|Term Paper Title
||A Tragic Hero
|# of Words
|# of Pages (250 words per page double spaced)
A Tragic Hero
The downfall of a hero follows from his very nature. In Sophocles play, Oedipus the King, (reprinted in X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 6th ed. New York, NY 1995), the playwright focuses on a man named Oedipus, the king of Thebes, who is trying to discover the truth about his past. When he was born, his parents learned from an oracle that their child would someday be the cause of their death. Believing the oracle, they abandoned their infant son with the intention of killing him. However, without their knowledge he is rescued and raised by another couple. After many years, Oedipus visits a different oracle and is informed that one day he will kill his father and sleep with his mother. He flees his home for fear that he is a danger to his parents safety. The frightened Oedipus travels to Thebes, but on the journey he becomes engaged in a quarrel. He kills King Laios and Laios' men not realizing that the king is his biological father. After reaching Thebes he becomes the new king by solving a riddle and lifting a plaque from the city. Oedipus quickly marries a woman named Iocaste, the queen, and together they have four children. In Thebes the murder of the old King Laios remains unknown, a plaque is again placed upon the city by the gods. Oedipus, being the new leader of Thebes, pledges to discover the identity of the murderer so he can end the disaster. In his searching, Oedipus discovers that he is the murderer of the king and eventually discovers that Iocaste is really his own mother. In a Greek tragedy the hero is a character amply capable of choices, capable, too of accepting the consequences. Whether Oedipus' sufferings are due to a flaw of character or to an error of judgement, we discover that his downfall results from acts for which he himself is responsible.
Oedipus is responsible for his own downfall. Through anger he lost control of his actions. On his way to Thebes, Oedipus came upon a chariot drawn by horses. As the charioteer pushed him off the road, Oedipus struck him with rage.
The old man saw me/ and brought his double goad down upon my head/
Swinging my club in this right hand I knocked him / Out of his car and he rolled on the ground./ I killed him/ I killed them all. (S2 1127).
Oedipus never stopped to consider his actions. He unknowingly fulfilled half of the prophecy by letting his anger get the best of him. He was capable of controlling his em...
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