Oedipus is a great hero and his best attribute is his duty to his people. You say that Oedipus has a duty to his people because he is prideful, arrogant, and views himself as a father of his people. I think he is less prideful and arrogant and views himself as the protector of his people moreso than anything. I agree with you when you say what makes this a tragedy.
Oedipus's futile struggle against his destiny is truly tragic. Once he set his course to find Laius's true murderer he had already condemned himself. The notion that he even set his course is strange because the prevailing theme of this story seems to be that struggling against destiny is pointless.
Tragedy pertains to a tragic drama. It is so-called because it describes the suffering of the protagonist or the main character as a result of a misfortune of which he has no control. The severity and harshness of the ending is also seen as something which the protagonist does not deserve. A brief summary, including a background, will be discussed in the beginning of the paper which will be followed by several arguments that aims to prove that Oedipus the King is a perfect model of a great tragedy.
As a backgrounder, Laius, the King of Thebes, was informed by a prophet that a child born to him and his wife, Jocasta, will murder him. Fearing that that the prophecy may come true, Laius took his child, pierced his ankle and ordered a servant to leave the child in a mountain.
A shepherd found the boy, took pity on him and took him to Corinth. This boy, named Oedipus, meaning swollen feet, was raised by the King and Queen of Corinth as if their son. When the boy grew up, a drunken man revealed that he was not the true son of Polybus, the King of Corinth. Eager to find out the truth about himself, he consulted the Delphic Oracle who told him that he would murder his father and marry his mother. For fear that the oracle may come true, Oedipus left Corinth.
Upon arriving at a fork, Oedipus met Laius and four other people. A quarrel followed, Oedipus eventually killed all the men. The sphinx had asked everybody a riddle. Anybody who failed to answer the riddle or gave an incorrect answer to the riddle was immediately eaten. Bold and self-confident, Oedipus faced the Sphinx and answered the riddle.
As a result, the Sphinx killed itself. The grateful people of Thebes proclaimed him as heir hero and king. They begot two sons and two daughters. Several years after, a plague struck in Thebes. In his desire to put a stop to the plague, Oedipus consulted a prophet who revealed that the plague would not end until the people of Thebes drive out the murderer of Laius who was within the city.
Oedipus thought that this was a scheme of Creon, his brother-in-law whom he thought desired to replace him as King. At this point, Jocasta told Oedipus that the oracle once prophesied that Laius will be killed by his son. She told him that the prophecy was not true as an eyewitness said that Laius was killed by highway robbers in a location where three different roads meet.
Oedipus suddenly remembered an incident in his past where he fled from Corinth and killed a man along the way because of quarrel as to who had the right of way. He thought that the same man could be Laius. As a result he asked that people to look for the herdsman who witnessed the killing of Laius. Later on a messenger brought news that the King Polybus was dead. Laius was asked to return to Corinth to rule the kingdom.
The messenger told Oedipus not to worry about the prophecy since Polybus was not his real father and that the messenger took the baby from the shepherd who found Polybus. The shepherd then revealed that Jocasta once handed to him a baby boy for him to leave on the mountain to die.
He however took pity and gave the boy to a messenger. At that point, Oedipus realized that he was indeed Laius child who killed his own father and married his own mother. Jocasta committed suicide after the revelation. Oedipus on the other hand, realizing his mistakes, took his eyes out and pierced it with a knife making him blind. He then left Thebes after asking Creon to take care of his daughters.
Your Essay Writing Partner. A human weakness that is evident throughout the play is pride. Oedipus was a very proud, arrogant and confident man. He had such a high regard for himself that he confidently challenged the Sphinx oblivious of the possibility that the Sphinx may kill him.
He knew that he had the intelligence to answer the riddles of the Sphinx no matter how difficult it was. He was successful and became the King of Thebes and married the Queen. Oedipus, the king and the hero who saved Thebes from the Sphinx, believes in his own innocence. He is angry and incredulous when the provoked Teiresias accuses him of the crime, so he jumps to the conclusion that Teiresias and Creon are conspirators against him.
As plausible as that explanation may be, Oedipus maintains it with irrational vehemence, not even bothering to investigate it before he decides to have Creon put to death. Every act of his is performed rashly: He is a man of great pride and passion who is intent on serving Thebes, but he does not have tragic stature until the evidence of his guilt begins to accumulate.
Ironically, his past is revealed to him by people who wish him well and who want to reassure him. Each time a character tries to comfort him with information, the information serves to damn him more thoroughly. Jocasta, in proving how false oracles can be, first suggests to him that he unknowingly really did kill Laius, thus corroborating the oracles. The messenger from Corinth in reassuring Oedipus about his parentage brings his true parentage into question, but he says enough to convince Jocasta that Oedipus is her son.
His rashness at this point is no longer a liability but becomes part of his integrity. Learning the full truth of his dark destiny, his last act as king is to blind himself over the dead body of Jocasta, his wife and his mother. It is a terrible, agonizing moment, even in description, but in the depths of his pain Oedipus is magnificent. He does not submit passively to his woe or plead that he committed his foul acts in ignorance, though he could be justified in doing so.
He blinds himself in a rage of penitence, accepting total responsibility for what he did and determined to take the punishment of exile as well.
As piteous as he appears in the final scene with Creon, there is more public spirit and more strength in his fierce grief and his resolution of exile than in any other tragic hero in the history of the theater.
Free Oedipus the King Essays: Oedipus as the Hero Archetype - Oedipus as the Hero Archetype The character Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King follows a literary pattern known as the hero archetype. The hero archetype is a pattern involved with transformation and redemption.
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Join Now Log in Home Literature Essays Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King Essays Hubris in Antigone and Oedipus Braden Ruddy Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King. The idea of hubris is monumental in a plethora of Greek mythological works. In many ways the excessive pride of certain characters fuels their own destruction. Sophocles' "Oedipus the King" is a tragic play illustrating a shift from the belief of predestination to freedom of choice. Therefore, "Oedipus the King" becomes a symbolic representation of human progress.
Oedipus, the king and the hero who saved Thebes from the Sphinx, believes in his own innocence. He is angry and incredulous when the provoked Teiresias accuses him of the crime, so he jumps to the conclusion that Teiresias and Creon are conspirators against him. Sep 17, · This essay seeks to prove that Oedipus the King is indeed the perfect model of a tragedy in the sense that it has all the elements of a great tragedy - human suffering, human frailty and weakness and powerlessness to control one’s destiny.