Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.

Essay by MaHeLa.JHigh School, 12th gradeA+, July 2003

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The play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles may be viewed as a Greek tragic drama as it involves the downfall of a tragic hero, in this case Oedipus. This play contains all the hallmarks of a Greek drama by engaging the audience and relating them to the characters. It involves the overbearing hubris and hamartia, cleansing of the catharsis, and dramatic irony. The contrast of the protagonist at the beginning and end of the play show a downfall and the poetic words of the chorus provide a commentary of the action. The play contains all the key features of a tragedy, with a tragic hero of noble birth, a tragic flaw, a fall from grace, a moment of remorse, and catharsis.

Oedipus, like all tragic heroes, is an honourable King whose is looked up to by subjects and people alike. However, he has a tragic flaw which leads to his downfall.

In this play, it could be argued that Oedipus' hamartia is infact his arrogance and hubris. Indeed he does say "the world knows my fame," and thinks he is above the knowledge of the blind seer. His anger is another flaw. He kills his father out of anger, thereby fulfilling half of the prophecy and then asks "what stopped you from tracking down the killer then and there?" His swiftness, in part, is his strength. It aids him to become king but ironically it also causes his downfall along with his disbelief of the truth. He disregards what the seer tells him without thinking, and when it is very coincidental that Jocasta tells him of a prophecy similar to his, he chooses to dismiss it out of fear of the truth.

It could also be argued that curiosity and persistence is part of his hamartia. His threat to the shepherd,