“Oedipus’ Tragic Hero Characteristics”
Oedipus The King is Sophocles most recognized work. The story revolves around the king of Thebes, Oedipus’ quest to discover and eliminate the cause of the plague that has stricken his land. Oedipus discovers that his past his very different from what he had imagined and how most “kings” were born and raised. Oedipus, being a true tragic hero starts his own downfall, has many flaws that hinder his situation and lead him to self-mutilation and rejection or simply a downfall.
Oedipus was brought to Thebes to be king after Laius’ unsolved death. He saved his kingdom from the evil Sphinx in the past by solving its riddle. The people of the land were proud of their king and praised him for saving them. The land was fine for many years until a new plague had taken over the land and was killing off many inhabitants. Oedipus starts his own downfall by bringing in a prophet to discover what was causing the plague. He discovers the murderer of Laius must be killed or exiled from the land for the plague to halt. Oedipus now takes the situation into his own hands and is determined to find Laius’ murderer. He starts off with a speech asking his people if the murderer or anybody who knows the murderer would step forward and announce him or herself. If they responded the only punishment they would receive would be banishment from the kingdom. Nobody replied to his statement so out of anger Oedipus announces that the person held responsible for Laius’ death will be punished to the fullest extent. He then sends Creon to retrieve Tiresias, a well-known prophet of the area to help him get any information on Laius’ murderer.
Oedipus’ character flaws become evident upon the arrival of Tiresias. Tiresias tries to avoid telling Oedipus what he knows when he first arrives. “Just send me home. You bear your burdens, I’ll bear mine. It’s better that way, please believe me” (626). Oedipus who is quick tempered and persistently...