Oedipus The King: A Tragic Analysis

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A tragic hero is defined as “a [great] man who is neither a paragon of virtue and justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any real badness or wickedness but because of some mistake” (“Aristotle”, n.d.). Therefore, a tragic hero has some sort of tragedy that surrounds their life. A tragic hero also makes dramas more interesting and makes readers think. Dramas sometimes either exemplify or refute Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. Oedipus by Sophocles exemplifies Aristotle’s definition in four different aspects. The first aspect involves both Oedipus’ ignorance and knowledge of his life situations, the second involves his hamartia, the third involves the actual plot itself, and the fourth involves the characterization of …show more content…
According to Adade-Yeboah, Ahenkora, and Amankwah (2012), “Tragedy is of action and not character as Aristotle puts it” (p. 10). Therefore, Oedipus’ tragedy deals with his ignorance and not his character. Oedipus is ignorant in the fact that he does not realize he is committing patricide or incest (Adade-Yeboah et al., 2012, p. 11). Oedipus grows up knowing two opposite people that he thought were his parents, which leads to him killing his biological father and marrying his biological mother. Oedipus then goes on to search for his biological father’s killer and soon realizes that it was he himself who committed the atrocious acts toward his family. He came to this realization after it was revealed to him by an oracle. Originally, Oedipus believes that the man he originally kills is only just a shepherd, when in return it is his biological father. According to Greenburg (2012), “Oedipus has been told, and has come to believe, that at the end of his life and in death he will have the power to protect the city that has taken him and buried him” (p. 52). Oedipus maintains the belief that things will always be the way he knew them to be and he would be in charge of the city he knew and loved. He maintains this belief until an oracle reveals his misfortune. At first, Oedipus and his wife (biological mother) refuse to believe that what they were told is true. According to …show more content…
According to McManus (1999), “In a perfect tragedy, character will support plot, i.e., personal motivations will be intricately connect parts of the cause-and-effect chain of actions producing pity and fear in the audience” (Paragraph 5). The pity and fear in Oedipus is apparent throughout the story. Peter Struck (2009) states, “Oedipus dynamic and multi-faced character emotionally bonds the audience; his tragic flaw forces the audience to fear for him, without losing any respect; and his horrific punishment elicits a great sense of pity from the audience”(Paragraph 5). This pity helps reinforce the idea of a tragic hero, because Oedipus is not responsible for his flaws. Pity is displayed through multiple actions. One way pity is displayed is through Oedipus’ pleas to the god’s for forgiveness. Pity is also displayed as Oedipus punishes himself as well as receives punishment from Creon. According to Struck (2009), “In effect, Oedipus is dead, for he receives no benefits for the living; at the same time, he is not dead by definition, and so his suffering cannot end” (Paragraph 4). Despite atoning for his wrongdoings, Oedipus continues to suffer when the play ends. He suffers in the fact that he is blind and everything he once had and knew is no longer true for him. Oedipus blinds himself in order to pay for the sins that he committed against his family. This shows that Oedipus is not a coward and is able

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