The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus Essay

The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus Essay

Length: 1771 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Many things can describe a tragedy. However, according to definition of a tragedy by Aristotle, there are only five. The play has to have a tragic hero, preferably of noble stature. Second, the tragic hero must have a tragic flaw. Because of that flaw, the hero falls from either power or death. Due to the fall, the tragic hero discovers something. Finally, there must be catharsis in the minds of the audience. It fits all the characteristics as defined by Aristotle. The tragic hero of a play is a man of some social standing and personal reputation, but sufficiently like ourselves in terms of his weaknesses that we feel fear and pity when a tragic flaw, rather than an associate, causes his downfall.
The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the Greek tragedy, Oedipus is also an aristocrat. Born of the King and Queen of Thebes he is of true nobility. Oedipus on the other-hand believes his parents are the King and Queen of Corinth. Oedipus was abandoned as a baby and adopted by them. Because that information is known to the audience, and not to Oedipus prior to the start of the play, it is a perfect example of tragic irony because when he declares that he will find the murderer he is the man that he pursues. Here he is told by Tiresias,” I say you Laius’ murderer — He whom you seek.” (Sophocles 14). The theme of Oedipus the King is not clear-cut. The theme in this tragic play seems to be you can‘t escape your fate. Contentment leads to ignorance as Oedipus lends fate a hand in his bitter end. This trait is touched-on in these lines spoken by C...


... middle of paper ...


...tle in the poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body. Oedipus Rex qualifies as a “perfect” tragedy. Yet, Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy is somewhat considerably shortsighted. “Tragedy, then, is a process of imitating an action which has serious implications, is complete, and possesses magnitude; by means of language which has been made sensuously attractive…”(AS.O.T). When one wonders about a tragedy one thinks Horrific Devestation, and mass death and many sad things, when in theory, in all a tragedy can be summed up as much as it being, an aristocrat with excessive pride, and that makes them have a tragic downfall and it makes the audience change emotions quickly. Oedipus Rex fits each category Aristotle established thousands of years ago, making it The greatest of the classic Greek tragedies.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Tragic Hero Of Sophocles ' Oedipus The King Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
1420 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Sophocles ' Oedipus : A Tragic Hero

- Ever since man, has set foot upon the earth drama and tragedy has been the path chosen whether it is of ones own doing or of society’s traditional influences. Such is the case of Sophocles’ Oedipus. Oedipus, an infant born unto nobility, discarded by nobility, to be adopted into nobility and then to be chosen for nobility by the people, to be King of Thebes . To end up blinded by his own hand and led by his own daughter through the remainder of his life. It is in this manner that Sophocles choses to use the understanding of Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero to depict that life lesson for today’s audience....   [tags: Oedipus, Tragedy, Sophocles, Tragic hero]

Strong Essays
1192 words (3.4 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)

The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus Essay

- Many things can describe a tragedy. However, according to definition of a tragedy by Aristotle, there are only five. The play has to have a tragic hero, preferably of noble stature. Second, the tragic hero must have a tragic flaw. Because of that flaw, the hero falls from either power or death. Due to the fall, the tragic hero discovers something. Finally, there must be catharsis in the minds of the audience. It fits all the characteristics as defined by Aristotle. The tragic hero of a play is a man of some social standing and personal reputation, but sufficiently like ourselves in terms of his weaknesses that we feel fear and pity when a tragic flaw, rather than an associate, causes his dow...   [tags: Sophocles, Tragedy, Tragic hero, Poetics]

Strong Essays
1771 words (5.1 pages)

Oedipus The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus And Oedipus Rex Essay

- Oedipus the Tragic Hero Arthur Miller alters Aristotle 's definition of the tragic hero and tragedy; Miller suggests that the common man is capable of experiencing the tragedy of a king because they experience "similar emotional situations"(148). Miller points out that the tragic feeling is induced when the character gives up everything to try to guard his personal dignity. The character is flawed but not too faulty in order to be relatable to the common man. However, the character flaw that causes his downfall isn 't a weakness....   [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Poetics, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

The Tragic Hero : Oedipus The King Essay

- The Tragic Hero: In Oedipus Tyrannus. Is Oedipus a tragic hero. Oedipus in the play Oedipus rex, plays the villain, a murderer and even the role of a hero. As a tragic hero, Oedipus makes an error in judgement and is soon facing his own destruction and whose ultimate fate was determined by a self fulfilling prophecy. I believe that Oedipus becomes a tragic hero in Oedipus Tyrannus because he seeks justice for his father’s murder only to fulfill a prophecy of finding out he is actually the one who has killed his father....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Tiresias, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Essay The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus Rex

- Tragedy; it’s inevitable. In life, everyone is bound to experience a rough time. These rough times and flaws are what test a hero and build character. Someone experiencing hard times transforms an average person and his mistakes into something remarkable and heroic. What characteristics make him a tragic hero rather than just an ordinary person. A hero is a person who is admired for courageous acts, noble qualities and outstanding achievements. Despite possessing the same qualities as an ordinary hero, a tragic hero, who is born a noble birth and usually male, has a fatal flaw that ultimately leads to his ruin....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Jocasta, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus Rex Essay

- Tragedy; it’s inevitable. In life, everyone is bound to experience a rough time. These rough times and flaws are what test a hero and build character. Someone experiencing hard times transforms an average person and his mistakes into something remarkable and heroic. What characteristics make a him a tragic hero rather than just an ordinary person. A hero is a person who is admired for courageous acts, noble qualities and outstanding achievements. Despite possessing the same qualities as an ordinary hero, a tragic hero, who is born a noble birth and usually male, has a fatal flaw that ultimately leads to his ruin....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Jocasta, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Essay on The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus And Creon

- Being in a position of great power can cause one to think they are in control. Oedipus and Creon, in Sophocles’ plays, The Oedipus Cycle, find out that being a king is nothing in comparison to being a god. Throughout their lives of triumph that ended in misfortune, they learned great value from changing their ways and recognizing their stubborn pride. Oedipus was able to see his faults, much sooner than Creon, though their fate was inevitable. A tragic hero is one who makes a judgement error that ultimately leads him/her to his/her own destruction while also learning from the experience....   [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King]

Strong Essays
1359 words (3.9 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)