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Oedipus Rex Essay Assignment

941 words - 4 pages

Explained by Aristotle, the characteristics of a good tragic hero must be “better than we are,” a man who is superior to the average man in some way. A man one might say closely resembles Oedipus Rex. But Oedipus is more imperfect than perfect, as he commits his actions in haste and is unable to see what is happening around him. His hamartia was the main reason for his downfall. In the play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus demonstrates his errors in judgement through his hubris, blindness, and foolishness and therefore is at fault. Oedipus’s great hubris led him to a path where he couldn’t come back from. His blindness and ignorance to the truth caused Oedipus to take actions that he thought would aid him escape the prophecy told by the oracle. His actions justify the line of events that occur in the play.

Oedipus’s hubris led him to a path where he couldn’t come back from. Oedipus grew up as the Prince of Corinth but as he discovered at a banquet that he wasn’t the true son of King Polybus. He immediately left for the oracle at Delphi. “To his questions regarding his parentage the oracle was silent; instead it repeated to him the curse it had uttered to Laius some twenty years previously.” (Sophocles, 18) Oedipus thought he could prevent himself from killing Polybus, by leaving Corinth. Even though he left in hurry because of the words from an unknown man and repeated words of the oracle, could have been proven in Corinth from the servant and Polybus. But Oedipus’s poor judgement in leaving Corinth caused him to further the curse. His ego made him commit deeds he wouldn’t have done before. Oedipus lived the life of the prince of Corinth. He did posses any qualities that contained a strong ego or greed. But once he fulfilled the prophecy, his position as King of Thebes came with its disadvantages. His social standing made the truth harder to bear. Later on in the play during a flashback to the time where he crossed the three highways, Oedipus tells Jocasta about his journey to Thebes. In his memory, he recalls, “The groom leading the horses/ Forced me off the road at his lord’s command;/ But as this charioteer lurched over towards me/ I struck in my rage.” (Sophocles, 53) Oedipus’s inability to control his hubris resulted in the death of King Laius, the real father of Oedipus, which he discovers later. The oracle’s words should have made Oedipus more cautious in his actions but he became in an angered state where he was unable to control his temperament. Oedipus’s unwillingness to control his hubris displayed through his error in judgement resulting in a dangerous path to come back from.

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