The Hero In Oedipus Essay

1338 words - 5 pages

My literature professor, Dr. Rhoda Sirlin, asked the class one Saturday afternoon whether Oedipus was a victim of fate or of his own actions. I ventured to say that maybe it was his destiny to suffer, but Dr. Sirlin asked me to explain why Oedipus, in the act of gouging his eyes out, cries explicitly: No more, no more shall you look on the misery about me, The horrors of my own doing! Too long you have known The faces of those whom I should never have seen, Too long blind to those for whom I was searching! From this hour, go in darkness! (Sophocles 830) Clearly, Dr. Sirlin pointed, Oedipus was aware that he alone was responsible for his actions. Moreover, Dr. Sirlin also stressed the fact that if Oedipus was not responsible for his actions, then he could not be viewed as a tragic figure since he would be a mere puppet of fate or the gods. I was not prepared to argue one so scholarly as the professor, so I stayed silent. Roy, the loquacious spokesperson of the class, and the professor then discussed Oedipus's explosive temper whether it was a tragic flaw or not, as seen in what the professor aptly called the earliest recorded incident of "road rage." Dr. Sirlin believed that his volatile temper was one factor that contributed to his downfall. I cannot remember now the salient points of Roy's argument, but I do recall that I partook in the debate by urging the class to look at Oedipus as a hero who was trying to assert his rights, as a hero who was trying to defend his honor, when he slew those who violated his right of way on that fateful day where the three highways came together: There were three highways Coming together at a place I passed; And there a herald came towards me, and a chariot Drawn by horses, with a man such as you describe Seated in it. The groom leading the horses forced me off the road at his lord's command; But as this charioteer lurched over toward me I struck him in my rage. The old man saw me And bought his double goad down upon my head As I came abreast.He was paid back, and more! . . . I killed him. I killed them all. (Sophocles 819) I tried to support my contention by repeating what my history professor, Dr. Martin Pine, taught me about the hero: the hero prizes above all else his honor and the excellence of his life. When his honor is at stake, all other considerations become irrelevant. My argument, -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Juanico 2 however, failed to sway Dr. Sirlin's opinion in my direction. She concluded that Oedipus's inability to control his violent anger was a tragic flaw or what the ancient Greeks called hubris. Two ideas kept recurring in my mind as the class finally ended that afternoon: fate and the hero. I knew instinctively that the thesis for my paper lay buried in those two concepts. After much arduous searching and sleepless nights reading, I now believe that fate victimized Oedipus, but he was a tragic figure since he was not a puppet of fate or...

Find Another Essay On The Hero In Oedipus

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 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 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

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

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

Comparing the Hero in Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Homer's Odyssey, and Tan's Joy Luck Club

2662 words - 11 pages Heros in Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Homer's Odyssey, and Tan's Joy Luck Club         In world literature, there are two types of archetypal protagonists, the mythic hero and the tragic hero. Mythic heroes, like Homer's Odysseus, represent the combination of superhuman virtues and human imperfections. These traits create a supernatural adventure with a realistic character. The mythic hero is favored by divine powers and eventually

The Fall of A Tragic Hero: Oedipus The King

1521 words - 6 pages 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

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

Is Oedipus The True Trajic Hero? about "Oedipus Rex" by Sophocles

572 words - 2 pages Is Oedipus The True Tragic Hero?Aristotle described tragedy in his poetics 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 judgment... the change in the hero's fortune must not be from misery to happiness, but on the contrary, from happiness to misery". He went on further to describe Sophocles's Oedipus Rex as the best tragedy ever written, as it

Agree or disagree with the following statement: Oedipus is more of a hero than Odysseus. You will also need to define "hero".

612 words - 2 pages makes his journey more difficult. In Homer's "The Odyssey" and Sophocles, "Oedipus the King", the epic heroes Odysseus and Oedipus' differences vary slightly, not so much where you can say one is more of a hero than the other. The statement Oedipus is more of a hero that Odysseus can neither be agreed with nor disagreed with.Odysseus is unique among epic heroes in that his strength comes not from inhumane powers or exceptional physical ability

Similar Essays

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 Tragic Hero Essay

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

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 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