Oedipus the Tragic Hero

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In the play Oedipus the King we identify the classic tragic hero. The character Oedipus Rex plays the role of the tragic hero perfectly. He shows the three main characteristics being talented and of noble birth, possessing a tragic flaw that causes the downfall and pain of everyone, and the recognition of responsibility.

Oedipus’s first characteristic of being a tragic hero is being talented and of noble birth. Oedipus was talented because during his journey to runaway form his curse, the oracle foresaw for him. He stumbled upon the Riddle of the Sphinx in Thebes; Oedipus solved the riddle and was rewarded to be king and was given the old kings wife. (“You freed us from the Sphinx; you came to Thebes and cut us loose from the bloody tribute we had paid that harsh, brutal singer.” Line 44) As Oedipus was being rewarded for his talents no one knew that Oedipus was already of noble birth and was the true heir to this kingship. Only the blind prophet of Thebes Tiresias knew before anyone else found out that Oedipus was the old king’s son which made him nobility. (Line 373-375 hints it the strongest that Tiresias knows something that no one else does “None of you knows and I will never reveal my dreadful secrets, not to say your own.”)

The next characteristic that shows Oedipus playing the tragic hero was him possessing a

tragic flaw. Oedipus’s flaw was being a very narcissistic person. He might have been a good

leader for all the years that has past but he was very full of himself and made sure everyone

remembers that he solved the riddle of the sphinx even though it was many years ago. Another

thing was if his people had problems like the plague that was spreading no one was as sick as

him because to him he had to be number one no matter what the situation. Lines 71-73 show his

personality perfectly “Well I know you are sick to death, all of you, but sick as you are, not one

is as sick as I.” This personality of his stirred up a lot...
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