Essay on Oedipus and Tragic Hero

Submitted By ccakamaggie
Words: 1723
Pages: 7

It is revealed that Oedipus is a member of the ruling/higher class, which fulfills one of the characteristics of a tragic hero. However, the truth behind his birth destroys him. In the scene where the Old Man is brought before Oedipus for questioning, the truth is uncovered. Long ago when Oedipus was only a child, he was sent away from his home to the Old Man because of a prophecy that Oedipus would one day kill his father and marry his mother. During the questioning, the Old Man is unaware that Oedipus is the baby boy who was sent him and when the Old Man says he received the boy from Laius, who was the former King of Thebes, it is now known that Oedipus is of royal descent. Oedipus is set apart from other common people because of his royalty and terrible destiny, but mainly it's his prophesied doom. Because Oedipus is of royal descent he is a natural born leader and is of higher status than other people, which makes him unlike others, giving him heightened powers. His ill-fated destiny sets him even further apart from others. In the play Oedipus describes his fate while he is speaking to the Messenger when he says, "Why, Loxias declared that I should one day marry my own mother, and with my own hands shed my father's blood." That is a fate which sounds more like a curse; therefore, Oedipus is set apart from common men. Oedipus's fate is a combination of several factors. To try and change his own fate, which was given to him by the oracle, Oedipus tries to keep himself away from his parents. However that does absolutely nothing for him. His fate was affected by an outside source when the old man saved his life while he was just a baby. Another factor that affected Oedipus's fate was the will of the gods, for they gave him the prophecy in the first place. As the play progresses, Oedipus becomes more and more alone, for he drives his family and friends away from himself. He does this by refusing to believe what others are telling him. Throughout the play Oedipus speaks with numerous people who tell him of his unknown past and of his ill-fated prophecy, but out of stubbornness he casts them away because he does not like what they are telling him. Oedipus continues to do this, for he has become obsessed with the prophecy and he vows to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, Jocasta, Oedipus's wife and unknowingly also his mother, advises him not to seek the truth of who his original birth parents were. Despite her pleads, Oedipus continues his search and Jocasta leaves the scene shouting, "O woe, woe, unhappy! This is all I have to say to thee, and no word more, for ever!" Jocasta therefore must have realized Oedipus was her son because she committed suicide in her bed chamber, in order to prevent even more suffering. Oedipus is revered as an intelligent man by the people of Thebes and is asked for help when the city is in crisis. Oedipus shows his brightness even before he is King by solving the riddle of the Sphinx that pestered Thebes. So, knowing of Oedipus's knowledge, the priest comes to him and asks for his help in ridding the Thebes of the plague. " thou art named, and known, our life's establisher. Thee therefore, Oedipus, the mightiest head among us all, all we thy supplicants implore to find some way to succour us, whether thou knowest it through some voice from heaven, or, haply of some man." Oedipus offeres his help and devotes himself to finding Laius's murderer, in order to cure to city. Oedipus does learn through suffering throughout the story. He learns that destiny has been set in stone by the gods. No matter what he does, he cannot prevent his life from spiraling out of his control and eventually hitting rock bottom. As the play progresses he learns more about his past. Every time he learns something new about his past, he sees that his life becomes more and more corrupted. For instance, when he was talking to the old man he learns that his prophecy had