Oedipus Rex A Tragic Hero
Oedipus Rex A Tragic Hero Umm-e-Rooman YaqoobGroup 2Group MembersUmm-e-Rooman Yaqoob (Roll no. 3)Mehak Rasool(Roll no. 43)Rabia Ashiq (Roll no. 28)Samia Shabbir (Roll no. 24)Sara George (Roll no. 38)Umm-e-Rooman YaqoobRoll no. 3The Definition of a Tragic HeroAccording to Aristotle the tragic hero must be a person of noble birth and prosperity whose misfortune results, not from depravity or vice but from some hamartia i.e. a tragic flaw or an error of judgment from the hero. Aristotle gives the example of Oedipus as a great and successful tragic hero.Aristotle`s definition of a tragic hero consists of the following five points:
The tragic hero is a man of noble structure. The tragic hero is a good person and his downfall results from his committing of an act of injustice through ignorance. His fate may contribute to his downfall, but it is ultimately the hero's own choices and actions that lead to his fall. The hero's misfortune is not entirely deserved. The punishment which is given to the tragic hero exceeds the crime. The tragic fall is not pure loss. He learns something that he was ignorant to previously.
Throughout the playOedipus Rex,by Sophocles, the character Oedipus proves to be a perfectmatchfor "Aristotle's" tragic hero. In fact, as the play moves on it almost seems as though Aristotle created his definition of a tragic hero by defining Oedipus. By definition of Aristotle, Oedipus is a tragic hero in the play because he is a man of noble structure, he is good, but falls because of an act of injustice, his downfall is his own fault, his misfortune is not fully deserved, and because he gains some self-knowledge through the resolution.
Cause of Oedipus Misfortune
There were different causes which brought misfortunes to Oedipus. Some were his own Flaws but some were brought by fate. Some of the causes are as follows:-Moral WisdomCharacter and FateOedipus GoodnessPity and Fear
Mehak RasoolRoll no. 43
Moral WisdomTraditionally, Oedipus Rex has been regarded as a play which enshrines much moral wisdom, although the wisdom itself has been identified variously. One view is that the play teaches man to restrain himself within the range of his finite qualities and not to compete with the gods. It is very difficult to say that the misfortune of Oedipus results from some flaw in his character or some error of judgment committed by him. Oedipus is, no doubt, rash, impatient, imitable, and passionate. Further he is very proud of his intelligence and believes that he can find answer to every problem.Yet if we take his tragedy to be the basic action of incest and parricide then these flaws of Oedipus are quite irrelevant. It is Oedipus who proclaims a severe punishment for the murderer of Laius and says that he will award punishment even to himself if he is found guilty. Although the predictions cannot be taken as responsible for the action mentioned in them, yet they add to the suffering and humiliation of Oedipus.
Rabia AshiqRoll no. 28
Character and FateGreek tragedy is generally believed to be tragedy of fate. At the most we can say that both character and fate play a part in the tragedy of Oedipus. Oedipus is certainly the victim of adverse chances and in this sense fate plays part in his tragedy.Oedipus is certainly the victim of adverse chances, like his encounter with passenger whom he killed not knowing that he was his father. But his own character cannot be put aside in the context.
It is because of his character as a great discoverer of truth and a man determined to find out what he has decided to discover that Oedipus meets with tragic end. In the scene where he is cross-examining the shepherds, Jocasta begs him not to carry investigation further but he pays no heed to her words. The Theban shepherd also begs that he may not be asked to disclose what he knows, but Oedipus forces him to tell the whole truth. It is this determination of Oedipus to find out the whole truth at any cost which makes him tragic. As one critic says , what happens to Oedipus is the natural result of his virtues and vices , which also combines with those of other people.
Samia ShabbirRoll no. 24
Oedipus GoodnessOedipus is a great leader. He led the country with success and prosperity. Sophocles shows that Oedipus is strong at the end of the play when Oedipus chooses not to kill himself. He instead blinds himself so he doesnt have to look upon the world. Oedipus decides to live on and fight through the eternal pain that lives inside of him. Society shouldnt pity the dead but instead pity the living, especially those who live without love and friendship. It can be said that the tragedy of Oedipus is the result more of his good qualities than his bad ones. To Oedipus the discovery of truth is more important than his own good and safety. He decides to carry on investigation knowing that it will not produce any result which will be safe for him. He is so honest with himself that he inflicts the punishment of self-blinding when he learns that he has committed horrible crimes against his parents. He even insists on Creon to banish him from the city as demanded by the Oracle. Its worth nothing that, even when he learns the horrific truth of his life, Oedipus himself takes on the full responsibility for his own punishment.Sara GeorgeRoll no. 38
Pity and FearAccording to Aristotle, tragedy arouses the feeling of pity and fear. Pity chiefly for the hero`s tragic fate and fear at the sight of certain horrible situations the hero faces. There is, of course, a great sense of pity and fear for Oedipus who has in vain been searching for his parents. All this while he has tried to avoid doing wrong to them by leaving Corinth and who yet finds that he has unconsciously become guilty of the gravest offences against both his parents. Along with pity there is also the feeling of great terror. Suffering of Jocasta and Oedipus seems to us largely undeserving. This mystery of undeserved sufferings does inspire a sense of terror in us. In this play, we feel pity not only for the plight of Oedipus, but also for Jocasta as well as for Oedipus`s daughters. However, the play does not produce a final impression of gloom. On the other hand, after being hit by fate and unavoidable circumstances, we feel a great respect for Oedipus when he displays his indomitable courage. Thus, the effect of Oedipus Rex is more complex than causing the feeling of mere pity and fear.Thank You