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Analysis of Oedipus as a Tragic Hero

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Oedipus is a great king whose parents abandoned on the mountainside and choose to kill to stop evil prophecy from happening to them. His name is derived from his “swollen feet” where he was bound to be killed. He is the main character in the epic play “Oedipus the King” and was originally from Thebes before being taken to Corith where he was adopted and raised by the Corinthian King and Queen Polybus and Merope. Baur Micheal, an assistant professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington describes a hero in his article titled “Lesson of a fallen hero; O.J. Simpson story makes public face the dark line between excellence and evil” as an everyman who embodies the highest and noble of human qualities, and a man who has earned his or her good reputation through individual effort and risk. Also, Liang Junging a Chinese Foreign Language teacher in her scholarly journal titled “On Tragic Heroes” affirms Aristolean’s theory of tragedy as the change of a decent man undergoing a change from good fortune to bad fortune because his n the epic movie “Oedipus the king” that made him a tragic hero.

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The first character flaws of Oedipus in the epic movie “Oedipus the king” that made him a tragic hero is Pride. Pride, they say goes before destruction. The struggle of great Greek heroes with extraordinary strength could be developed in the direction of human goodness or depravity because being a hero in Greek meant living perpetually and precariously in the vicinity of ruin. Oedipus being a hero has a great confidence which enabled him to confront the Sphinx and thereby setting the people of Thebes free from their bondage. However, it this same confidence that “rigidified” into arrogance and prevented him from knowing the suffering that he had brought upon his people. Oedipus being a king was highly reverence by his people, and he was raised with wealth by his foster Corinthian parent is no doubt a strong warrior. However, his believe in his strength and ability made him think he could change destiny. For instance, instead of him to humbly ask for the way to appease the gods to avert such evil prophecy when the priest told that he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, he arrogantly ran away to a faraway place as far as Thebes. Moreover, his pride as a heir to a throne and the son of the king of Corinth made him kill his father king Laius. If Oedipus humbly obeyed the king’s messengers who obstructed his way when he was running to Thebes, and explained the reason why he was running away, he would not have killed his father or her action is seen disgusting. When these two definition are combined together, Oedipus can be described as a tragic hero. This paper will be examining the character flaws of Oedipus.

Another character flaw of Oedipus in the epic movie “Oedipus the king” that made him a tragic her is anger. Oedipus was a temperamental king who was always consumed by anger. His expressions of anger affected his decision making throughout the play. For example, Oedipus became angry when the priest were to his house to find out about his biological parents told him that he was going to kill his father and marry his mother. Out of annoyance, he ran away to a faraway place as far as the foes where his doom was waiting for him. It was with this anger that he met the king of his messenger who tried to stop him and he killed all of them including his biological father king Laius without knowing except for one count messenger who was lucky to escape the death. Also, his angry nature led to knowing his true identity. Shortly after he was made the king and married his mother Jocasta a plaque erupted which signifies that something bad is happening as children were being killed of one disease or the other. Then the need to consult Tiresias the priest. Tiresias a blind courageous and strong man who always try to solve his people’s problem every time because of the respect he has for the king came to the king’s court to solve the problem. On getting to the king’s court, he asked how their king was killed, but nobody knew. Jocasta told them that the messenger in the king’s court that escaped death came back and narrated how they were attacked by a thieves and the thieve killed the king. Nevertheless, the priest who knew what happened did want to divulge the secret, so he told Oedipus to let it go that everything will take shape. Oedipus being a temperamental person became angry and cursed Tiresias calling him a blind man who cannot see anything. This made Tiresias get angry too and pronounced that Oedipus will die.

Overzealousness is another character flaw of Oedipus in the epic play “Oedipus the king” that made him a tragic hero. When Oedipus sent Creon to Tiresias the priest who has never given them any false information, the priest told him to let it go that everything will die with time, but Oedipus being a zealous king insulted Tiresias and decided to get to the root of the matter. It was in this process that a messenger from Corinth brought the news of his father’s death. Initially, he was happy that he was not the one that killed his father. He thought he had been able to avert the evil prophecy until the messenger from Corinth told him that a messenger from this court gave Oedipus to him. Immediately, he became curious and asked for the court messenger. His zealousness made him wanted to get to the root of the matter which led to his mother suicide and him removing his eyes.

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On the other hand, if critically examined, the tragic fall of Oedipus could be blame on some people in the play. Jacosta Oedipus biological mother could be regarded as the genesis of the tragedy in the play. If Jacosta who knew about prophesy of not having a child did not deceive her husband to impregnate her, the tragedy would not have happened. Jacosta cunningly got her husband drunk and became pregnant. She did not even bother to do something to terminate the pregnancy at an early stage to avoid the trouble, but left the pregnancy until birth. After given birth she now decided to kill the baby. If she has obeyed the gods Oedipus would not existed left alone ended up as a tragic hero.

Another person to be blame for Oedipus predicament is Polybus and Merope the king and queen of Corinth. When Oedipus was playing with his mate, and they told him he was an adopted child at the Polybus and Merope were not real parent he became angry and ran home and ask his parent. But they told him to ignore them rather than sat him down and narrated everything to him. If Oedipus has known the real truth about his real identity from Thebs, he might not have killed his father, king Laius and would had avoided getting married to a Thebean let alone his mother Jacosta. The gods are also to be blame for making such pronouncement on an innocent unborn baby. It was Laius Oedipus father that sin by killing a child, and the god place a curse on him that he’s not going to have a child. And if he does the child would kill him and marry his wife. If the god has curse Laius alone maybe by saying he alone would die, Oedipus would not have been a victim of fate.

Having examined the character flaws of Oedipus that made him a tragic hero and led to his tragic end, it is obvious that both scholars definition of a tragic hero is a perfect description of Oedipus in the epic movies. However, people should stop seeing the mistake of “highly positioned “people as been tragic because they are also human and not angel. Rather individual should start assuming that if they are in such position, they can make such mistake, therefore, a hero change from good fortune to a bad fortune should not be seen as tragic but should be embraced with love and second chance.

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Analysis Of Oedipus As A Tragic Hero. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-oedipus-as-a-tragic-hero/
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Analysis Of Oedipus As A Tragic Hero. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-oedipus-as-a-tragic-hero/> [Accessed 13 Apr. 2021].
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