Oedipus Tragic Hero Essay

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In the fourth century B.C., a theorist of drama, named Aristotle, devised a definition for what he considered a tragic hero. He described a tragic hero as someone who was of noble statue, of good character, but possessed human-like flaws. Aristotle also stated that a tragic hero’s downfall was due to his or her own mistakes through free choice, not fate. The tragic hero was also described to have great misfortune that was not entirely deserved, ending in a fall, but not total destruction (Johnson and Arp, p.1249). In the drama, Oedipus Rex, Sophocles develops his tragic hero, Oedipus, through the establishment of noble stature, hamartia (tragic flaw), a downfall, and punishment greater than deserved; moreover, according to Aristotle’s …show more content…
The tragic flaw that seems to plague Oedipus was hubris and anger that causes him to make horrific errors in judgment. This excessive anger can be seen as it led to irrational behavior in him unknowingly killing his birth father, King Laïos, at the crossroads on the way to Thebes, marking this event a critical link that leads to Oedipus' downfall. As said in the article, “Philosophic Meaning in Oedipus Rex,” “The flaw of Oedipus is that his ability to think is impeded by a certain rashness, which is related to some degree with too much involvement with power and its subtly corrupting and alienating influences” (Coughanowr, p. 60). Oedipus’s anger results in his irrational decision of killing King Laïos, as well as the servants that were with him. Furthermore, Oedipus’s excessive pride, hubris, provokes an outburst of anger when Kreon and Teiresias attempt to help him solve the murder of King Laïos. Oedipus allows his pride and anger to overtake him: “Do you think I do not know That you plotted to kill me, plotted to steal my throne?” (Scene 2, lines 506-507). The lines explain how Oedipus accuses Kreon of trying to steal his throne, when Kreon is attempting to discover the truth of who killed King Laïos, as Oedipus requested. Oedipus’s pride causes his angry outburst towards Kreon, further revealing how his hubris and anger results in him making poor decisions, thus leading to his

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