Oedipus Rex Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Specifically, it will explain how the suffering brought upon others by Oedipus contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole. Oedipus is the classic tragic hero, as he not only adversely affects his own life, he is the instrument of suffering for many of the other characters surrounding him in the play. His tragic flaw, or hamartia, is a fatal mistake that flows from a hero's character, and this tragic flaw continually affects those around him, and ultimately leads to his downfall, and the tragic ending of this play. Tragedy surrounds everything that Oedipus does, and ultimately no one in the play can survive when Oedipus touches their lives.

Oedipus' tragic flaw is his rashness. He does not think things through before he acts on his rash impetuousness, and this continually affects those around him. From the moment he slays the traveler on the road his fate is set, and he has begun to affect the fate of those surrounding him, too. Ultimately, Oedipus brings down the wrath of the gods on his people, bringing plague and disease, sorrow and death. It takes this kind of despair to shake him from his impetuousness, and make him realize that he is the master of his own fate, but the master of his people's fate, too. The prophet warns him of his rash choices, but Oedipus does not listen, and this leads to another of his flaws that in the end affects those around him.

Oedipus is also intensely prideful, and this leads to his downfall, and the tragic end of those around him. He cannot admit his mistakes or learn from them, and this is not the way to rule a kingdom or a people. He cannot admit that he has imperfections until the results are right before his eyes, and then it is far too late for him to remedy them, for the harm has been done, and time cannot rectify it. Rulers must be strong, but must be intelligent enough to learn from their mistakes, and Oedipus is weak in this regard, and so lets down those who are most important to him, his family, and his people,…

Sources Used in Document:


Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Robert Bagg. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1982.

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