Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?


Find More Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?

Oedipus is neither a saint nor a rogue. Despite his qualities, he falls because of his mistakes. ... In terms of the Aristotelian theory of tragedy, Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is not perfect, but has tragic flaws. Aristotle points out that Oedipus' tragic flaw is excessive pride (hubris) and self-righteousness.

Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero

Character Analysis of Oedipus



Oedipus is Sophocles’ most tragic hero who kills his father king Laius and marries his mother Jocasta unknowingly that she is his mother. Oedipus’ brilliance, wit, and willpower serve him well in solving mysteries like the riddle of the Sphinx. His quest to reveal mysteries brings him to a fate which he tried to escape. He stands with his stance with determination thought the play.

Oedipus is a hero of great insight. At the opening of the play, Oedipus the King, we see that these qualities in his speech that make him an outstanding ruler.

When the citizens of Thebes beg him to do something to save the city from plague, Oedipus proves himself as a responsible leader and tells that that he has already taken initiative to know the cause of this malignant plague and possible solution to end it.

He has been a good ruler for Thebans, and in any catastrophe he acts decisively in favor of his city, but on other hand Oedipus lacks discretion and sometime acts rashly because of his pride in wit. When Creon returns from oracle, he hints sensibly that he want to tell the news from the oracle in private, Oedipus refuses and ask him to tell publically because he want to show how he eliminates corruption from city.

At the beginning of play, Oedipus is relaxed and confident. He is sure to overcome plague once more as he already has saved Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx and became king. His pride in performing his intellectual achievement (like solving riddle of Sphinx) before the whole city is clear in his speeches. His pride is vivid in his proclaim when he announces his name as though it were itself a healing charm:

“Here I am myself. You all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus” (Oedipus, the King, line 7 to 9).

However, by the end of this tragedy, his name will have become a symbol of disgrace and curse, so much so that, in second play of trilogy, Oedipus at Colonus, the Chorus is terrified even to hear his name and cries: “You, you’re that man?” (Oedipus at Colonus, line 238).

Making judgments hastily brings his doom. When Tiresias is not willing to tell the name of murderer, He becomes furious and acts rashly; even he blames his brother-in-law for conspiring against him. He threatens Tiresias and Creon to banish. He rebukes at prophet and counts his services made to Thebans including saving from Sphinx. He lacks patience and ignites quickly in his decisions. The way he threats shepherd to tell the truth, his moving towards palace after knowing truth, stabbing into his eyes, and begging for death or exile from Creon: all are his hastily decisions that contributes in his downfall.

Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero

Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?

  1. Open Free Essay
    Launch Free Essay and search for "Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?" to start researching.
  2. Find the perfect essay
    Choose from tons of different essay in various lengths, styles and themes. Find the perfect Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero? essay to find and customize for your brainstorming needs.
  3. Brainstorm ideas and themes
    Use the essays you found on Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero? and extract the ideas from them. Use those ideas for the basis of your own essay.
  4. Cite your essay
    Remember to cite any essays you used for your new essay.

Start a New Essay on Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?

Oedipus as Tragic Hero



Aristotle considers tragic hero as a ‘distinguished person occupying a high position or having a high status in life and in very prosperous circumstances falling into misfortune on account of a “hamartia” or some defect of character.’ In other words, a tragic hero should have high standing in the society. He should neither be a perfectly good nor utterly wicked person. He should be of intermediate type. The fall of this person from happiness to misery is the result of his tragic flaw.

King Oedipus of the play ‘Oedipus Rex’ has some of these qualities. Firstly, Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta. He is brought up by King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth. Afterwards, he became the king of Thebes. Thus from social point of view he is an eminent person indispensable for the city of Thebes. Secondly, he is also a man of good moral character, though not a paragon of saintly virtues. There are certain defects in his character which, along with his fate, lead him towards his downfall.

As a king, Oedipus was a perfect example of a dutiful king. He is a well-wisher of his people. He is a great administrator and intellectual. It is because of his dutifulness towards Theban people that he is highly respected by them. All the time he is ready to help his people. For example, he had saved Thebes by conquering Sphinx. He had already sent Creon to find out the cause of the sufferings of his people. When Creon announces the reason, he declares that he would find out the criminal and punish him.

He is presented as a man who believes in oracles. Actually, his belief in prophesies is the very basis of the play. He is a man of family. He is a devoted husband to Jocasta and a loving father to his daughters. Even his relations with other people are also cordial.

