Fate chose him to kill his dad, marry his mom, and discover it all in Oedipus Rex, Sophocles’ tragedy. Oedipus was so determined to save Thebes from the plague bestowed on them by Apollo. But little did he know that he was the source of it all. His constant reversal of fortune, neutrality, and suffering make him the perfect example of a classic Greek tragic hero.
One moment, Oedipus is brimming with hope; the next, he’s sure that he is the killer of his father, King Laius. Every time Oedipus thinks that it can’t possibly be him, evidence proves otherwise. His wife, Jocasta, attempts to prove his innocence but “lets out part of the dire secret by her allusion to the ‘triple crossroads’” (Haigh). By attempting to assist Oedipus, she makes matters worse by causing him to remember his terrible assault upon several travelers at that very place. But then, the reversal comes in. Along comes a messenger with news of King Polybus’ death, which gives Oedipus false hope: “…but [Polybus] is dead and buried, / And I am here – I never touched him…” (Oedipus Rex. II. 3. 919-920). He now thinks that he couldn’t have killed his father, because he’s under the assumption that Polybus was his dad, when in reality Laius is his real father. Anyway, with yet another reversal of fortune, he reaches the deciding moment where he breaks down. When the shepherd that saved him from certain death on Mt. Cithaeron many years ago reveals the truth to Oedipus, he can do nothing but completely break down: “Ah God! / It was true! / All the prophecies!” (II. 4. 1119). The man that saved him in the first place dissolves all of Oedipus’ “hope,” as Oedipus comes to the ultimate realization that although he went to such great lengths, he could not avoid fulfilling ...
... middle of paper ...
In the end, Sophocles pours all of this reversal, neutrality, and suffering into one character, and it works out very nicely. The end result is a perfect tragic hero that ties the whole story together. Oedipus makes the tragedy a great one. From the noble quest of trying to save Thebes from the plague, to the discovery of the truth of his crime: Oedipus took the full journey of the typical tragic hero, and it ended with his ultimate fall.
“A.E. Haigh.” Theatre Database. January 18, 2007
Costas and Switzer, Ellen. Greek Myths: Gods, Heroes and Monsters: Their Sources, Their Stories and Their Meanings. New York City: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1998.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. World Literature. Writers, Susan Wittig Albert, et al. New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 2001.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Fate chose him to kill his dad, marry his mom, and discover it all in Oedipus Rex, Sophocles’ tragedy. Oedipus was so determined to save Thebes from the plague bestowed on them by Apollo. But little did he know that he was the source of it all. His constant reversal of fortune, neutrality, and suffering make him the perfect example of a classic Greek tragic hero. One moment, Oedipus is brimming with hope; the next, he’s sure that he is the killer of his father, King Laius. Every time Oedipus thinks that it can’t possibly be him, evidence proves otherwise.... [tags: Oedipus Rex, 2014]
866 words (2.5 pages)
- Oedipus the King, Sophocles’ classical Greek tragedy, presents tragic flaw(s) as the cause of the near-total destruction of the life of the protagonist. This essay examines that flaw. In his essay “Sophoclean Tragedy” Friedrich Nietzsche agrees that there is an “error” within the protagonist, but refrains from specifying exactly what it is: The most pathetic figure of the Greek theatre, the unfortunate Oedipus, Sophocles takes to be a noble man called to error and alienation in spite of his wisdom, yet called too, in the end, through monstrous suffering, to radiate a magic power rich in a blessing which works even after he passes on.... [tags: Oedipus the King Essays]
3574 words (10.2 pages)
- The Tragic Flaws of Oedipus Rex At one time in our lives there is a moment that we may think of ourselves as better than someone or something else. There may also be a point when making a decision leads to a great error in judgment. In the play Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, both of these characteristics can be seen in the main character. These characteristics are known as tragic flaws. These flaws are known as hubris meaning excess pride, leading to overconfidence, and hamartia meaning errors and weakness in judgment.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
695 words (2 pages)
- The Tragic Flaws in Oedipus Rex and Death of a Salesman "Oedipus Rex" and "Death of a Salesman" are two examples of tragedies. In these two plays the characters are good, but not perfect, and their misfortunes are the result of their tragic flaws. Blindness and vision are used as motifs in the play "Oedipus Rex," which are also the tragic flaws of the hero. Vision refers to both literal and metaphorical blindness. The frequent references to sight, light, eyes, and perception are used throughout the play.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
408 words (1.2 pages)
- The Hamartia of King Oedipus “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live,” (Robert Kennedy). A tragic flaw is a trait in the hero character within a literary piece which leads to the individual’s downfall. The play Oedipus The King, a play by Sophocles, follows a man as he tries to discover the murderer of the former King in order to end a plague. The main character, named Oedipus, has tragic flaws which leads to his deposition in the end. Oedipus obtains a lack of self knowledge, resulting in his constant denial of his true identity and causes his search to be prolonged.... [tags: Oedipus the King, Oedipus, Sophocles, Tragic hero]
1027 words (2.9 pages)
- Oedipus the King tells the tragic story of Oedipus and how Oedipus unwittingly fulfills his prophecy. Oedipus prophecy was that he would murder his father and marry his mother. Oedipus grew up in the kingdom of Corinth where he believed that he was the son of the Kings of Corinth; when Oedipus discovered that he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother, Oedipus decides to leave Corinth and try to prevent the prophecy from happening. Unknowingly to him during his escape from his destiny, Oedipus murderers his father and eventually marries his mother and fulfils the prophecy.... [tags: Oedipus, Family, Tiresias, Sphinx]
1946 words (5.6 pages)
- In the epic, Oedipus serves as the king of Thebes, who is told by many of a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Also, he will have children who will also be his siblings. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus exemplifies his anger, hubris and status in very specific ways. When Oedipus sends for Tiresias the blind prophet to inform him of what he knows about the murder. Oedipus becomes angry that Tiresias will not tell hi. He goes as far as to blame Tiresias as the cause of the murder.... [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Tiresias, Tragic hero]
1328 words (3.8 pages)
- Tragically Flawed While his intentions were well meaning in the beginning, Oedipus finds himself weighed down by his own flaws. Tragically his flaws cause him to lose focus of his true objectives and damn himself to a life of misery. The tale of Oedipus depicts his rapid descent from Oedipus, savior and king of Thebes to Oedipus Tyrannus the man who slew his father and married his mother. Since Oedipus has so many tragic flaws there is a plethora to choose from. However, if Oedipus’s tragic traits could be described with two words it would be arrogant and imperceptive.... [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Tragic hero, Sophocles]
1291 words (3.7 pages)
- 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, Tragic hero, Tragedy, Family]
1420 words (4.1 pages)
- Oedipus and his flaws Oedipus's Inextinguishable Flaws Flaws plague every man and woman on this planet. Flaws are what we have in common with each other, and all characteristics that make us human. Sophocles's Oedipus, shows that sometimes the combination of certain flaws and other human characteristics can have a tragic outcome. The caring King Oedipus was paranoid and short tempered, and these characteristics brought him to his downfall. From the beginning of the story Oedipus is depicted as a noble caring man.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
474 words (1.4 pages)