Essay about Oedipus the King: A Greek Tragic Hero

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Many Greek tragedies include a central character known as "the tragic hero." In the play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, the character Oedipus, portrays to the reader the necessary, central, tragic hero. According to Aristotle, "a tragic hero has a supreme pride" (Jones. Pg. 133). That pride is a reflection of arrogance and conceit that suggests superiority to man and equality with the gods. Students of religion are often taught that "pride Goethe before the fall." In Oedipus' situation, his pride, coupled with religious fervor and other human emotions like guilt, lead to what can only be described as a downfall of enormous and costly proportions, in other words, his fate. The dictionary characterizes a downfall as, "a sudden…show more content…
The characters in the play that find themselves at the center of this past and future tug-of-war are: Laius (the slain King of Thebes), Jocasta (the Queen of Thebes), Oedipus (the current King of Thebes), the Messenger, and the Shepherd. The two reasons that these characters are being yanked back and forth are the oracles. The first oracle came to the father (Laius) in the deep past, and the second oracle came to the son (Oedipus) in the not-so-distant past. King Laius was a character from the past, a past that would indirectly start and finish the downfall of Oedipus. This past and present connection between Laius and Oedipus is found in one serious decision made by Laius. Laius' decision, based on the oracles, was to have his son put to death. Jocasta told Oedipus, "An oracle came to Laius one fine day (I won't say from Apollo himself but his underlings, his priests) and it said that doom would strike him down at the hands of a son, our son, to be born of our own flesh and blood. But Laius, was killed by strangers, thieves, at a place where three roads meet...my son--he wasn't three day old and the boy's father fastened his ankles, had a henchman fling him away on a barren trackless mountain" (Glencoe Literature. Pg. 291. Lines 790-793). Laius' own actions of
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