Pride And The Tragic Hero In Oedipus Rex And Othello

1225 words - 5 pages

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 contemporaries also praise him as "brave Othello" (2.1.37), and they declare that he "commands / Like a full soldier" (2.1.35-36). Oedipus and Othello have the nobility that a true tragic hero must have, yet this nobility is only the armor that covers the true weakness that lies within each man.

Although they show it in different ways, Oedipus and Othello both suffer from a similar character flaw, the sin of pride. Oedipus' pride is revealed in his belief that he is greater than the gods. He believes that he is capable of establishing his own destiny apart from the gods' control or help. When the priest, at the beginning of the story, begs Oedipus to help the people in the time of famine and trouble, he states: "It was God / That aided you, men say, and you are held / With God's assistance to have saved our lives" (43-45). The priest is referring to Oedipus' answer to the riddle of the Sphinx, which delivered the people of Thebes from the Sphinx's oppression. Later, however, Oedipus' pride is revealed when, speaking of the same event, he says: "But I came, / Oedipus, who knew nothing, and I stopped her. / I solved the riddle by my wit alone" (433-35). Othello also suffers from the hamartia of pride. His pride, however, stems...

Find Another Essay On Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello

"Oedipus Rex", Aristotle's Tragic Hero Essay

744 words - 3 pages Oedipus, by Aristotle's standards is a tragic hero. Oedipus fits the description of the necessities of a tragic hero, and the story follows the guidelines set for a tragedy. Oedpius is easily considered good, conveys an in-character and appropriate behavior, he is imperfect and life like, and his traits are consistent. Oedipus is a character of noble stature and has greatness, while still embodying virtue and nobility. This being said, Oepidus

tragoed Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) as Ideal Tragic Hero

1267 words - 5 pages Oedipus Rex as the Ideal Tragic Hero If we give ourselves up to a full sympathy with the hero, there is no question that the Oedipus Rex fulfills the function of a tragedy, and arouses fear and pity in the highest degree. But the modern reader, coming to the classic drama not entirely for the purpose of enjoyment, will not always surrender himself to the emotional effect. He is apt to worry about Greek fatalism and the justice of the

Oedipus-tragic King And Hero

567 words - 2 pages the potential consequences to himself. As both king and tragic hero, Oedipus ultimately chooses exile in order to punish himself and to save his country.By crowning him king, the people of Thebes entrusted Oedipus to make decisions that would keep Thebes prosperous. He accepted this as his role and attempted to act in their best interest. From his opening line, "my children" to his final exile and Creon's comment, "leave your children," he held

Examining the Tragic Protagonists of "Oedipus Rex" and "Hamlet"

651 words - 3 pages Tragedy can be defined as the downfall of a protagonist through some fatal error or misjudgment, producing suffering and insight on the part of the main character and arousing pity and fear on the part of the audience. Of all the characteristics of tragedy, one is most important: the tragic hero must be essentially admirable and good. In both the common tragedies, “Oedipus Rex” and “Hamlet”, both main characters are generally good. In either

Oedipus: The Tragic Hero

1380 words - 6 pages act and Oedipus's excessive pride only helps foreshadow conspiring tragic events.Aristotle's explanation of the tragic hero describes the flaw or error of judgment leading to his reversal of fortune. In the beginning of the play, "Oedipus Rex", the main character Oedipus exemplifies order and authority in society. He uses his power to instruct rules and laws amongst the people of Thebes. In the opening act of the play, the people of Thebes see

Othello - The Tragic Hero

792 words - 3 pages Othello: The Tragic Hero In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello is the tragic hero. He is a character of high stature who is destroyed by his surroundings, his own actions, and his fate. His destruction is essentially precipitated by his own actions, as well as by the actions of the characters surrounding him. The tragedy of Othello is not a fault of a single villain, but is rather a consequence of a wide range of feelings, judgments and

Oedipus the King's Tragic Flaw in "Odeipus Rex" by Sophocles.

742 words - 3 pages "Oedipus Rex" is the classic play by Sophocles about the tragedy of a man by the name of Oedipus. After studying Oedipus Rex, interesting questions arise to mind. For example, why was Oedipus saved from death in the mountains when he was a baby? Does Oedipus' character flaws lead him to a tragic end? Also, what message can we get from this story today, as modern day interpreters?"It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, who brought to fulfillment all my

Oedipus as a Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King

1473 words - 6 pages suffering” (DiYanni). The combination of the tragic hero’s character traits and the storyline he or she follows make the tragedy an actual tragedy rather than a depressing story with a sad ending. In Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Oedipus embodies the traits that a tragic hero should have, including being greater than the average man and possessing an ultimately benevolent character, while also following the plot line that a tragic hero must by coming to

tragoed The Tragic Figure of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)

945 words - 4 pages , and the herdsman all try to stop Oedipus, but he must read the last riddle, that of his own life. As the truth unfolds, the people of Thebes see Oedipus "as prideful and overweening," and they "call on Zeus to correct his pride" (Sewall 36). The hero's conscious choice to pursue and accept his doom makes him a tragic figure. Oedipus Rex single-handedly ruined his own life through his overweening pride. Oedipus' pride as a hero, a loyal

Oedipus Tragic Hero

523 words - 2 pages Jaritza Molina 9/17/2014Prof. Dwamina English 205-004Is King Oedipus a tragic hero?The King Oedipus is the hero of 'Oedipus Rex', because he does great deeds and shows great power or strength. For example, he saves his people from an oppressive tax burden. He rules so well and wisely that Thebans respect him personally and professionally.But Oedipus also is tragic, because he undergoes a miserable reversal of fortune. That reversal results from

Oedipus: A Tragic Hero

693 words - 3 pages Oedipus: A Tragic Hero Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King is Sophocles’s first play of “The Theban Cycle.” It tells the story of a king that tries to escape his fate, but by doing so he only brings about his downfall. Oedipus is a classic example of the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a basically good and noble person who causes his own downfall due to a flaw in his character

Similar Essays

Tragic Flaws Of Othello And Oedipus Rex

1449 words - 6 pages the weakness of pride, which will bring them shame and losses. These flaws would unquestionably lead to their tragic endings. Pride is a fatal characteristic that is the major weakness of Othello and Oedipus. Not only did pride bring about the collapse of their lives, but brought death and agony to those that surrounded them. In Othello, Iago was toying with Othello’s pride (his major weakness). In doing that, Othello came to believe that his

Sophocles' Oedipus Rex: Oedipus, The Tragic Hero

762 words - 3 pages the only person responsible for the catastrophe in Thebes. Oedipus is described as a tragic hero because he is a king whose life falls apart when he finds out his life story. There are a number of characteristics in him that describe him and identify him as a tragic hero. For example, a tragic hero must cause his own downfall, his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime, he also must be of noble stature and have greatness

Pride In Oedipus And Othello Essay

1725 words - 7 pages Pride in Oedipus and Othello      In literature, the tragic heroes Oedipus and Othello allow the pride they have to cause their own demise by putting too much emphasis on the lives they have created for themselves. Oedipus, who blinds himself after finding out he has killed his birth father and married his birth mother, refuses to believe he has truly fulfilled his fate because he is so proud of what he has accomplished since he left

The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus Rex

1835 words - 7 pages 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