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Oedipus, the Tragic Hero

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 hears 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. He never considers himself a suspect, even though he knows he murdered a man not very long ago. 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. He becomes outraged and says to Tiresias, “You, shameless- aren’t you appalled to start up such a story? You think you can get away with this?” This shows that Oedipus cannot look inside himself to find the truth, and he does not want to know the truth about himself. After the accusations about Oedipus committing the murders, he is determined to find out the truth no matter what it takes. This is the second quality, becoming a truth seeker, which justifies Oedipus as a tragic hero. 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. Oedipus exclaims, “I must know i...

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Oedipus, the Tragic Hero. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 01:10, October 23, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/28439.html