tragoed Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)

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Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King

In the introduction to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sophocles defines a tragic hero as one who "[behaves] admirably as a man, [but who] is nevertheless tripped up by forces beyond his control and understanding..." (Sophocles 76). In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic hero. The force that "trips up" the hero is fate, or, moira. It is Oedipus's actions that set the events into motion, but it is ultimately his fate, and his attempted aversion to it, that brings about his downfall. This downfall, and elements such as plot, character, diction and spectacle (Aristotle 175), that cause Oedipus the King to be a tragedy.

In order to describe Oedipus as a tragic hero, one
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Diction, quite simply, is word choice. In order to produce desired effects, the author of a work must choose his or her words carefully. Once the writer has incorporated these elements into his or her work, something must be included to hold the reader's attention. This is where a spectacle will come in. An author will often include a fight or some other lively event to attract the reader and entice them to continue reading (or watching, if they are seeing the play performed). One such spectacle in Oedipus the King, is the description of Oedipus's fight with King Laios. It is an action-packed scene that is meant to draw the reader's attention.

Once it is established that Oedipus the King is a tragedy, one must look to discover who the tragic hero is. It is implied that his would be Oedipus, as he is the main character and the subject of the story, but there are legitimate reasons for this selection, also. Instilled in Oedipus are qualities such as intelligence, honor, and strength. His intelligence is demonstrated by his solving of the Sphinx's riddle. His honor can be implied by he way his people regard him so highly. His strength his also demonstrated by this, as well as his ability to lead Thebes unexpectedly. He did not expect to come to Thebes and become king, the duty was thrust upon him. Immediately, one likes Oedipus, allowing us to feel emotions, like pity and fear, for him later.

Aristotle

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