However, it doesn’t mean that he is a faultless person. He certainly has his own faults. He is a hot-tempered person. He quickly becomes angry first with Teiresias and then with Creon. He blames Creon of conspiring against him. This shows his arbitrariness and dictatorial tendency. His disbelief of Creon is presents him as a thoughtless person who prefers to behave as per his own whims.

Another aspect of Oedipus’ personality is his absolute pride in his wisdom. This feeling of pride is nourished as he solves the riddle of Sphinx. He boasts of his wisdom even in front of the prophet, Teiresias. It is his sense of pride that alienates some of the sympathy of the audience. His attitude of intolerance towards both Teiresias and Creon undoubtedly leads him towards his downfall. But his pride is not the direct cause of his tragedy. As he is already aware of the oracle, he is seen trying his best to avoid

the fulfilment of the prophecies. There is no any fault of his in his killing his father and marrying his mother. It was completely in a state of ignorance that he committed these crimes. But there is a scope to think that Oedipus could have avoided it if he would have behaved a little more carefully. Actually, it seems that it was possible for him to avoid the quarrel on the street. But it was because of his hot-tempered nature that he got involved in the quarrel which led to his killing King Laius and then getting married with Jocasta. But it would be wrong to say that it was only because of his hot-tempered nature that his tragedy occurred.

But Oedipus’ character proves that his tragedy lies in the discovery of his crimes. It seems that there was something in him which drove him towards discovery. Actually, Teiresias had refused to disclose the name of the murderer but Oedipus forced him to disclose it. We see Jocasta discouraging him from finding out the truths regarding the prophecies. But he did not pay any attention towards her. It is this insistence on the truth that leads to the discovery in which lies the tragedy.

In this way, Oedipus is a perfect tragic hero because his tragedy is as much due to his own faults as to the external forces. But we admire him for the way in which he endures his sufferings.

Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero

Related Essay Topics

Jocasta Oedipus How is Oedipus a Tragic Hero? Why is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?

FAQ

What long should essays be?

Generally, the length requirements are indicated in your assignment sheet. It can be words, paragraphs, or pages given as a range (300–500 words) or a particular number (5 pages). If you are not sure about your essay’s length, the number-one tip is to clarify it with your tutor. Also, if you’re not sure how to write an essay, we have a detailed guide on that topic, just follow the link.

What makes an effective essay?

An essay should have a single clear central idea. Each paragraph should have a clear main point or topic sentence. ... An essay or paper should be organized logically, flow smoothly, and "stick" together. In other words, everything in the writing should make sense to a reader.

What should be included on an essay?

A basic essay consists of three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this format will help you write and organize an essay. However, flexibility is important. While keeping this basic essay format in mind, let the topic and specific assignment guide the writing and organization.

What They say About Free Essay

I also want to thank http://freeessay.com , pantip and wikipedia for make it happens. #storytelling

