Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and Death of a Salesman

Decent Essays
Hamartia in Oedipus Rex and Death of a Salesman Hamartia is defined as a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero. Aristotle defines a tragic hero to be a man “who is not completely good and just, whose misfortune is brought out not by vice or immorality, but by some error or weakness.” The three key requirements of Aristotle in regards to a tragic hero are; a high social standing, goodness or moral excellence, or error committed by the hero in unawareness or ignorance. Two quality examples of men that portray Aristotle’s idea of a tragic hero, and who also fit the three main requirements are Oedipus Rex and Willy Loman. Oedipus Rex clearly and without a doubt answers to each of the three requirements laid out by Aristotle is regards to a tragic hero. He is a man of social reputation, and possesses exceptional qualities, but is in no means perfect. It is safe to say that Oedipus’ hamartia is the cause of his own downfall. Willy Loman on the other hand is also considered to be a tragic hero. Like Oedipus, Willy goes through his life, for the most part, blindly, and never really realizes the complete truth of himself. Through his delusional personality, and his continual blindness, Willy’s hamartia is also the main cause of his downfall, where in his case, leads to his death. Through further analysis of both Oedipus Rex and Willy Loman’s tragic flaws, along with literary criticism from Aristotle’s poetics, their hamartia, which ultimately leads them to their
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