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Oedipus: Sophecles Tragic Hero

A perfect tragedy should imitate actions which excite pity and fear and through pity and fear effect the proper purgation of the emotions. (Aristotle, Poetics) Oedipus Rex, by Sophecles, is a true tragedy and the character of Oedipus is the archetype of the tragic hero. Moral corruption and depravity did not bring upon Oedipus misfortune. He is then pitied as a tragic character because he had no control over his future and misfortune. Oedipus was highly prosperous and renowned, making his collapse even more tragic. Sophecles drama fills the reader with horror and causes them to empathize with the pitiful and tragic hero. Oedipus Rex is the epitome of dramatic tragedy, and Oedipus is the archetype of the tragic hero.

In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus does nothing to deserve the horrors he must face. He has no knowledge that he killed his father and married his mother. He is introduced as a moral and good person, who leaves behind his beloved parents (or who he believes to be his parents) in order to spare their lives from his prophecy. His misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity . (Aristotle, Poetics) Oedipus was not morally corrupt, therefore is a tragic hero. He did nothing to deserve his misfortunate fate, and that is the real tragedy.

Sophecles states in Poetics that a tragic hero should be one who is highly renowned and prosperous. Oedipus was not only known to all as the King of Thebes, but as the savior of the city from the evil Sphinx. The priest states in the opening of the play, Oedipus, Greatest in all men s eyes Noblest of men. This land of ours calls you its savior. Because he was the great and noble King Oedipus, his demise is that much more tragic. The reader feels both fear and pity for Oedipus, making Oedipus Rex a perfect tragedy.

The story of Oedipus Rex is constructed so that the reader is thrilled by the horrors Oedipus must face, and is overwhelmed with pity for the tragic hero. The plot is so tragic and horror filled that even without the aid of the eye, he who hears the tale told will thrill with horror and melt to pity at what takes place. (Aristotle, Poetics) Because of the manipulation of emotion by Sophecles, the reader receives the impression that Oedipus Rex is a tragedy. The reader can t help but feel horror and pity for the tragic archetype of Oedipus, and that is what makes Oedipus the epitome of tragedies.

Sophecles created the epitome of dramatic tragedy when he wrote Oedipus Rex. The tragic hero, Oedipus, serves to excite pity and fear in the reader, manipulating their emotions. The reader is thrilled with horror and overcome with the pity for the tragic character, Oedipus. Because Oedipus misfortune was not brought upon by vice or moral corruption, he is viewed as the tragic character. The pity felt for him after his fall from greatness elevates the story to tragedy. Oedipus greatness is juxtaposed by his demise, and his demise is viewed as even more tragic. The horror of the plot and the pity felt towards Oedipus is what has made him the archetype of the tragic hero, and has made Sophecles drama Oedipus Rex a perfect tragedy.

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