedipus Rex William Shakespeare once wrote, "Who can control his fate?" (Othello, Act v, Sc.2). A hero and leader must acknowledge above all else his honor, and the pride of his image.  In ancient Greek beliefs, a hero was a man who stood taller than the rest; he was able to better any conflict.  He did this not for himself or for any token award that may be given to him, but for the security of his fellow man.  Physical strength and superior wit are the two major characteristics of a hero.  These characteristics may be destined; but the use of them to help his fellow man is will.  Sophocles's short play Oedipus Rex is a tale of a hero's ascent t...   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Strong Essays
1309 words (3.7 pages)

The Tragic Hero Of Othello By William Shakespeare Essay

- In the fourth century, ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, defined the elements of tragedy in Poetics, the first book of literary criticism. He establishes the tragic plot by four components: hamartia, peripety, anagnorisis and catastrophe. Guiding the plot of a tragedy is a tragic hero, who Aristotle identifies with four qualities: a sympathetic character, realistic enough to be relevant to audiences, singular in purpose and appropriate behavior to his station in life. As few works can be correctly dubbed a tragedy, famed English playwright William Shakespeare’s drama, Othello, satisfies all elements....   [tags: Tragedy, Othello, Tragic hero]

Strong Essays
950 words (2.7 pages)

Essay The Tragic Hero Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex '

- According to Aristotle, the main function of a theatre production was to make impression on the audience. The emotional state of the main character is one of the most decisive factors for a successful theatre performance. The famous tragedy “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is the best known exemplification of Aristotle’s concept of the tragic hero and a perfect example of the key element of making an impression. The protagonist, Oedipus, is a strong leader, a righteous king and a famous man for his heroics making his grievous fall from grace that much more dramatic and emotional for the audience....   [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Character, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1284 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Tragic Heroes of The Iliad and Oedipus Rex Analysis

- Calvin Coolidge once said, “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion” (brainyquote.com). Heroes are among one of the most popular literary figures of all time. A Greek philosopher, Aristotle, wrote his notion of classic from of heroism called tragic heroism in his work entitled Poetics. In Poetics, Aristotle explains that there are certain qualities that a tragic hero has that can qualify him or her as tragically heroic. Two Grecian literary legends, Achilles from Homer’s Iliad and Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex, fit the description of an Aristotelian tragic hero....   [tags: Aristotelian tragic heroes]

Strong Essays
759 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about The Pride of Othello

- The Pride of Othello In Shakespeare's Othello, Othello's pride prevents him from finding the truth, eventually leading to his demise. Initially, Othello and Desdemona are deeply in love, despite her father's disapproval of their marriage. However, when Othello promotes Cassio instead of Iago to Lieutenant, Iago has his revenge by convincing Othello that Desdemona cheats on him with Cassio, destroying the marriage between Othello and Desdemona. Othello grows to meet his downfall when his trusted friend Iago causes him to think that his wife Desdemona is unfaithful....   [tags: Othello essays]

Strong Essays
921 words (2.6 pages)