The Tragic Hero In Sophocles Othello And Oedipus

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What classifies as a tragic hero has seemingly gone unaltered through centuries of literature. Many characteristics of classic tragic heroes such as Shakespeare’s Othello, and Hamlet, and Sophocles’ Oedipus, are practically paralleled in characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Willy Loman from modern works of literature. Nobility through strength-whether mental, emotional, or physical can be recognized as a heroic trait of literary tragic heroes. What commonly identifies these characters as “tragic” heroes is their inability to complete their quests, or even lead themselves to self-knowledge; the possession of a tragic flaw assimilates all tragic heroes within literature. While these tragic hero traits can be traced through different eras …show more content…
This is caused by their recognition as noble figures by the public, this contributing to their confidence, and leading to their downfall; they are the cause of their own destruction, making them “tragic” heroes. They are overcome with narcissism to an extent, and lose sight of their quest, or what they are supposed to obtain in their existential being. The consistent praise they are given becomes ego enhancement that ultimately fuels their tragedies. For example, Othello obtains the title "brave Othello" (Othello Act 2 Scene 1). He also receives recognition from the people as a born leader. Othello 's pride leads him to ignorance. He believes the lies that the villain Iago claims, over his wives true statements because he could never think his friend (or anyone for that matter) would do him wrong, granted he is a hero. Because he naively listens to his manipulating “friend” he murders his innocent wife. Pride causes him to lose what he valued most highly- his wife, his honor through position as governor, respect from the people and ending with the taking of his own life. Oedipus and …show more content…
This nobility is only the given outside perspective, shielding their internal battles-or character flaw. Oedipus thought of himself so highly that he does not even believe the prophecy (which are commonly inevitable) he is given. He thinks something so lowly is beyond anything he could be capable of, yet that is ultimately what had occurred. As he was blinded by his pride, he was fooled into who his true parents were; he killed his father and slept with his mother as the prophecy had proclaimed. The outcome and downfall of his pride are so destructive that he stabs himself in the eyes, for the moment he could see the sinful, immoral, life he led, he no longer wanted to. Pride blinds both Oedipus and Othello, simultaneously disguising their internal weakness. Hamlet also suffered from internal weakness, although his was revealed through his personality. His character can be recognized as a tragic hero, as similar to Othello and Hamlet he failed in his ultimate quest. Where they failed in their quest to self-knowledge, under the blindfold of pride, Hamlet failed in his quest for justice, limited by his tragic flaw. Whereas Shakespeare’s Othello

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