Oedipus Rex, Sophocles

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Oedipus the ideal Tragic Hero

Kelli Richards

Liberty University


In the play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays Oedipus who is also the main character, as a good- natured, beautiful, noble yet narcissistic person who has a lapse of judgment and fall from power. Throughout the play Oedipus makes a few profound decisions for which he is condemned to plentiful suffering; thus making Oedipus fit the mold of a tragic hero if we agree with Aristotle that Oedipus ' misfortune happens strictly because of his tragic flaw. Oedipus’ judgment alongside classic narcissistic behavior caused such events as the killing of
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Aristotle, Using Oedipus as an ideal model, says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who has a lapse in judgment. Who then must suffer the consequences of his actions. The audience must learn a lesson from the tragic hero; a lesson of what happens when great men fall from their social or political positions. The tragic hero needs his errors in judgment for a phenomenal effect of audience realization to occur.

Oedipus tries to prevent his terrible fate from occurring after it is prophesized to Laius, his father, early on; he leaves the city of his foster parents as a preventative measure. Oedipus is being punished for his parents’ actions. His birth parents once set out to seek the advice of the Delphi Oracle but the advice was gloom. They were told never to have children, but in spite of the warning Oedipus was born. Therefore from the beginning Oedipus is a tragic hero, his birth presents his destiny to result in tragedy. As with most tragedies Oedipus birth was noble which made his fall more intriguing to the audience. “What use are my eyes to me, who could never - See anything pleasant again?” (Sophocles 1293) This statement is the realization of wrongdoing; it is not until now that Oedipus sees his own actions as wrong.

There is a significant point of the play where the Herdsman tells Oedipus who his mother is and Oedipus replies “Oh, oh, then everything has come out true. Light, I shall not look on
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