A Tragic Hero: Oedipus Rex

Scott Taylor 1 When a man loses everything he once owned, and suffers severe anguish and pain, he is labelled a tragic hero. This underline’s the theme of the 429 BC Ancient Greek play, Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles the Third. This beloved tragedy tells the story of a great King, Oedipus, who tries to live up to his title when the city of Apollo is cursed with a plague and the death of a King. Oedipus must find the culprit of the massacre, and destroy him. However, when a man and a prophet, Creon and Teiresias, accuse Oedipus for the problem, an entire cycle of downward vents are put into Oedipus’ lap leading him to his recognition as King of Thebes and the death of his love Jocasta, which turns out to be King Laius’ Queen. This proves that it is actually Oedipus’ destiny is to kill his father and marry his mother, since King Laius and Jocasta are revealed later on as his parents. This is an event that takes place before Oedipus finds out. This is an epiphany. The king struggles through a great deal of tragedy due to his severe suffering, his tragic flaws, and his understanding of how he must face the terrible consequences for his actions.

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Oedipus experiences some cases of severe suffering throughout the play. Choragos describes to the King that “…[Oedipus] suffer it all twice over, remorse is pain…” (71), meaning that his origin is to murder of his father, and the marriage to his mother. When Oedipus curses himself and even gouges his own eyes out when the prophesy of the late King Laius’ son being the murderer, is revealed and states that: “The pain of the spikes where [Oedipus] had sight Scott Taylor 2 The flooding pain Of memory, never to be gouged out” (71) Which shows that this man endures a lot of hardship and suffering throughout the ast few stages of his life. Although, there wouldn’t be as much suffering in his world if there is not as much tragic flaw. Oedipus gets involved with a few tragic events in his life which one may find to be a little insane or over the edge. Two separate incidences in this man’s life show his prophesy to kill his father and marry his mother; “With [Oedipus] [’s] father’s blood upon me! Never To have been the man they call his mother’s Husband! ” (73) Oedipus proclaims! Eventually he does find his warmer side and starts to feel regret or everything he’s done to his loving elders when he announces that; “[Oedipus] do not know how [Oedipus] could bear the sight Of [Oedipus] [‘s] father, when [Oedipus] came to the house of Death, Of [Oedipus] [‘s] mother! For [Oedipus] have sinned against them both…” (73) This ultimately shows how he is really starting to understand his problems he is responsible for. Now he must face those corresponding consequences. Through all of his tragic flaws and suffering, Oedipus truthfully comes clean in the end, and faces his awful consequences for what he had done. When his Scott Taylor 3 larming prophesy with his wife Joecasta is revealed, he self mutilates himself and begs to Charagos for him to “Send [Oedipus] from Thebes! ” (80) for his shear punishment for his wrong doing. He understands that he has done wrong and takes forth that he needs to be rid of: “But his command is plain: the parricide Must be destroyed, [Oedipus] [is] that evil man” (80) He claims showing that he understands that he must be penalized for his actions. All of this acceptance of his guilt really shows how this is a tragic hero. A tragic hero, with this evidence, one could not imagine the amount of uffering, tragic flaw, and consequences this man goes through. All of these factors, among other things such as an epipphany, can create a tragic hero. This man fits all of these categories and most likely fits more tragic hero qualities as well. He is the center of the play and he struggles and pushed through a lot as a character. This man, is without a doubt, a tragic hero. A TRAGIC HERO: OEDIPUS REX SCOTT TAYLOR B00536219 ENGLISH 1000. 3 ERIN WUNKER References: Oedipus Rex, Fitts, Dudley and Fitzgerald, Robert, Sophocles, The Oedipus Cycle 1977 [United States]

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