Heroism In Oedipus Rex

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Heroes in our media embody characteristics that people desire. The shining faces in our books, movies, and TV shows function as proxies for our own self images. Throughout modern history, society’s artists have been free to experiment with a variety of different types of heroes, giving each individual the ability to align with whatever heroic characteristics they personally admire. For these reasons, you can learn a great deal about someone from whom he chooses as his heroes. Nora from A Doll’s House and Oedipus from Oedipus Tyrannus are very different types of people. Oedipus is a classic hero; he is intelligent, strong, and powerful. Nora’s heroism, by contrast, is more modern. She is not particularly intelligent or strong, and she comes …show more content…
He is unique for two of his most impressive feats—solving the Sphinx’s riddle and single handedly defeating Laius’ party—occur before the play has begun. Nevertheless, Oedipus is clearly presented as a hero from the opening scene. He shows empathy in wanting to save his people and he shows mercy in his murder investigation, decreeing that the perpetrator need only “quit the land, unscathed” (Sophocles 9). Even in his downfall, he maintains his integrity and exiles himself instead of covering it up or dismissing it as slander as is so expected of leaders today. It is clear to the reader that Oedipus cares deeply for his people because when his own self gain is pitted against the well being of his citizens, he puts his status, wealth, and everything he had become accustomed to below his civic duty. When we examine Oedipus through a scholarly lens, we see Oedipus as the epitome of classic heroism, but we must acknowledge the fallacy in this vision. Out of the context of the story’s famous reputation, one could certainly judge Oedipus to be unheroic. He lashes out rashly and irrationally, accusing both Tiresias and Creon of the murder with no evidence. He is blinded by prejudice, saying that the old shepherd who convinces him “deserve[s] a chiding” for telling him the unpleasant truths (41). Compounded with the fact that he committed such a heinous act, it is a worthy interpretation to not find Oedipus a

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