Oedipus And Antigone As A Tragic Hero

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Together as a society, we require tragic heroes to show examples of the imperfections and mistakes that make seemingly flawless characters relatable. A tragic hero is a character that begins in an elevated position but then progressively falls in a downward spiral once the character flaws become too great, which they end up learning and growing from. LitChart states, “A tragic hero is a type of character in a tragedy, and is usually the protagonist. Tragic heroes typically have heroic traits that earn them the sympathy of the audience, but also have flaws or make mistakes that ultimately lead to their own downfall” (Litcharts). The plays, Oedipus and Antigone, are perfect examples of a tragic hero because both of them go on a journey in which they learn about themselves. In the novel, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, Joana Vilkas, Florian Beck, and Emilia Stożek are tragic heroes because, before World War 2, they start at elevated positions and experience downfall through the war such as Joana accidentally murdering her family, Emilia being impregnated by Russian soldiers, and Florian becoming a puppet to Erich Koch. Together as a society, we need tragic heroes to show examples of the imperfections and mistakes that make seemingly flawless characters relatable.
Tragic heroes most commonly serve as lessons for a specific targeted audience. Joana, from Ruta Sepetys’ novel Salt to the Sea, and Oedipus, from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, exhibit that all mistakes come with fateful consequences. In Salt to the Sea, Joana’s greatest mistake is composing a letter containing top secret information and giving it to her cook to pass it on to her cousin Lina. The Cook took the letter straight to the NKVD to save her own life and killing Lina’s entire family. While this is classified as a huge mistake, the intentions were never to murder her family, she only wanted to inform them of what was happening. To Joana, letting them know of her and her parent's whereabouts was worth the risk even though the chances of it working were minimal (Sepetys 309). This teaches readers the importance of always thinking about your actions and how they will affect those around you. In Oedipus the King, readers can take away from Oedipus’
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