English 2, Period 6
8 April 2013
Tragedy Strikes All
“A tragic hero is a man in whom good and bad are mixed but in whom the good predominates and who, because of a tragic flaw, suffers a reversal of fortune.” As quoted by Aristotle. Both the stories of Macbeth by William Shakespeare and Oedipus by Sophocles portray two characters that encounter endless tragedy throughout their lives. Similarly, the role of Fate plays a major role is both novels, exemplifying that if there were no prophecies, there would be no story. In Macbeth, he receives prophecies that lead him to the conclusion that he must kill in order to accomplish his goal of ultimately becoming king. In Oedipus, he receives a startling prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Despite the many similarities between the two novels, the character that is most tragic is Oedipus because of the series of unfortunate events in which he cannot control. From his tragic flaw, to ignoring and running away from his fate, this character is more tragic then Macbeth. In every tragedy, the main character possesses a tragic flaw that ultimately will lead to their downfall. Oedipus has the tragic flaw of hubris meaning that he contains excessive pride. At the end of the play, the chorus concludes the play with regards to Oedipus’ hubris, “People of Thebes, my countrymen, look on Oedipus. He solved the famous riddle with his brilliance, he rose to power, a man beyond all power. Who could behold his greatness without envy? Now what a black sea of terror has overwhelmed him. Now as we keep our watch and wait the final day, count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last.” (Sophocles 1678-1684). By the chorus stating these final facts of Oedipus it suggests a link between the rise and fall of Oedipus. This ultimately concludes that Oedipus fell due to the fact he rose too high as a result as his excessive pride, or hubris. Macbeth also has a tragic flaw that shows...
Cited: Shakespeare, William, and A. R. Braunmuller. Macbeth. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
Sophocles, and R. D. Dawe. Oedipus Rex. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982. Print.
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