Oedipus Tragic Hero

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The foundations of Greek tragedy were laid down by the philosopher Aristotle in his famous "Poetics" which discussed the characteristics of a tragic hero. In this composition of philosophy and literary theories, Aristotle's ideas revolve around three crucial effects to audience members. First, the audience must develop an emotional attachment to the tragic hero. Next, the audience must fear what may befall the hero. Finally, once misfortune strikes, the audience pities the suffering hero. Clearly, for Aristotle's theory to succeed, the tragic hero must be a complex and well-constructed character, as is seen in Sophocles' Oedipus the King. Like any tragic hero, Oedipus elicits the three needed responses from the audience far better than most. …show more content…
Nobility is a main component of his character, which ensures that the audience has respect for him. The dynamic nature of Oedipus' nobility earns him this respect. First, Oedipus is actually the son of Laius and Jocasta, the King and Queen of Thebes. As well, Oedipus himself believes he is the son of Polybus and Merop, the King and Queen of Corinth. Thus, he is noble in the simplest sense because his parents, biological and assumed, are royalty. Finally, Oedipus' royalty and respect are attained when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx and is given dominion over the city as a gift. Thus, the audience develops a great respect and emotional attachment to Oedipus who is described as noble through his roots, and heroic through his …show more content…
Oedipus' peripety, his reversal of fortune, occurs after his anagnorisis, his discovery of the truth. In this specific case, anagnorisis and peripety occur when the oracle's information that Oedipus had killed his father and married his mother bring about his mother's death and his own blindness and exile. By blinding himself, Oedipus achieves a kind of surrogate death that creates more suffering. Oedipus' suffering does not end with the play when he goes into exile. Even so, the conclusion provides a sense of closure with the restoration of Thebes and the audience feels as if Oedipus' suffering will ultimately lead to a restored state of mind. This process by which emotional health is corrected is known as catharsis and is the final characteristic of a tragic

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