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Oedipus The King

Oedipus The King Sometimes humans try to avoid their inevitable destiny for their lives; there are moments that we may think of ourselves as invincible and smarter than what is already decided. There may also be a point when making a decision leads to a great error in judgment. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, both of these problems are noticed in the character, Oedipus. They are known as tragic flaws. A tragedy must have the character to have a flaw in his hamartia.

Oedipus single flaw that is pointed out is hubris, excessive pride. A single flaw can allow a man to be defeated. Oedipus the King is a tragedy. A tragedy is a play that portrays a conflict between human beings and some superior, overwhelming force. It ends sorrowfully and disastrously, and the outcome seems inevitable.

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In a tragedy, the hero is upper class that is capable of suffering. He is neither good nor bad. Due to the flaws in his actions and behaviors, he will have everything and lose it all. He is the hero and king of Thebes, but because of his fate, he ends up being blind in exile. Oedipus runs from his own homeland including his mother and father. He is trying to escape his fate.

The gods above told him that he would, in his future, kill his father and marry his mother. By moving somewhere else, he believes his parents will be safe from him. Someone told him that Polybus and Merope were not his real parents so he asked them, but they lied telling him they were. Oedipus still has doubts so he goes to Delphi where he is told the truth, but not the identity of his real parents. He flees Corinth where his parents are in order to avoid the prophecy. Oedipus leaves Corinth and heads in the opposite direction towards Thebes.

On his journey, a chariot tries to run him of the road. He became very angry, which causes him to become violent so he kills Laius and the men who are with him. One man escaped the wrath of Oedipus and fled back to Thebes. Although he does not know Laius was his father, he is one step closer to fulfilling the prophecy. Oedipus is on the path close to the town of Thebes where this is a Sphinx who kills people who cannot answer her riddle. Oedipus succeeds in solving the riddle, causing the Sphinx to destroy herself.

He is received with enthusiasm by the Thebans that just lost their king. The Thebans make him king and he marries Jocasta who was married to the late Laius. He is ignorant in knowing that not only has he killed his father, but also now, he has married his mother. Oedipus sinks low because of his tragic flaws, his actions, and his inability to dance around ones fate. There is a plague in the land, so Oedipus wants it to go away, so he sends Creon to Delphi to find out what to do.

Creon is Jocastas sister and his brother-in-law. Apollo shot an arrow, which caused the plague because Laius death went unsolved. Apollo wants the killer(s) paid back for the murder. Oedipus wants to find the murderer, so he says that whoever killed Laius will be exiled or killed. Someone tells Oedipus to send for blind Tiresias who knows everything.

Tiresias does not want to tell Oedipus the truth, but Oedipus keeps harassing Tiresias even threatens him with torture. Finally, he tells Oedipus the truth but Oedipus does not want to believe the truth. Oedipus shows an error in judgment when he disregards Tiresias warning. He is too hardheaded to listen to what Tiresias has to say to him. In doing this, he creates his own downfall.

He disregards all the information given to him because he thinks that he can control his destiny. A servant announces to the king and his people that Jocasta was dead. She hung herself in her bedroom when she figured out that her husband was really her son. Her four children were by her first born who she thought was dead. Oedipus sees his mother/wifes body he pulls to pins out of her dress and gouges his eyes out with them.

He does this several times, causing blood to drip down his face and on his beard. He could not bear to see the damage that his life had caused. Oedipus keeps his word of punishing the murderer of Laius. He is sent in exile to Cithaeron where as a baby he was to have been left. He does not know if he will die there are not because he realizes now that the gods are in control of his destiny.

Apollo takes away the plague, since the murder of Laius was solved and punishment had been served. Oedipus was on top of the world and he literally lost everyone and everything that he had loved. He tried to avoid his fate but it was meant to be, so it happened. It does not make sense why his fate must be so terrible, but it could have to do with his single flaw. Oedipus never did anything that bad to deserve such a horrible life.

At least he was man enough to realize that it was not only Apollos fault, but his too. He lost some of his hubris throughout this horrible event. This all took place in one day at the palace in Thebes. Everyone has a downfall, some just have farther to fall than others do.

Oedipus the King

Oedipus Hamartia
Aristotle once said that a heros downfall must be a result of some tragic flaw within the character. This flaw was known as hamartia in the Greek world of Aristotle. Since Aristotle greatly admired Oedipus the King, many people believe that Oedipus must have had a prominent and complex hamartia. Discovering Oedipus hamartia within the play is not an easy task. In fact, it is impossible to point out Oedipus hamartia since I do not believe that he has one. Everything that he says or does throughout the play is justifiable in one way or another. There is always some logical explanation behind his thoughts and actions and, thus, Oedipus does not have a tragic flaw in his character.

There are a number of different points that one can analyze and claim to be Oedipushamartia. For instance, some people may examine Oedipus bad temper and label this as the flaw that leads to his downfall. Oedipus becomes enraged at Teiresias claim that he is the one who murdered Laius and he begins to believe that this is an attempt by Creon to overthrow him. Despite Oedipus anger in this situation, his reaction can be justified. First of all, Teiresias allegation that Oedipus is the killer is absurd to him since he would
never murder a king. Also, it seems logical that Creon would be behind such a scheme since he would be next in line to the throne. Therefore, Oedipus bad temper cannot be considered his hamartia.

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Another characteristic of Oedipus that some people tend to refer to as his hamartia is his murderous temperament. One can see this side of Oedipus when he recounts the story in which he killed the old man in the wagon as well as a few of the mans servants. However, Oedipus murderous rage was completely justified in this situation. After all, the old man and his servants were trying to throw Oedipus off the road by brute force. Oedipus, in a sense, was merely defending himself from these men and killed them only out of self-defense and rage. Hence, Oedipus murderous temperament cannot be his tragic flaw.

Some people even believe that Oedipus hamartia was carelessness. Surely anyone told about killing his father and sleeping with his mother would have avoided killing any man and sleeping with any woman. Oedipus, on the other hand, did kill a man and he did sleep with a woman. Therefore, some critics believe that he was careless. Oedipus, however, was completely careful in that he did everything in his will to get away from his parents. The only problem was that the parents he knew all his life were not his true parents. But this cannot be considered Oedipusfault nor can carelessness be viewed as his hamartia.

There are two other points that may be considered to be Oedipus tragic flaw. One deals with his possible pride and arrogance. Some people think that he is overly proud about his success with the Sphinx. This cannot be true, however, because he includes himself in the curse he made and is more than anxious to find the truth. The other point is Oedipus fatal curiosity which led to his inquiry into matters (Laius death) that might have been best left unexplored. This can hardly be considered a flaw by either the Greeks of ancient times or by people today. The truth is out there and although it may be unpalatable or dangerous, it is better than ignorance.
In conclusion, Oedipus the king of Thebes does not have a hamartia in the play. All of his emotions and actions throughout the play are completely justified and, thus, he doesnt possess a tragic flaw. Simply because a hero suffers a dreadful downfall, it does
not necessarily result from his own faults.


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