Oedipus As A Tragic Hero

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Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, defines a tragic hero as a man or woman of high standing that is capable of great suffering both physically and/or mentally. They must also possess many excellent qualities in character, but who will possess one character flaw that will lead to his or her downfall and we (as an audience) accept this downfall because of their fatal flaw. Using this definition, we can deduce that Oedipus is in fact a tragic hero. Oedipus was king of Thebes. By solving the Sphinx’s riddle, he saved Thebes and the people made him king. Therefore, he is an important man of the story. He is also married to Jocasta, who is the wife of the former King Laius. Oedipus has suffered greatly throughout his life. When he was told his “parents” in Corinth aren’t his actual parents, so he travels to Delphi to speak with the Oracle. On his way back he is asked to move off of the road by a group of men. Instead of moving, he kills everyone in…show more content…
Against Jocasta’s suggestions, he is persistent in finding out who his father and mother were. When he does, he is dismally torn to shreds. Even if he didn’t mean to kill his father and have children with his mother, it proves to be immoral and wrong even in today’s standards. Because of his strong emotions of self-hatred, he inflicted much pain unto himself so as to never have to see the world again, therefore proving he suffers both physically and mentally. Oedipus’ downfall makes the audience feel a sense of catharsis, or emotional release that is provoked by Oedipus’ downfall. After his downfall, the audience senses that the play will return to a certain amount of normalcy. Oedipus is a tragic hero. Every characteristic that defines a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle is seen by Oedipus throughout the play. He, as a man in high standing,has many great qualities, but because of a single character flaw, we accept his
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