Aristotle Oedipus is a Tragic Hero Due to the Fact that he Maintains his Strengths

Published: 2021-08-20 01:40:07
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A man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall”. Aristotle Oedipus is a tragic hero due to the fact that he maintains his strengths but causes his own downfall. In fact, Oedipus was doomed at birth. His parents Laius and Jocasta sent him with a shepherd to have him killed because an oracle had told them that he would grow up and kill his father and marry his mother. Instead of Oedipus being killed, he is given to Polybus. Later when Oedipus is grown, he leaves Corinth and on his way has an encounter with some men and he kills them. Without knowledge of it, that one of them was Laius. He then becomes King Of Thebes by answering a riddle correctly and marries Queen Jocasta. Years later his people have been stroke by a plaque. So, he tries to save his people but instead his traits as a tragic hero surface and his downfall begins. Three traits will be explained in the next few paragraphs. Hubris, excessive pride, Hamartia, fatal flaw to downfall and Peripeteia, reversal of fortune or fate. Oedipus is a tragic hero. Oedipus first tragic hero trait is his excessive pride or Hibris. This is first shown when he decides to leave his adopted parents in Corinth. He leaves to avoid fate told to him by a prophet, that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Believing that Polybus
Reid 2and Merope are his real parents, he leaves to control his own destiny. His excessive pride is shown again when he is determined to save his people from the plaque. Oedipus keeps trying to find who killed Laius to stop the curse on Thebes. ‘I curse myself as well….if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house’ stated Oedipus (284-285). The insistence starts a furious accusations between Oedipus, Creon and Tiresias. This leads to a third time of excessive pride that overcomes the king. Oedipus demands to know the truth of the murderer of Laius. Tiresias says ‘You, even though you see clearly, do not see the scope of your evil, nor where you live, nor with whom you dwell.’ (433-435). Tiresias accurately accuses Oedipus as the ‘Unholy polluter’ of the Thebes (372). All would be better for Oedipus if the truth would not be revealed. Oedipus second tragic hero trait is Hamartia, the tragic flaw that causes his downfall. This is starts to reveal when the messenger tells Oedipus that Polybus was not his true father. The messenger also told him that his real father was Laius and that he was the one who killed Laius at the crossroads. Oedipus had unknowingly killed his own father.
‘I thought it wrong, my children, to hear the truth from others, messengers. Here I am myself—you all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus’ (6-9). The second tragic flaw is now that his wife Jocasta is also his real mother. Jocasta begs Oedipus to not believe the messenger. Jocasta says, ‘ Why should a person fear when the ways of fortune are supreme, when there is no clear foresight’(1005). As the pieces of the puzzle come together it is evident that Oedipus is the son of Laius and Jocasta. He has the marks on his ankles from being tied up as a baby and walks with a limp from it. The Reid 2and Merope are his real parents, he leaves to control his own destiny. His excessive pride is shown again when he is determined to save his people from the plaque. Oedipus keeps trying to find who killed Laius to stop the curse on Thebes. ‘I curse myself as well….if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house’ stated Oedipus (284-285). The insistence starts a furious accusations between Oedipus, Creon and Tiresias.
This leads to a third time of excessive pride that overcomes the king. Oedipus demands to know the truth of the murderer of Laius. Tiresias says ‘You, even though you see clearly, do not see the scope of your evil, nor where you live, nor with whom you dwell.’ (433-435). Tiresias accurately accuses Oedipus as the ‘Unholy polluter’ of the Thebes (372). All would be better for Oedipus if the truth would not be revealed. Oedipus second tragic hero trait is Hamartia, the tragic flaw that causes his downfall. This is starts to reveal when the messenger tells Oedipus that Polybus was not his true father. The messenger also told him that his real father was Laius and that he was the one who killed Laius at the crossroads. Oedipus had unknowingly killed his own father. ‘I thought it wrong, my children, to hear the truth from others, messengers. Here I am myself—you all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus’ (6-9). The second tragic flaw is now that his wife Jocasta is also his real mother. Jocasta begs Oedipus to not believe the messenger. Jocasta says, ‘ Why should a person fear when the ways of fortune are supreme, when there is no clear foresight’(1005). As the pieces of the puzzle come together it is evident that Oedipus is the son of Laius and Jocasta. He has the marks on his ankles from being tied up as a baby and walks with a limp from it. The
Reid 2third flaw to his downfall is that his mother/wife kills herself. Now, that Jocasta is dead he is totally on his final downfall. The third trait of a tragic hero is Peripeteia, the reversal of his fortune or fate. As fate would have it that Oedipus had tried to control his destiny. His turning point where all his power, prestige, happiness and pride, BREAK. He is then left as a helpless and pitiful man. The second evidence of Peripeteia is that the his people know his fate was caused by his actions due to ignorance of his roots. He so wanted to be a good king. As fate would have it, he would not have done any of these things if only the truth was reared to him from the beginning. The final Peripeteia was once that Jocasta was dead he stabbed his eyes out, so he was left blind. This was expressed that he was blind to the truth.
Oedipus said, ‘Let him die who took off the fierce fetters, feeding off my feet, and rescued and saved me from my death, no good deed for me! I would not have brought so much pain to my friends or me!’(1380). Oedipus is a tragic hero due to his own great pride in himself and his ability to reverse his fate. His pride caused him to save the people of Thebe but instead the truth was going to be revealed on the murderer of Laius. Oedipus said that Tiresias was the ‘Vicious slander’ (363). The truth is that Tiresias was correct when he said ‘I say you are the murder you’re looking for’(62). As the tragic flaw caused his downfall, that he had killed his own father and married his own mother. This had all happened through fate and not knowing his true roots.

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