A Comparison Between King Lear and Oedipus

1649 Words4 Pages
King Lear Comparison

A tragedy is not only an imitation of life in general but an imitation of an action, as Aristotle defined his ideas in the Poetics, which presents Oedipus as an ultimate tragic hero. There is a obvious link between the two characters in that blindness – both literal and metaphorical – is a strong theme in the stories.

Issues of self-recognition and self-knowledge are significant for Oedipus as well as King Lear. For Aristotle, Reversal, Recognition and Suffering are key elements in a complex tragedy. The human instinct to seek knowledge of and to know an individual’s character is essential to understand their actions (Aristotle, 1-49). King Lear and King Oedipus find that self recognition and self-knowledge
…show more content…
Thebes high esteem for Oedipus is shown through the Chorus until the bitter end of the play. In the beginning of the play King Oedipus is a person of vast self-assurance. This character attribute is demonstrated in his willingness to take the full responsibility for dealing with the crisis, the plague. King Oedipus feels certain that he will also manage this crisis as he has done before with the riddle of the sphinx. He feels so self-assure that he even thinks he is able to trick the oracle and the gods by simply fleeing Corinth. But this is a big miscalculation as the play shows. The outline in the story of Oedipus’s self discovery begins when he starts to solve the second riddle, the riddle of Laius death. During this solving Oedipus ' character changes from an honour man to a fearful, condemned man by his tragic fate in the end. The changing of the character is accompanied by the changing of the riddle: the question “Who is the murderer of Laius?” changes to “Who am I?” Aristotle in his Poetics discusses this reversal when he speaks of “a change of the action into the opposite” (Aristotle, 18). As the tragedy moves on, finding the truth for Oedipus becomes an obsession. The dispute between Teiresias and Oedipus demonstrates that Oedipus does not even take the possibility of involvement in something bad into consideration. Teiresias, after he has been provoked,

More about A Comparison Between King Lear and Oedipus

Get Access