Discuss the ways in which the character of Oedipus in Oedipus the King

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Discuss the ways in which the character of Oedipus in Oedipus the King conforms to the conventions of the tragic hero. In your discussion refer to how the issues explored in the play have a wider significance than the tragedy of Oedipus as an individual.

Assessment 9: Short Essay – Drama

Discuss the ways in which the character of Oedipus in Oedipus the King conforms to the conventions of the tragic hero. In your discussion refer to how the issues explored in the play have a wider significance than the tragedy of Oedipus as an individual.

Oedipus the King is one of the Three Theban Plays written by Sophocles in around 400 B.C. It is a prime example of tragedy, and through the use of a tragic hero, conforms to the typical
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At the same time, a tragic hero must evoke both pity and fear, and Aristotle claims that the best way to do this is if he is imperfect. A character with a mixture of good and evil comes across as more compelling than a character that is merely good. The fact that these qualities are so accepted means that they continue to connect with audiences of every generation.

At the beginning of Oedipus the King, Oedipus is held in very high esteem after saving Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx and becoming king virtually overnight. Oedipus is a man of swift action and great insight. He is always anticipating his subjects’ needs and it is clear that he possesses many qualities which make him an excellent leader. For example, when the priest hints that he should send to
Delphi for help with the plague, he has already done so; when the chorus suggests sending for Tiresias, the prophet has already been summoned and in on the way. Later in the play, however, we see that
Oedipus’ habit of acting quickly can also have negative implications.
When he tells the story of killing the band of travelers who he met at the crossroads, Oedipus shows that he has the capacity to behave rashly. In his search for the truth, Oedipus shows himself to be a thinker, a man good at unraveling mysteries. This is the same characteristic that brought him to Thebes; he

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