@Gusgustt

Browse Essays

  • Oedipus The King Oedipus The King Oedipus The King The true Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), adheres to Aristotles (384-322 B.C.) definition of a tragedy. The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the Greek tragedy Oedipus is also an aristocrat. Born of the King and Queen of Thebes he is of true nobilit...
  • Death Of Salesman And Crucible Death Of Salesman And Crucible Death Of Salesman And Crucible Arthur Miller, winner of many literary and dramatic awards, is an incredibly influential force in American drama. His plays deal with issues common to every society. He makes the audience face fault, weakness, and ignorance; subjects we would typical hide from. At the same time he emphasizes strength, human spirit, and familial love. Alice Griffin believes that Miller\'s plays are important internationally (xii). He belongs to an international theater rather than a...
  • Hamlet Of Shakespeare Hamlet Of Shakespeare Hamlet Of Shakespeare Shakespeare\'s tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many portions of the play supports his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are indications from Hamlet throughout the play of his mind\'s well being. Hamlet\'s antic disposition may have caused him in certain times that he is in a roleplay. Haml...
  • Hamlet Hamlet Hamlet Misunderstood Shakespeare\'s tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many aspects of the play support his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. Throughout the play, there are indications from Hamlet that question his mind\'s well being. Hamlet\'s mood changes abruptly throughout the play. Hamlet appears to act mad when he...
  • Hamlet Madness Hamlet Madness Hamlet Madness Comment on Hamlet\'s madness. Do you think it was altogether assumed or can you offer evidence to suggest that Hamlet was not always in complete control of his action? Shakespeare\'s tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many portions of the play supports his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are indic...
  • Oedipus The King Oedipus The King Oedipus The King Sometimes humans try to avoid their inevitable destiny for their lives; there are moments that we may think of ourselves as invincible and smarter than what is already decided. There may also be a point when making a decision leads to a great error in judgment. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, both of these problems are noticed in the character, Oedipus. They are known as tragic flaws. A tragedy must have the character to have a flaw in his hamartia. Oedipus single f...
  • Antigones Tragic Hero Antigones Tragic Hero Antigone\'s Tragic Hero This analysis is to determine the character that fits the tragic hero profile; it was completely based according to the Aristotelian idea of tragic hero and it is understood that hero is: ...neither purely evil or purely wicked; the hero must born in the high social status, and he/she must possess a tragic flaw which is proper from the inner side of the character; it usually manifests in the form of poor judgment and or arrogance, condemning him/herself into a catastrop...
  • Sophocles Plays Sophocles Plays Sophocles Plays The classical Greek writers have given the world major literary themes. One such theme is Fate. According to Websters New World Dictionary of the American Language the word fate is defined as the principal or determining cause or will by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do: destiny(529). The Theme Fate is applicable to Oedipus and his lineage, in Sophecless three Theban plays: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Co...
  • EIGHT THEORIES OF RELIGION EIGHT THEORIES OF RELIGION EIGHT THEORIES OF RELIGION SECOND EDITION Daniel L. Pals University of Miami New York Oxford OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 2006 -iii- Oxford University Press, Inc., publishes works that furtherOxford University's objective of excellence in research,scholarship, and education. Oxford New YorkAuckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong KarachiKuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City NairobiNew Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices inArgentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France GreeceGuatem...
  • Classical Heroes in Modern Movies: Mythological Pa Classical Heroes in Modern Movies: Mythological Pa Classical Heroes in Modern Movies: Mythological Patterns of the Superhero Online publication date: November 18, 2004 Journal of Media Psychology, Volume 9, No. 3, Fall , 2004 By William Indick , Ph.D. Dowling College As the central figure in the film experience, the hero is the integral archetype in the collective unconscious of American culture. He is at once a collective and personal encounter, as each individual in the audience identifies personally with the hero's story, while the hero simu...
  • Drama Paper Drama Paper Drama Paper LIBERTY UNIVERSITY DRAMA RESEARCH PAPER C.GIVENS 10/5/13 HOW SOPHOCLES OEDIPUS EXEMPLIFIES OR REFUTES ARISTOTLES DEFINITION OF A TRAGIC HERO OUTLINE I. Introduction A reader is apt to become anxious regarding fatalism and the downfall of Oedipus. Aristotle discovers that the ultimate end of human undertaking is happiness, that is, doing an activity that the soul desires and is based on the true reason. Thesis: When pertaining to a Greek Theatre, it is essential to create a distinct...
  • Comparison of Hero and Government in Beowulf and O Comparison of Hero and Government in Beowulf and O Comparison of Hero and Government in Beowulf and Oedipus Rex Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon folk epic written by an unknown author. It was written sometime during the eighth century. Oedipus Rex is an Ancient Greek tragedy written by the playwright Sophocles sometime around 430 BC. Although the two works were written during two different time periods, in two different places, and are different kinds of literature, they can still be compared and contrasted. These two works contain many similarities an...
  • Hamlet Essay Hamlet Essay Hamlet Essay Comment on Hamlet\'s madness. Do you think it was altogether assumed or can you offer evidence to suggest that Hamlet was not always in complete control of his action? Shakespeare\'s tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many portions of the play supports his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are indicati...
