Oedipus Rex As A Tragic Hero Essay

, Research Paper

Oedipus Rex as a Tragic Hero

Before the twentieth century plays were mainly written as either a tragedy or comedy. In a tragic play the tragic hero will often do something that will eventually destroy him. In the book Oedipus the King, Oedipus Rex is the tragic hero. In a tragic play the main character, which is portrayed as Oedipus, will do a good deed that will in turn make him a hero. This hero will reach his height of pride in the story, and in the end the action, which he had committed earlier, will return and destroy this man who was once called a hero.

This soon-to-be king solved the riddle of the Sphinx, which had been killing the young men of Thebes as they tried to leave. The people of Thebes respected Oedipus, for he had saved the city from the Sphinx, by answering this riddle. For the removal of this monster he was praised by the city of Thebes and married the newly widowed Queen, Jocasta. Jocastas husband had been murdered by a “group of robbers” (who was actually Oedipus).

Once again Oedipus becomes a hero when he promises to save the city of Thebes from plague. Oedipus sends Creon, to ask Apollo how to save the city. Creon returns from Delphi and told Oedipus “banishment-or repaying blood with blood”(Page 7). Oedipus asks, “Who is the man whose death Apollo lays to our charges?”(Page 7). The king, wanting restore his city to what it once was, seeks to find the killer Laius.

Oedipus discovers that the child of king Laius, and queen Jocasta was sent away to die as a child. As he seeks for the reason for this child being sent away he stumbles upon the fact that the child was prophesized to kill his father and he would lay with his mother. From this he became suspicious that the child may be him. He realized that while he had been considered a hero at the same time he had been doing what the oracle told him he would do.

Jocasta and Lauis, then Oedipus didn’t want the oracle’s prophecies to come

true and they tried everything that they could to go against it, however by trying to avoid this they ran right into the prophecy. He had killed his father and married his mother without knowing it.

His mother, Jocasta had been for fulfilling the prophesy. As had he been ashamed for doing the same and so he gouged out his eyes so he could not see the faces of those who looked down on him. For his eyes were no good he could not see the truth with them so what are they for.

Therefore Oedipus is an example of a tragic hero, because he ultimately

commits this action which later cam back to destroy him. At the end of the story he was blind man who hated himself for his actions. For this reason Oedipus can be considered a tragic hero because he commits an action which ultimately destroys him.


Encarta Encyclopedia ‘99



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