ENG 111 Composition and Interpretation of Literature – Exam III
Due Date: May 13, 2014
Professor S. K. Martin
What constitutes a character to be considered a tragic Hero? In the play Oedipus the king, Oedipus shows all the traits of a tragic Hero. The characteristics of a tragic Hero is defined as “Noble, Heroic and Fate”, according to The California State University, Sacramento (web) The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Noble” as a personal quality people admire, “Heroic” as having or showing great courage and “Fate” to die or suffer in a particular way. Oedipus displayed all the qualities of a “tragic hero”. “But we know how great you are, Oedipus, greater than any man. When crisis struck, you saved us here in Thebes…” (52,53 pg.1047) are the words from the priest speaking on behalf of the people of Thebes, words of admiration. The priest continued with saying, “you faced the mysterious, strange disasters hammered against us by the gods.” (54 pg.1047) he further said, “we paid our own flesh to the Sphinx until you set us free.” (56 pg.1047) these are words of heroism. The people of Thebes admired Oedipus so much to the point that they made him King. Oedipus’ fate was to suffer, Jocasta’s last words were, “God help you, Oedipus – you were born to suffer, born to misery and grief…” (1354-59 pg.1082) The life Oedipus once knew changed forever when he found out the truth that he was the killer; from that point on he knew nothing but suffering until the day he died. Even though Oedipus gouged his eyes so to never see again, his blindness will never stop him from seeing the vision embedded in his memory permanently; this a particular way of suffering, which defines “fate”.
Oedipus loved the people of