A True Tragic Hero Essay

Submitted By mdhammonx3
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Aristotle defined the term tragedy as “A tragedy is the imitation of n action that is serious an d also, a s having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language; in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.” He further expanded this definition by defining the profile of the tragic hero, basing it on what he thought was the best tragedy ever written, Sophocle’s Oedipus the King. According to Aristotle, a tragedy should amount to the hero’s good deeds and power, a tragic flaw where the hero makes destructive errors in judgment which soon leads to his downfall, which is a tragic realization in which Oedipus understands how he has unknowingly helped to bring about his own downfall and the absence of freewill in the tragic hero’s destined life. Oedipus was a great ruler who possessed compassion and sympathy. When the priests of Thebes approached him asking for help on behalf of the townspeople who were suffering from death and famine, Oedipus agreed and promised them that he would whatever it took to solve the problems, saying that his heart carried “the weight of his own” and “all of his people’s sorrow”’. He promised to “bring everything to light”. In addition, Oedipus was also a good child. When he first heard about the prophecy in Corinth, he didn’t want to stay and immediately left. Such circumstances would ever lead him to kill his father and marry is mother.
Oedipus’ high position was also shown in the play, not only through his title of the king of Thebes, which placed him higher than the nobles, priests and common people, but also through his intelligence. When the Sphinx cursed the city by blocking the city gates and eating those who could not answer its riddle, which was “what is it that goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at midday, and three feet in the evening?" Oedipus was the only person able to make the Sphinx leave with the correct answer of “man”. This is what led him to becoming the king of Thebes which in turn led to his superiority of ranking. On the other hand, Oedipus was not a perfect man. His tragic flaw consisted of stubbornness, impulsiveness and most of all, his high dignity in which he highly admired himself. On his way to Thebes, he met an entourage. There, the leader of the horse-drawn carriage ordered him to get out of the way. Oedipus became very upset and killed everyone in the entourage due to his foolishness, which led to crowning of King and his pride, to his downfall. When Oedipus was later crowned King of Thebes and committed to find the killer of the former King Lauis in order to save his people from the plague, he asked the blind prophet Teiresias to come to Thebes and speak the truth of the rumors that surrounded Lauis’ death. Although he was hesitant at first, he finally revealed that it was Oedipus who murdered King Lauis. Oedipus did not believe him and ridiculed him by calling him names like “insolent scoundrel”. His dignity and arrogance refused to let him believe that he had really done wrong by murdering his father. His arrogance blinded him while he was in search of King Lauis’ killer. He felt as if he had nothing to lose and was persistent in bringing forth the truth, disregarding the warnings of Teiresias and Jocasta, whom was his wife and mother. Oedipus displays his flaws in both negative and good intentions. His desire to lift the plague from his people, also led him to discover the truth of his horrible future. All these errors in his judgment led to his destruction and he finally realized that he had unknowingly carried out Apollo’s oracle and ensured his destiny by leaving Corinth and murdering King Lauis, giving the correct answer to the Sphinx’s riddle and as a result becoming the king of Thebes and also through his pursuit of the truth of King Lauis’ death. Like most Greeks, Oedipus also had no freewill. He had…