• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Oedipus, The Tragic Hero.

Extracts from this document...


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. ...read more.


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. ...read more.


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. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Who was the real tragic hero of the Agamemnon?

    3 star(s)

    She is very consistent in the play, her prophetess powers really emphasise that she knows that she is going to die and she is always very exotic in the play. Her hamartia would be the fact that she tricked Apollo into giving her Prophetess powers and does not give Apollo

  2. One of the best examples for Aristotles tragic hero is Oedipus from Sophocles tragedy, ...

    For example, during his conversation with Jocasta where he ignores the obvious connection between Jocasta's story of binding her son's ankles, and his own swollen and scarred feet. Jocasta also mentions to Oedipus the prophecy that her son would kill his own father, only to find that Oedipus has been told a similar prophecy.

  1. Identifying an Unknown Carbonyl Compound

    The crystals was kept an eye and the temperature was noted as soon as signs of melting were seen (usually seen as a contraction of the solid followed by a damp appearance.) the range of temperature over the sample melt was recorded.

  2. Cinderella - play script

    Stepsisters: Falling in love with Love is falling for make-believe Falling in Love with love is playing the fool! Stepmother: Caring to much is such a juvenile fancy Stepsisters: Learning to trust is just for children in school. I fell in love with Love one night when the moon was full I was unwise with eyes unable to see!

  1. Dramatic irony in Oedipus.

    - Evidently, these two examples of dramatic irony clearly stress Oedipus and Jocasta's disloyalty towards the Gods.

  2. Greek Tragedy

    has pushed back the horizons of what is possible for humanity and is then deemed worthy of commendation after his death."10 As we know, this hero is not flawless. However, it is important to realise that in what Aristotle values as good tragedy, these flaws often contribute to the very

  1. How far do you agree that Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is nothing more than ...

    This in my opinion is quite different from how the plot of a detective story is unfolded. Throughout the detective story, there would be many twists just like "Oedipus the King" but the audience would not be aware of who the murderer was; they would go throughout the book still

  2. Discuss the ways in which the character of Oedipus in Oedipus the King conforms ...

    In the case of Oedipus the King, this role is fulfilled by Oedipus, who is led by his hamartia (tragic flaw) to do something that ultimately leads to his downfall. Aristotle also outlined the characteristics of a good tragic hero.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work