Oedipus Rex the Tragic Hero

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Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles is one of the most famous tragedies ever written. The play centers on Oedipus the King of Thebes, who is cursed with an unfortunate prophecy. Though Oedipus is doomed by fate, his own qualities lead to his eventual ruin. Oedipus is in fact a tragic hero, because he embodies every aspect of the definition itself, the first part of the definition states the character/protagonist must be of noble birth and possess noble and moralistic character, the second portion of the definition explains the character is not perfect; he or she contains a harmartia or tragic flaw, and the third component of the definition states the character must recognize their role in their own demise and in turn experience great self realization. The character Oedipus accommodates the first aspect of the definition of a tragic hero. Oedipus is of noble birth; he is the son of a king and a king himself. Oedipus also shows virtue, nobility, and morality throughout the play. The people of Thebes look towards Oedipus for guidance time and time again, because of these reasons. Oedipus saves the citizens from the totalitarian rule of the Sphinx, by solving the difficult and complicated riddle. Then again, near the conclusion of the play, Oedipus shows courage and self-sacrifice for the benefit of his people. He gouges out his own eyes and exiles himself from Thebes to save his people from the devastating plague. All this is evidence of Oedipus’ abundance of integrity and overall heroic qualities, in turn exhibiting his morality, virtue, and nobility. Oedipus is undoubtedly a righteous hero. Oedipus also embodies the second part of the definition of a tragic hero. Oedipus is by no means perfect and contains the key element belonging to a tragic hero, a tragic flaw. Oedipus’ tragic flaw is his self-righteousness, excessive pride, and ignorance. Oedipus expresses immediate

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