In shaping his dramatic theory, Aristotle surveyed the drama of his time and developed certain concepts regarding the nature of the tragic hero. The tragic hero must be an important person with a character flaw that causes him to make a great mistake leading to tremendous suffering and a fall from his high status. The tragedy derives from the fact that none of what occurs is the tragic hero's fault, for the tragic flaw predetermines his actions and seals his fate. This is the pattern found in the plays of Sophocles, among other playwrights of Ancient Greece. The world of Sophocles is a world of myth brought into the human realm, and the tragic vision derives from the conflict between the actions of human beings and the requirements of the gods:
Compared with the Homeric epics, Athenian tragedy reflected a more conscious sense of the gods' metaphorical significance and a more poignant appreciation of human self-awareness and suffering. Yet through profound suffering came profound learning, and the history and drama of human existence, for all its harsh conflict and wrenching contradiction, still held overarching purpose and meaning. The myths were the living body of that meaning, constituting a language that both reflected and illuminated the essential processes of life. (Tarnas 18)
Throughout the play, Oedipus insists on the importance of knowing the truth and speaks as if he himself is able to see the truth when it is presented to him. He sees others as hiding the truth from him, notably Teiresias, whom he describes in terms that really apply to himself, telling Teiresias that the truth "has no strength / for you because you are blind in mind and ears / as well as in your eyes" (Sophocles lines 370-372). At this stage, Oedipus is blind in mind and ears and will later be blind in his eyes as well, and...
When Oedipus could see, he beheld the piercing light of Greece, but he had then less understanding of his fate, less inner vision, and less humility than he is beginning to achieve after he loses that flooding, outer light. (Green 2-3)
The Chorus at the end echoes what Oedipus said earlier, telling him that he is gone "To a terrible place whereof men's ears / may not hear, nor their eyes behold it" (Sophocles lines 1313-1314). This image involves both blindness and sight, recognizing that now that Oedipus sees the truth, he has immersed himself in a world of darkness, though in a sense he has always lived blind in a worked of darkness because he has failed to see.
The centrality of the gods is evident as Oedipus has seen himself as favored by the gods, and that idea is part of his excessive pride. Now that he has had the truth revealed to him, he states, "But now I am hated by the gods" (Sophocles line 1519). He has failed in the world and wants to escape from the world as much as possible equating the world with his sense. He has blinded himself, and he would be removed from other sense as well, asking Creon, "Drive me from here with all the speed you can / to where I may not hear a human voice" (Sophocles lines 1436-1437).
The story of Oedipus is a lesson in the damage caused by pride, and his punishment is truly terrible for a crime predicted and inescapable. He serves as an example to others, which may be why the gods used him and punished him for a crime he could not avoid, perhaps as a waning to those who could avoid the sin of pride and would do so now that they see the punishment.
Green, Janet M. "Sophocles' Oedipus Rex."
The Explicator, Volume 52, Issue 1 (1993), 2-3.
Grene, David and Richard Lattimore (eds.). Sophocles: Volume II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Payne, Robert. Hubris: A Study of Pride. New York: Harper Torchbook, 1960.
Tarnas, Richard, the Passion of the Western…
Oedipus as Tragic Hero In most dramatic plays, tragedy usually strikes the protagonist of the play and leads him, or her, to experience devastating losses. While tragic instances can be avoided, there are other instances where one's fate and future is out of the protagonist's control. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles and first performed around 249 BC, Oedipus cannot escape his destiny and even though he tries to overcome
Oedipus Rex Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex" is the most famous of his tragedies in which Greek dramatic irony reaches an apex (Sophocles1 pp). Aristotle was a great admirer of Sophocles, and considered Oedipus Rex to be the perfect example of tragedy (Outline pp). According to Aristotle, tragedy is an imitation of action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude, in which language is embellished with each kind of artistic ornament
As a result, he flees from Corinth, where Polybus and Merope, are in order for the prophecy not to be fulfilled. The statement "truth has made me strong" is partially false, because while the main character believed that his life was exactly as he made it, it was actually shaped by his fate. A chain of events had lead to the forming of Oedipus as a strong and wise man.
It is this lead character's outrage that drives the plot, rather than any journey of self-discovery or some fateful intervention. This is seen when Antigone declares her defiance of the king: "I will bury him myself. / and if death comes, so be it. / There'll be glory in it. / ... The gods will be proud of me." Rather than placing the importance of the gods first, Antigone
Thus, his thirst for knowledge prompts the tragedy to a certain degree. His wife and mother at the same time attempts to dissuade him from the further pursuit of truth, hinting in a very interesting phrase that such 'fantasies' as the wedlock to one's mother is a constant appearance in dreams and should simply be ignored: "This wedlock with thy mother fear not thou. / How oft it chances
His nephew turned against his own country and he got what he deserved. but, in king Creon's view, death is not enough. He believes in setting an example and uses the occasion as an opportunity to make a point and warn all those who dared to defy their country of the fate that was expecting them, too. In this case, King Creon is wrong, because he will eventually pay