Preview
Preview

Essay on Oedipus Is Not a Tragic Hero

:: 6 Works Cited
Length: 2026 words (5.8 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Aqua      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“Tragedy is an imitation of an action of high importance . . .” states Aristotle in his book Poetics (as cited in Kennedy & Gioia, 2010). Without a doubt, he observed and analyzed countless plays throughout his life and in Poetics, he writes a broad description of what a tragedy should contain (Kennedy & Gioia). Specifically, to Aristotle, tragedies require a “Tragic Hero.” What makes this literary character unique from the other heroes of literature? The most obvious and central difference is that the hero in question always experiences a disastrous reversal of fortune, which follows the recognition of a previously unknown truth (Kennedy & Gioia). He must be “a man not preeminently virtuous or just” (Poetics part XIII, trans. 1909), yet he still must be a “good person” whom the audience grows to respect and because of this, deeply pities and fears for throughout the play (Poetics part XIII). Despite being a person of high estate and influence, surprisingly, the hero in the Greek tragedy is someone we can relate to in his humanness. Furthermore, his fall “from happiness into misery” is “brought upon him not by vice or depravity but by some error of judgment” (Poetics part XIII)—his hamartia. The Oxford English Dictionary translates this Greek word as, “The fault or error, which entails the destruction of the tragic hero” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989).

With this in mind, many believe that King Oedipus in Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, is the perfect example of Aristotle’s tragic hero. Does he, however, truly fulfill all the “requirements” described in Poetics or is there something we miss in the depths of his fascinating and multi-faceted character that does not fit into Aristotle’s template? Without a doubt, Oe...


... middle of paper ...


... death, a memory without pain” (Oedipus exodus. lines 297-300).



Works Cited

Dodds, E. R., (1966). On misunderstanding Oedipus. In Kennedy, X. J., & Gioia, D., Literature an introduction to fiction, poetry, drama and writing (6th ed.). (pp. 900-901). Boston: Pearson

Error. (n.d.). In Macmillan Dictionary. Retrieved December 14, 2011, from
http://www.macmillandictionary.com

Hamartia. (1989). In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from
http://www.oed.com/

Kennedy, X. J., & Gioia, D. (2010). Literature an introduction to fiction, poetry, drama and
writing (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson

Knox, B. M. W. (1998). Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles tragic hero and his time. Retrieved from
http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy033.nclive.org

Pride. (2007). In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from
http://www.oed.com