  • Who Is the Tragic Hero, Antigone or Creon? Who Is the Tragic Hero, Antigone or Creon? Who Is the Tragic Hero, Antigone or Creon? This analysis is to determine the character that fits the tragic hero profile; it was completely based according to the Aristotelian idea of tragic hero and it is understood that hero is: ...neither purely evil or purely wicked; the hero must born in the high social status, and he/she must possess a tragic flaw which is proper from the inner side of the character; it usually manifests in the form of poor judgment and or arrogance, condemning him/hersel...
  • Oedipus The King Oedipus The King Oedipus The King Oedipus the King Why Didn\'t His Foster Parents Tell Him The Truth? Oedipus the King is the story of a man who was betrayed. Betrayed by the very people who gave him life and the very people who raised him. Oedipus was born to Laius and Jocasta the king and queen of Thebes. When Oedipus was born, they consulted an oracle that told them that he would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother. Fearing for their safety and the safety of their kingdom they had a servant take t...
  • Oedipus - A Victom Of His Own Human Nature Oedipus - A Victom Of His Own Human Nature Oedipus - A Victom Of His Own Human Nature What you dont know wont hurt you. This widely popular piece of advice directly applies to Oedipus. Unfortunately for Oedipus, he is incapable of following such advice. The story begins with the murder of Laius already in the past. As Oedipus learns of Laiuss death, he pursues knowledge of the tragedy and tries to expose the murderer to no end. It is inevitable that Oedipus finds out that it was he who has killed Laius, his father. Oedipus is a man of...
  • Death Of A Hero Death Of A Hero Death Of A Hero Death of a Hero Ryan Connelly February 20, 2001 Ib/AP English D.O.A.S. essay Is there anything that can evoke more emotion from an audience than a hero\'s downfall? The most effective plays in history, from Oedipus , the most famous of all tragedies, to plays like Romeo and Juliet , tragedies are always the plays with the greatest emotional impact on an audience. There are many critics who believe that tragedies can no longer be effectively written in today\'s world. These critic...
  • Oedipus:When Bad Things Happen To Good People Oedipus:When Bad Things Happen To Good People Oedipus:When Bad Things Happen To Good People Autumn xxxx English 102 April 6, 2000 When Bad Things Happen to Good People The true Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), adheres to Aristotles (384-322 B.C.) definition of a tragedy. The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the...
  • Antigone And Creon Antigone And Creon Antigone And Creon Many dramatic theorists have documented their opinions of Sophocles\' tragic play Antigone. They have presented their interpretations as to the motives and moral character of Antigone and Creon. I will attempt to encapsulate the basic logic behind the arguments of the critics Brian Vickers, A.C. Bradley (who interprets Hegel), and H. D. F. Kitto, and venture my own humble opinion as to their validity. Brian Vickers clearly favors the character of Antigone. He challenges Hegel ...
  • Hamlet Hamlet Hamlet Hamlet Essay Comment on Hamlet\'s madness. Do you think it was altogether assumed or can you offer evidence to suggest that Hamlet was not always in complete control of his action? Shakespeare\'s tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many portions of the play supports his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are i...
  • Was Antigone A Tragic Heroine? Was Antigone A Tragic Heroine? Was Antigone A Tragic Heroine? Was Antigone a Tragic Heroine? Tragedy, to be at its finest, requires a complex, not a simple, structure, and its structure should also imitate fearful and pitiful events. These words of wisdom come from the great philosopher Aristotle. Antigone, written by Sophocles, exemplifies Aristotles definition of tragedy, and more precise the tragic heroine. Antigone the main character/heroine in this tragic tale, risks her life to bury her brother Polyneices. As she ple...
  • Edgar Allan Poe was a bizarre and often scary writ Edgar Allan Poe was a bizarre and often scary writ Edgar Allan Poe was a bizarre and often scary writer. People throughout history have often wondered why his writings were so fantastically different and unusual. They were not the result of a diseased mind, as some think. Rather they came from a tense and miserable life. Edgar Allan Poe was not a happy man. He was a victim of fate from the moment he was born to his death only forty years later. He died alone and unappreciated. It is quite obvious that his life affected his writings in a great w...
  • Antigone And Creon Antigone And Creon Antigone And Creon Many dramatic theorists have documented their opinions of Sophocles\' tragic play Antigone. They have presented their interpretations as to the motives and moral character of Antigone and Creon. I will attempt to encapsulate the basic logic behind the arguments of the critics Brian Vickers, A.C. Bradley (who interprets Hegel), and H. D. F. Kitto, and venture my own humble opinion as to their validity. Brian Vickers clearly favors the character of Antigone. He challenges Hegel ...
  • The Character Change of Oedipus The Character Change of Oedipus The Character Change of Oedipus The character Oedipus in Sophocles drama Oedipus the King goes through an unfortunate but necessary character change. From a prideful, heroic king at the beginning of the play, to a tyrant in denial towards the middle, and finally to a fearful, condemned man, humbled by his tragic fate, Oedipus change personifies that which makes an unforgettable drama. When Oedipus is first introduced, he appears to be a confident, valiant hero and reasonably so. Taking into mi...
  • Oedipus the king Oedipus the king Oedipus the king Oedipus the King by Sophocles is about Oedipus, a man doomed by his fate. Like most tragedies, Oedipus the King contains a tragic hero, a heroic figure unable to escape his/her own doom. This tragic hero usually has a hamartia or a tragic flaw which causes his/hers downfall. The tragic flaw that Sophocles gives Oedipus is hubris (exaggerated pride or self-confidence), which is what caused Oedipus to walk right into the fate he sought to escape. Pride like that of Oedipus had ...