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Read this full essay on Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero.
The scholar Bernard Knox expresses that, “these attributes of divinity – knowledge, certainty, justice – are all qualities Oedipus thought he possessed – and that is why he was the perfect example of the inadequacy of human knowledge, certainty, and justice.” Oedipus is first held as the king of kings, and he believed himself to hold the knowledge he needed to act upon, yet this exact confidence led him to curse himself....
Sophocles in his tragedy, Oedipus Rex, teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior,” (4) and uses three women to help convey these principles of living.
So what makes him a tragic hero?
Only a brief reference can here be made to other motifs which seem to be more loosely related to the entire myth. Such themes include that of playing the fool, which is suggested in animal fables as the universal childish attitude toward grownups. They include, furthermore, the physical defects of certain heroes (Zal, Oedipus, Hephaestus), which are meant perhaps to serve for the vindication of individual imperfections, in such a way that the reproaches of the father for possible defects or shortcomings are incorporated into the myth, with the appropriate accentuation--the hero being endowed with the same weakness which burdens the self-respect of the individual.
In his work, Poetics, he defines a tragic hero as “...The man who on the one hand is not pre-eminent in virtue and justice, and yet on the other hand does not fall into misfortune through vice or depravity, but falls because of some mistake; one among the number of the highly renowned and prosperous.” Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero is clearly shown by the main character in the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King by Sophocles....
Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, is a great example of a Greek tragedy.
The complications of the hero legends with other myth cycles include (besides the myth of the hostile brothers, which has already been disposed of) also the actual incest myth, such as forms the nucleus of the Oedipus saga. The mother, and her relation to the hero, appear relegated to the background in the myth of the birth of the hero. But there is another conspicuous motif: the lowly mother is so often represented by an animal. This motif of the helpful animals belongs in part to a series of foreign elements, the explanation of which would far exceed the scope of this essay.
The duplication of the fathers (or the grandfathers) by a brother may be continued in the next generation, and concern the hero himself, thus leading to the , which can only be hinted at in connection with the present theme. The prototypes of the boy (who in the Cyrus saga vanish into thin air after they have served their purpose, the exaltation of the hero's descent), if they were to assume a vitality of their own, would come to confront the hero as competitors with equal rights, namely, as his brothers. The original sequence is probably better preserved through the interpretation of the hero's strange doubles as shadowy brothers who, like the twin brother, must die for the hero's sake. Not only the father (who is in the way of the maturing son) is removed, but also the interfering competitor (the brother), in a naïve realization of the childish fantasies, for the simple reason that the hero does not want a family.
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The play has to have a tragic hero, preferably of noble stature.
Seth Benardete in “Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus” portrays the protagonist in just one dimension of his well-rounded character, that of a suffering soul: Everyone else is ill, but no one is as ill as Oedipus, for all the rest suffer individually, while he alone suffers collectively....
Second, the tragic hero must have a tragic flaw.
Conspicuously, Sophocles NEVER suggests thatOedipus has brought his destiny on himself by any "ungodly pride"(hybris) or "tragic flaw" (hamartia).
Due to the fall, the tragic hero discovers something.
The impression is thereby conveyed that all the multiplications of Cyrus, after having been created for a certain purpose, are again removed, as disturbing elements, once this purpose has been fulfilled. This purpose is undoubtedly the exalting tendency that is inherent in the family romance. The hero, in the various duplications of himself and his parents, ascends the social scale from the herder Mithradates, by way of the noble Artembares (who is high in the king's favor), and of the first administrator, Harpagos (who is personally related to the king)--until he has himself become a prince; so his career is shown in the Ctesian version, where Cyrus advances from the herder's son to the king's administrator. In this way, he constantly
Oedipus Rex qualifies as a tragedy.
It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in Sophocles’ tragic drama, Oedipus Rex, whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.
As is common in the Greek tragedy Oedipus is also an aristocrat.
In the Greek play, “King Oedipus” written by Sophocles, certain characteristics, which determine the traits of a tragic hero, reveal themselves as the play unfolds.
"What is Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero?
occurs. The royal grandfather, Astyages, and his daughter, with her husband, are confronted by the cattle herder and his wife. A checkered gathering of other personalities which move around them, are readily grouped at sight: Between the highborn parent-couple and their child stand the administrator Harpagos with his wife and his son, and the noble Artembares with his legitimate offspring. Our trained sense for the peculiarities of myth structure recognizes at once the doubles of the parents in the intermediate parent-couples and all the participants are seen to be identical personalities of the parents and their child; this interpretation being suggested by certain features of the myth itself. Harpagos receives the child from the king, to expose it; he therefore acts precisely like the royal father and remains true to his fictitious paternal part in his reluctance to kill the child himself--because it is related to him--but he delivers it instead to the herder Mithradates, who is thus again identified with Harpagos. The noble Artembares, whose son Cyrus causes to be whipped, is also identified with Harpagos; for when Artembares with his whipped boy stands before the king, to demand retribution, Harpagos at once is likewise seen standing before the king, to defend himself, and he also is obliged to present his son to the king. Thus Artembares himself plays an episodal part as the hero's father, and this is fully confirmed by the Ctesian version, which tells us that the nobleman who adopted the herder's son, Cyrus, as his own son, was named Artembares.
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