The Tragedy Of Oedipus The King Essay

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The Tragedy Of Oedipus The King Essay, Research Paper The story of a tragic hero is a tale of a hero that comprises his goodness and superiority, but which are overshadowed by a tragic flaw in which the hero makes fatal errors in judgement that ultimately leads to the downfall and a final tragic realization of the hero. It is at this time in which the hero understands how he has unwittingly helped bring about his own destruction and absence of freewill. In Sophocles?s tragedy of Oedipus the King, Oedipus falls under the common description of a tragic hero. There are many examples that define Oedipus as such, but there are three that stand out the most. First, he is a man that believes there is a purpose to what he does, yet his actions lead to pain and disaster. Second, he is

able to learn from suffering and have a deeper understanding of himself, as is a common characteristic of a tragic hero. And finally, there are times Oedipus understands and believes the differences between right and wrong, yet he discovers that his good is often evil and that morality produces immoral results. Oedipus is a just, compassionate and sympathetic ruler who is beloved by all his people. When the priests of Thebes approach him, pleading for help on behalf of the people who were suffering from plague and famine, Oedipus, as the leader of Thebes, immediately agrees and feels that he alone is the main sufferer of this catastrophe, he states, ?Oh my piteous children, known, well known to me are the desires wherewith ye have come: well wot I that ye suffer all; yet,

sufferers as ye are, there is not one of you whose suffering is as mine? (123). He promises the priests to fully defeat the problem of the plague that has been put on the city by the Gods as a way to find the murderer of Laius. Oedipus feels it?s his sworn duty as king to do everything possible to protect the city, and therefore acknowledges that he will discover who murdered Laius and bring him to justice. This shows that he is a man that believes in his duties and that there is a purpose to what he does. In addition to being a good rule Oedipus was also a filial son. When he first was informed about the prophecy in Corinth that he would kill his father and marry his mother, he was unwilling to stay and left immediately, in case any circumstances would ever lead him to kill the

King and marry the Queen of Corinth, whom he had then thought of as his natural parents. Unknowingly, it is his strong admiration for his people and purpose as king and his fidelity as a son that lead to his downfall. Oedipus is blind to the fact that his attempt to escape the very prophecy that he knew would destroy his life in Corinth, ended up being fulfilled in Thebes with his natural born parents. Because of the prophecies dictated by the God Apollo, Oedipus had no freewill. Everything he does is already predicted and set in stone. Ironically, it is both Oedipus and Laius and Jocasta?s fears of the oracles prediction and their resolve to maintain the prophecy from not occurring that ultimately lead to the fulfilment of the prophecy. King Laius and Jocasta decide to abandon

Oedipus on the mountainside and leave him to die when he was but a few weeks old to insure that he would not grow up to kill his father. However, fate intervened and Oedipus found himself being adopted by the King and Queen of Corinth. As Oedipus became older he too became aware of the prophecy of Apollo and left the land of Corinth in order to protect both his ?parents? and himself from allowing the prophecy to be fulfilled. After leaving Corinth he solved the Sphinx?s riddle and became the successor of King Laius as the King of Thebes and married his widow, Jacosta. When the gods could no longer stand for Oedipus? acts, they punished the city by sending plague and famine upon the city. When approached by the priests, Oedipus could only promise them his help, which started off