Oedipus the King Sophocles

Topics: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Oedipus the King Pages: 3 (1100 words) Published: October 8, 1999

2) Is Oedipus a Tragic Hero?

Answer this question demonstrating specific understandings of the concepts of Tragedy and the Tragic Hero.

In the Greek play, "King Oedipus" written by Sophocles, certain characteristics, which determine the traits of a tragic hero, reveal themselves as the play unfolds. These traits enable readers to enjoy a more enhanced reading of the play and also serve to evoke a particular response from the reader.

Readers acknowledge that King Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is he is an important and influential man. He isn't just looked up to because he's the king; he is genuinely admired and respected from the people of Thebes who come to seek comfort and advice from Oedipus, the "wisest in the ways of the gods." This is demonstrated in the opening of the play when King Oedipus appears and is concerned about what ‘his' people are worried about. Readers acknowledge King Oedipus' wisdom and love; "I would willingly do anything to help you." Through this quote readers respond favorably towards this character as readers are aware that King Oedipus actually genuinely cares about his people and Thebes as he steps down from the throne and makes the effort to correspond with the people and get to the bottom of the dilemma.

King Oedipus can also be classified as a tragic hero because he is not perfect but most certainly has tragic flaws, one of them being excessive hubris and self- righteousness and he refuses to believe anyone who doesn't agree with himself. This is evident in the beginning of the play when Teiresias and Oedipus are debating about who killed Laios. Hence readers are aware through the following quote, "Do you think you can say such things with impunity?" that King Oedipus has a strong passion for the truth and high moral standards. As the play progresses further, King Oedipus' hubris becomes more prominent as he is determined to find out about his birth no matter what...
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