Oedipus, The Tragic Hero.
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Emmanuel Idun. World Literature Assignment Part 2c: A Formal Essay Sample 3:Formal Essay. Topic: Oedipus, The Tragic Hero. Oedipus, the classic Greek tragedy by Sophocles, is one in which the protagonist is portrayed as a tragic hero. The author does this by combining the elements of irony, personal tragedy and heroism. In the play, Oedipus's character evokes pity because of his misfortune appears to be greater than he deserves hence the reader is left to empathise with him. His actions are controlled by fate and the reader is left to wonder why such a terrible thing is happening to such a good man. Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Humans seem to have a common running trait, and that is one of power and heroism. The quest for heroism becomes the basis of Oedipus the King's demise. If this power however gets into ones mind, the results could be detrimental, and Oedipus the King is a living testimony of this. Since his actions are controlled by fate, no matter how hard he tries, he cannot prevent good or bad things from happening to him. Since fate is cannot be prevented from taking its course, his actions are quite futile.
Oedipus is imperfect and this is seen through his moral and physical flaws. He limps as a result of his feet being pinned together when he was quite young. Unknowingly sleeping with his mother and killing his father is his moral flaw. Thus, combining the heroism of Oedipus with his flaws makes him imperfect though higher than the ordinary man in many ways. Sophocles portrays the result, a classic example of a tragic hero in this play. Sophocles use of irony throughout the play brings to bear on the reader the gloom of Oedipus's situation. We constantly find Oedipus trying to escape the Oracle, but in doing so, ends up fulfilling it. This is seen when he says in the opening scene "Everybody everywhere knows who I am." This ironic statement is said in the opening scene of the play when Oedipus comes out to meet the people. His true identity is unknown to him but he exclaims that everyone else knows who he is. Also, since he is such a great riddle solver, you would think he would be able to solve the riddle of his identity but he is unable to in the sight of overwhelming evidence, which is quite ironic.
Oedipus, remains a mystery to both the reader and himself. He does not know his true identity and this becomes the source of his demise. He comes to find out his true identity, but in doing so, his sudden tragic end is brought closer. The reader at this point is left to wonder, what is the way out. Unfortunately, the answer as we come to realise in the latter parts of the book is one that is not easy. Fate has already chosen Oedipus's destiny and nothing can change it. A feature of tragic plays by Shakespeare. The writer connotes a certain sombre picture and depressing mood, which is characteristic of most of Shakespearean tragedies. The employments of understatements that lead to humour are also evident in most parts of the text, and this makes for an interesting reading. For example throughout the play, there are references to sight such as," you cannot see, yet you know the nature of this plague" and "light, o light, light now everything is clear" which are ironic because Oedipus blinds himself later on. Also, the blind prophet Teireseis knows about Oedipusus's true identity but Oedipus who isn't physically blind does not know his true identity. His servant Kreon whose name means king is also an irony since he turns form a messenger to a king.
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