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In Sophocles play, Oedipus Rex is the archetypal tragic hero.

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Introduction

The Eyes See Oedipus as the Tragic Hero In Sophocles' play, Oedipus Rex is the archetypal tragic hero. Oedipus Rex is the story of the King of Thebes who through a series of prophesized events faces consequences of cataclysmic fate, brought upon by tragic flaws. His heroic qualities, his noble birth and loyalty to his kingdom, and his denial of the truth bring ruin upon him. Aristotle holds Oedipus as the quintessential tragic hero. He has to be of nobility, not a standard or typical man, but one with greatness within. He goes on to define that tragic hero must commit errors in judgment, and thus suffers consequences leading to his destruction. He does not necessarily have to die. His downfall is brought about by his own poor choices, but his misfortune is not wholly deserved. A lesson needs to be learned from these fatalistic choices. He becomes an example the audience can relate to, have pity or fear, seeing what happens when prominent men fall from their egotistic political positions. ...read more.

Middle

Light, I shall not look on you Again. I have been born where I should not be born, I have been married where I should not marry, I have killed whom I should not kill; now all is clear" (Sophocles 1144) Oedipus' nobility and position in society are characteristics of a tragic hero. He is born of Jocasta and Laius, but the King and Queen of Corinth raised due to unforeseen circumstances. He was raised as a prince but noble by birth. He exhibits intelligence to the town of Thebes when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx. This action freed the city from its oppression. He is rewarded with the throne of Thebes and the Queen's hand in marriage. Aristotle's criteria is also that the hero is not perfect, ordinary people could identify with him, despite being noble. Notwithstanding the greatness he possesses, he still is haughty. He tends to be quick to judge, like when he thought Creon wanted the throne or when Tiresias tries to tell him the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Why the scars are there and when he was told that he was adopted have a clearer meaning. When the pieces are put together about his past and who he really is, this not only frees him but the city itself from its oppression. Oedipus substantiates the label of "tragic" hero. He is endowed with superior intelligence and strength. He occupies a high position within society, as well as being of noble birth. Yet he has a multitude of tragic flaws. He is pompous, quick to make careless decisions, easily angered, and blind to the truth that it causes his ultimate demise. His punishment is too excessive for the crime, though much is not his fault. The audience feels pity for Oedipus, but not in a depressed state. He lost much, yet he also gained in the end. He acquired knowledge and understanding of wrong choices made by other people in his life. This empowered the city to regain opulence. It is through this evidence that Aristotle would give Oedipus Rex the well-deserved title of the ideal tragic hero. ...read more.

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