Oedipus, the Tragic Hero

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A tragic hero is “The Protagonist, the hero or chief character of a tragedy, is a person of high estate, usually a king, queen, or member of the royal family, who is neither superlatively good and just not wholly vicious and depraved, but who is brought low by some error of judgment or shortcoming” (Harmatia). In the play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, Oedipus is the tragic hero who is characterized by the definition above. This play is a Greek Tragedy which is about human suffering and pain, but is optimistic at the same time because a person can learn something and benefit from it. Oedipus is a classic example of a tragic hero which can be seen in his characteristics, such as the lack of self-knowledge, the desire to be a truth seeker, and the wisdom gained in the end. The first quality of Oedipus that justifies him as a tragic hero is in his lack of self-knowledge. When he hear Continue...

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He has all the qualities that justify him as a tragic hero. He never considers himself a suspect, even though he knows he murdered a man not very long ago. s the story of how the king, Laius, was brutally murdered, Oedipus wants to get to the bottom of the story and find the person who is guilty. When Oedipus is confronted by Tiresias about the murder of Laius, he is shocked and appalled that someone would say such a thing about him. His wife, Jocasta, is the opposite of Oedipus, and does not want to know the truth and what really happened. Even after all the pain and suffering that Oedipus has been through, he still turns out in the end to look inside himself and gain knowledge. She is content with the way things are at the moment, and does not want people to find out the truth. After the accusations about Oedipus committing the murders, he is determined to find out the truth no matter what it takes. The third quality that justifies Oedipus as a tragic hero is the wisdom and acceptance he gains in the end. Oedipus soon discovers that it was really him who killed Laius, and to make matters worse, Laius was his father. Even if finding out the truth about himself will cause him suffering and pain, Oedipus will do anything to uncover the real story about the murder. There are certain characteristics that justify someone as a tragic hero. Jocasta pleads, "Stop-in the name of god, if you love your own life, call of this search! My suffering is enough. This is the second quality, becoming a truth seeker, which justifies Oedipus as a tragic hero.


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