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Tragic Hero: Oedipus by Sophocles Essays - After reading the play Oedipus by Sophocles and noting that Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is someone of high estate who has a fatal flaw and falls from their lofty position. (Kennedy and Gioia 856) I felt compelled to write about Oedipus because he seems to exemplify Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. Oedipus is the perfect example of a tragic hero because he is a noble of high estate and has a fatal flaw of Arrogance and pride. What comes out right away is that Oedipus is of noble decent....   [tags: Flaw, Pride]
:: 1 Works Cited
590 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Fall of A Tragic Hero: Oedipus The King Essay - Greek theatre was developed out of religious needs. This proves to be an effective way to ensure that its citizens understand fate. The Greeks belief of the time is that one’s fate is predetermined at birth and cannot be altered. A tragedy is a very serious issue of great importance that focuses on one topic. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, sets the structure for what makes a tragic hero. A tragic hero comes from nobility and rises to greatness; has a dramatic downfall secondary to his or her own hubris; recognizes his or her part in the downfall; and prompts fear and pity in the audience through his or her terrible fate (“Aristotle’s ideas About Tragedy”)....   [tags: greek, religious needs, fate, sophocles]
:: 6 Works Cited
1099 words
(3.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King Essays - "Writing About Drama" in the book, Literature for Composition, describes the world's greatest plays written before the 20th century as either tragedy or comedy. In a tragic play, the tragic hero usually does some fearful deed which ultimately destroys him. The main character of a tragic play does a good deed which in turn makes him a hero. This hero reaches his prime, and in the end a fearful deed which he had committed earlier, ultimately destroys this man once called hero. Oedipus the king of Thebes is an example of this tragic hero....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays] 632 words
(1.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Oedipus as a Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King Essay - The tragic hero has served as the foundation of Greek tragedy since its inception in ancient times. He or she serves as a rallying point for the audience to cheer for and mourn with throughout the story, and ultimately teaches the audience a lesson about human vulnerability and strength through defeat. A tragic hero is “a privileged, exalted character of high repute, who, by virtue of a tragic flaw and fate, suffers a fall from glory into suffering” (DiYanni). The combination of the tragic hero’s character traits and the storyline he or she follows make the tragedy an actual tragedy rather than a depressing story with a sad ending....   [tags: god, hero, greek theories]
:: 2 Works Cited
1197 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oedipus: The Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Antigone Essay - An Aristotelian Tragic Hero is characterized by seven different aspects; the tragic hero must have noble stature, be good but not perfect, have an error in judgment, have a downfall, go through catharsis, their punishment must exceed crime, and the audience must feel fear and pity for the character. The two plays Oedipus Rex and Antigone by Sophocles show the qualities of a tragic hero according to Aristotle using Oedipus and partially Antigone. The tragic hero title does not apply to a character that does not represent one or more characteristics....   [tags: judgement, pity, catharsis]
:: 2 Works Cited
833 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex Essay - The Tragic Hero of Oedipus Rex According to the ancient Greeks and Aristotle the hero is a person who possesses superior qualities of mind and body, and who proves his superiority by doing great deeds of valor, strength, or intellect. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex the main character Oedipus possesses these characteristics of a true hero, which in turn lead to his self-destruction. In the beginning of the play Oedipus's great intellect is made known by the chorus who see him as someone who has proven his wisdom, someone who has single-handedly saved Thebes in years present from the Sphinx, and someone who is adored by his people....   [tags: Papers] 1371 words
(3.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
tragoed Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) - Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King In the introduction to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sophocles defines a tragic hero as one who "[behaves] admirably as a man, [but who] is nevertheless tripped up by forces beyond his control and understanding..." (Sophocles 76).  In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic hero. The force that "trips up" the hero is fate, or, moira. It is Oedipus's actions that set the events into motion,  but it is ultimately his fate, and his attempted aversion to it, that brings about his downfall....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
:: 4 Works Cited
1213 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello - Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello     Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Most proud people will never consider themselves to be truly proud until they come face to face with the consequences of their pride. Sophocles and Shakespeare both address this dilemma in their plays Oedipus Rex and Othello. Through their nobility, their tragic flaws, the fall these flaws cause, and the suffering and wisdom they derive from these falls, Oedipus and Othello reveal the true character of the tragic hero and show the devastating consequences of pride....   [tags: Othello Oedipus Rex Shakespeare Sophocles]
:: 2 Works Cited
1208 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oedipus as a Tragic Hero Essay - Oedipus Rex as a Tragic Hero Before the twentieth century plays were mainly written as either a tragedy or comedy. In a tragic play the tragic hero will often do something that will eventually destroy him. In the book Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic hero. In this tragic play the main character, which is portrayed as Oedipus, will do a good deed that will in turn make him a hero. This hero will reach his height of pride in the story, and in the end the action, which he had committed earlier, will return and destroy this man who was once called a hero....   [tags: Oedipus the King] 353 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oedipus: A Tragic Hero Essay - Oedipus: A Tragic Hero Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King is Sophocles’s first play of “The Theban Cycle.” It tells the story of a king that tries to escape his fate, but by doing so he only brings about his downfall. Oedipus is a classic example of the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a basically good and noble person who causes his own downfall due to a flaw in his character. Oedipus is a man of noble blood; his parents, who raised him as a child, were King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
:: 1 Works Cited
671 words
(1.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]