October 10, 2012
Upholding Jocasta as the Tragic Hero
What makes a tragic hero? Aristotle lays down groundwork of a tragic hero as being essentially good. They are neither villain nor saint because they have flaws. Several elememts are nevcesary to have a tragic hero, they are the tragic flaw, the reversal, recognition, and hubris. These generally make up the story of the tragic hero, and in the case of Jocasta, the wife and mother of Oedipus in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, she posses all three. Yet she is not truly considered a “tragic hero,” but a tragic character by many. However seeing as it is the character of Jocasta that sets the story in motion, and she posses the qualities in a tragic hero, she rightfully should be thought of as one. In the following paper Aristotle’s criteria in regards to Jocasta’s qualification as a tragic hero will be explored. The Play
Oedipus the King is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles about Oedipus, who, in an effort to save Thebes, askes advice from the gods. As he investigates the murder of Laius, the former king, he comes to find out that he killed him, fulfilling a prophecy foretold when he was a baby. The prophecy says that the son of Jocasta and King Laius will kill the king and sleep with the queen (Sophocles 1.1.785-790). In order to avoid this fate Jocasta leaves her child in the wild, believing him to have died. Oedipus is rescued and raised by King Polybus. Oedipus, when he is grown, hears this prophecy and believes it means he will kill King Polybus, so he flees. On his journey he encounters the party from Thebes, and kills his true father King Laius, then proceeds to wed his mother and have children with her, fulfilling the prophecy. When Oedipus discovers the truth he blinds himself, but not before Jocasta kills herself. Tragic Flaw
Many disregard Jocasta as a tragic hero; however the storyline clearly allows her to be regarded as such. One criteria for a tragic hero...
Cited: Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." Charters, A., Charters, S. Literature and Its Writers. Boston: Bedford St Martin, 2010. 1155-1199.
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