Oedipus Rex and the Hero's Journey

898 WordsApr 12, 20134 Pages
Question: Discuss whether or not a hero who is tragic by trait and definition can exist within the structure of the monomyth. Quote Bank “untroubled influence” (Fitzgerald, 31) “can not lift her head from the death surge” (Fitzgerald, 4) “what defilement?” (Fitzgerald, 7) “how shall [they] rid [themselves] of it?” (Fitzgerald, 7) “no help in the truth” (Fitzgerald, 17) “the net God has been weaving for him” (Fitzgerald, 39) Response By definition, a tragic hero is a character who is unavoidably doomed. That hero’s fate has already been decided but the character usually spends the entire course of a story trying tirelessly and unsuccessfully to change that. Oedipus easily falls into this definition. Oedipus is also a hero that…show more content…
In the Heroic Journey, the hero is someone who is missing or lacking something. For Oedipus, this would be the health in Thebes. Thebes “can not lift her head from the death surge” of the plague and it is Oedipus’ ultimate goal, as king, to end the plague and keep his citizens safe. (Fitzgerald, 4) This would be the “grail” in Oedipus’ story, as well as the truth about his past and the murder of king Laїos. The first phase of the Hero’s Journey is “Separation from the Known” and this begins with “The Call”. The call invites the hero into the adventure, which in Oedipus’ case would be Creon bringing back the prophecy from Delphi. Instantly, Oedipus questions “what defilement?” and “how shall [they] rid [themselves] of it?” and that is the point where he willingly accepts his journey. (Fitzgerald, 7) Creon acts as the herald, initiating the call when he brings the news from the gods. The second step in phase one is “The Threshold”. The accusation of Oedipus as the murderer of king Laїos acts as the threshold because Oedipus enters into his real quest to discover the truth about the murderer. Teirisias acts as the threshold guardian because he knows that Oedipus killed Laїos but because there is “no help in the truth” he refuses to give Oedipus this information. (Fitzgerald, 17) Phase two of the hero’s journey is “Initiation and Transformation” and this includes “The Challenges”, “The

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