This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Fall Of A Tragic Hero: Oedipus The King

1521 words - 6 pages

Greek theatre was developed out of religious needs. This proves to be an effective way to ensure that its citizens understand fate. The Greeks belief of the time is that one’s fate is predetermined at birth and cannot be altered. A tragedy is a very serious issue of great importance that focuses on one topic. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, sets the structure for what makes a tragic hero. A tragic hero comes from nobility and rises to greatness; has a dramatic downfall secondary to his or her own hubris; recognizes his or her part in the downfall; and prompts fear and pity in the audience through his or her terrible fate (“Aristotle’s ideas About Tragedy”). Sophocles exemplifies Aristotle’s perfect tragic hero in Oedipus the King. The fate of Oedipus is to become a tragic hero.
Soon after arriving to the city of Thebes, Oedipus a great thinker, solves the riddle of the Sphinx and hence ends the Sphinx’s reign of terror on the city and is proclaimed king. He is then called the “noblest of men!” (Sophocles. Prologue. 46). A hateful plague has taken over the city and leaves it barren. The people of Thebes have come to their king, Oedipus and ask for his help. Oedipus has saved the city once before and has been raised to the status of king for his efforts. He is proud of his status and enjoys being their rescuer so, therefore, he will do what it takes to save them once again. (Cook 4). He states that “to do all that he can / to help another is man’s noblest labor” (Sophocles. Episode I. 319-320). Creon, Oedipus’s brother-in-law, has been to see a prophet who informs him that the city is polluted by the inhabitance of the murderer of King Laius and the plague will not be lifted until the perpetrator is no longer amongst them. Determined to “save the day” Oedipus announces to the people of Thebes that if anyone knows who the murderer is, they must step forward or be exiled from the city. He continues, “all men shall drive him from their homes: for he / is the pollution that the god-sent Pythian / response has only now revealed to me” (Sophocles. Episode I. 246-248). Oedipus is a noble and honorable man and he states that “if he is at my hearth / and in my home, and I have knowledge of him, / may the curse pronounced on others come to me” (Sophocles. Episode I. 254-256). Oedipus believes that he is going to save the people of Thebes but in reality he is the one destroying them.
Not only is Oedipus inadvertently destroying the people of Thebes with his insistence in the pursuit of the murderer of Laius; but this will also be the cause of his own downfall. Tiresias the seer, refuses to reveal who the murderer of Laius is, Oedipus becomes outraged and begins to accuse Tiresias of betrayal. Both Oedipus and Tiresias continue to argue and their tempers rise to the point of madness, until Tiresias breaks and states:
I charge you to abide
by the decree you have announced: from this day
say no word to either these or me,
for you are...

Find Another Essay On The Fall of A Tragic Hero: Oedipus The King

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

Oedipus: The Reign of a Tragic Hero

1667 words - 7 pages based off of early Greek mythology. These dramas were most likely written by one of the famous Greek authors, Aeschylus, Euripides, or Sophocles. According to The Ancient History Encyclopedia, tragedy plays were based on serious topics that taught a moral of right and wrong. An important part of every Greek tragedy was the incorporation of a tragic hero. In the famous play Oedipus the King, the writer, Sophocles, promotes added emphasis on this main

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, The Tragic Hero

1926 words - 8 pages and shocked a lot of people that such a great hero could fall so low. When Oedipus was running away from Corinth to end the prophecy he killed four men. Killing is something not condone in the Greek society, especially not killing a king. “[H]earing you just now…makes my thoughts race back and forth….. I think I’ve just called down a dreadful curse upon myself – I simply didn’t know” (pg.1150- 1151). Oedipus came to a realization that he might

Oedipus: The Tragic Hero

1380 words - 6 pages the Aristotelian view of the tragic hero and its effects on Oedipus's actions and behaviors throughout the play.In the poem, "Oedipus the King" the main character, Oedipus, shows continuous signs of his tragic heroism. From the beginning of the poem, Sophocles introduces the protagonist, Oedipus and demonstrates Aristotle's stage of hubris. His prideful characterization is shown in his beginning monologue, "Here I am - myself - you all know me, the

The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex

1835 words - 7 pages for a moment, his enemy wins and he looses. Creon then asks, "What do you want? You want me banished?"(Sophocles 1241). Oedipus responds, "No, I want you dead"(Sophocles 1241). After Oedipus has accused Creon of plotting to kill the king, Creon tells Oedipus that he does wrong when he takes good men for bad, bad men for good, and in time Oedipus will know this well. Every tragic hero has a downfall Oedipus' fall from grace begins with his self

King Oedipus as The Classical Greek Tragic Hero

1352 words - 5 pages 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

Oedipus-tragic King And Hero

567 words - 2 pages own hand," and of wedding his mother "O marriage, marriage! The act engendered me, and again the act performed by the son in the same bed." These deeds did, however, lead to his ultimate redemption and his ability to 'see' more clearly.In his decisions, Oedipus acts as both a king and a tragic hero. After his revelation, he does not act the way a common man might. Instead he does what he swore he would do to the killer of Laos -- he exiles

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

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

945 words - 4 pages accept his own life's destruction. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him. Oedipus’ pride, strung from his own heroic qualities, is one factor that ruined him. A hero prizes above all else his honor and the excellence of his life. When his honor is at stake, all other considerations become irrelevant. The hero "valued strength and

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

Oedipus The King: A Greek Tragic Hero

518 words - 2 pages and prosperous.” Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is clearly shown by the main character in the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Oedipus, the protagonist in this Greek tragedy, is exemplary of Aristotle’s idea of a “tragic hero.” In Oedipus the King, Oedipus, the main character is a great man who saves the city of Thebes from the plague of the Sphinx by answering an extremely difficult riddle. Everything is going for him. He

Oedipus The King: A Greek Tragic Hero

1141 words - 5 pages Many Greek tragedies include a central character known as "the tragic hero." In the play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, the character Oedipus, portrays to the reader the necessary, central, tragic hero. According to Aristotle, "a tragic hero has a supreme pride" (Jones. Pg. 133). That pride is a reflection of arrogance and conceit that suggests superiority to man and equality with the gods. Students of religion are often taught that

Oedipus The King: A Tragic Hero

1009 words - 4 pages Tragedies have been written, told, and acted out for a number of years. Aristotle defined in his book, Poetics that a tragedy is to arouse the emotions of pity, fear, and finally a catharsis, or purging of emotions. A tragic play that perfectly completes this cycle of emotions is Oedipus the King by Sophocles. This play follows a king of the town of Thebes through his journey of the emotions of pity, fear, and finally a catharsis. It is a tale

The Tragic Fall Of Oedipus In Oedipus The King

817 words - 3 pages Tragic Fall Of Oedipus Rex in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex The tragic fall of Oedipus in Sophocles play “Oedipus Rex” is both self-inflicted and result of events drawn from his own destiny. First off early on in Oedipus’ life his first deadly mistake towards succeeding his self-inflicted downfall was the murder of his father the former king. In a blind rage without any motive, he kills Liaus and his men at a rode crossing. Fate may have had led