Aristotles Description Of Tragic Hero English Literature Essay Free Essay

Literary, the word calamity means “ a caprine animal vocal ” . This might be in mention to the act of supplying a caprine animal as a award or forfeit during Greek spiritual festivals in grasp to the God Dionysos. Regardless of how the term might hold come into being, it came to show a dramatic presentation for baronial and high earnestness character is poetry and play. The character seeks to place how adult male understands the will of the Gods and the significance of life in the presence of decease. In calamity, persons are put to prove by terrible agony and must confront the effects. Easterling & A ; Knox ( 1985 ) explain that while some people might run into the challenges with actions of awful inhuman treatment, some demonstrate the will and ability to excel hardship and hence winning the esteem of adult male and turn outing to be great persons in society ( Easterling & A ; Knox,1985 ) . The paper will get down by giving Aristotle ‘s definition of a tragic hero and subsequently supply accounts as to why Sophocles ‘ Oedipus fits this definition.

Aristotle ‘s description of a tragic Hero

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There are a figure of features that Aristotle uses to specify a tragic hero but one common facet among all of them is that the person has some illustriousness but he is non perfect and hence ends up doing his ain ruin. Although the penalty is non entirely deserved, it is non wholly a loss because there is some positive facet that it comes with. For case the single gets more recognized in the society. In Sophocles ‘ Oedipus Rex, Oedipus who is the chief character is depicted as a true hero since childhood but subsequently leads to his ain ruin doing him the best illustration of a tragic hero.

Discussion of Oedipus ‘ character that makes him a tragic hero

Compassion and good purposes of his actions

The unfortunate flowering of events in Oedipus ‘ life makes him a tragic hero. Looking at his character you can non neglect to recognize his compassion and his apprehension that he was making the right thing. His ethical motives and purposes are hence good and in instances where he makes mistakes, they still have some dedicated trueness. To get down with, he was given a prognostication as a immature kid that he was to kill his male parent and get married his female parent. Because of his good connotations, he decided to run off so that he could non see what he had been prophesized approximately. There is some compassion in the pick he made because no good adult male would desire to kill his male parent allow entirely get marrieding his ain female parent ( Hammond, 2009 ) . Although it ‘s clear that he had good connotation in taking destiny in his custodies and running off, it actions brought about opposite effects to what he had anticipated.

Harmonizing to Rosenberg ( 2001 ) , the hero valued accomplishment, strength, finding and bravery. These are the properties that can enable an person to accomplish the award and glorification both in life and when he is dead. Despite his bad pique, he is besides a compassionate human being as illustrated when he addresses the citizens of the metropolis. He explains to them of how he understands the jobs they were traveling through and it was for this ground that he pitied them. He adds that even though every citizen of the metropolis merely cared for his good heath and belonging, he cares and heartaches for the full metropolis, its citizens and himself. Oedipus went on and said of how he understood how ill the citizens were but he was speedy to add that every bit ill as they were, there illness could non compare to his. ( Sophocles 1226 ) .

Great wisdom and heroic

When the drama begins, Oedipus is portrayed as a great mind by the people who consider him to be of great wisdom. He individual handedly saved the Thebes society when he unraveled the Sphinx conundrum and was granted Kingship. So many people adored him. The priest even negotiations of how he freed the Thebes from the Sphinx and goes on to state that a God was with Oedipus ( Sophocles, 1999 ) . As the male monarch, he vowed to condemn the individual who killed his pa King Laius to decease ( Slattery, 1989 ) . He is seen to respond violently to state of affairss he finds himself in because he makes determinations while he is in choler. Harmonizing to Kaplain & A ; Schwartz ( 2008 ) , Oedipus volunteered to seek for the liquidator of Laius and even cursed the slayer to a life of purdah and wretchedness. The two go on to explicate that there was no stopper that could do the load that Oedipus was traveling through. Alternatively things continue to blossom one at a clip. Though he wanted to alter his destiny, he ended up killing his male parent Lauis and went in front and married his female parent. When he came to cognize the truth of what he had done, he had to stand by his word and confront his ain judgement. He was so ashamed of seeking to alter his destiny and even left the land. Since he was unable to forgive himself for what he had done, he was murdered mentally. His life is hence destroyed when he realized the existent narrative.

Arouses commiseration and fright

As defined by Aristotle, a tragic hero is one whose narrative arouses fright and commiseration from the audience. Looking at how things unfolded in Oedipus ‘ life, you largely probably will experience commiseration for him because it is clear that he had good connotations for his actions but he ends up in calamity doing him a tragic hero. The audience feels some sense of katharsis. This is an emotional purge. For an person to elicit some sense of fright or commiseration he has to be of a epic stature as Aristotle and caring explains. As a male monarch, Oedipus was really caring. He took attention of his people with so much love. He says “ Tell me, and ne’er uncertainty that I will assist youaˆ¦ ” ( Sphoricles, 13 ) . Easterling & A ; Knox indicate that Aristotle believes that fright and commiseration will originate from the alteration from good luck to bad of an person who is neither conspicuous for a frailty nor virtuousness. Furthermore this is a adult male whose ruin is non because of his evil but because of an mistake ( Easterling & A ; Knox, 1985 ) . Oedipus brevity is seen when he frees the metropolis from its walls of dearth. When he was awarded Kingship, he attains the epic stature. All that happened after came when Oedipus had already attained the heroic stature. It is because of his agony that the metropolis was saved from the pestilence. Even when he went for expatriate, it was all for the good of the people. As you would anticipate, seeing person leave a metropolis he had saved arouses some empathy in the audience. The people of the metropolis are profoundly brokenhearted, sad and sympathetic to him. They are besides appreciative of Oedipus willingness to salvage the metropolis by traveling to expatriate. There had ne’er been such a celebrated monetary value in Thebes. The people believed that he was the lone male monarch who had treated them with equality: the people love him every bit much as he loves them.

Suffer because of his mistakes

Miller ( xxxx ) believes that an person who is admired by many in every topographic point he goes and necessitate this esteem to go on has utmost self-love and that has to be magniloquence. This sort of self-love is witnessed when an person greatly admires himself, his beauty, quality, endowment, inventiveness, accomplishments and success. However, when one of these things fails, so the possibility of a terrible depression is non excessively far. When the Herdsmen told Oedipus of whom his female parent was, he could non believe it. In fact he laments of being born where he was non supposed to ( Sophocles, 1999 ) . He was blinded by his magniloquence to prosecute the inquiring of his destiny non cognizing that even though it is non deserved there was really small he could make to alter it. Just like Aristotle says, a tragic hero must endure from his ain actions. The same applies to Oedipus because he ended up enduring for the determination he took even though he had good connotation when making what he did.

By adverting illness, he does non mention to the normal or biological illness we are used to. He alternatively refers to metal illness and fury he had with all the inquiries running in his head. He tells the citizens that he shared their sorrow and hurting and could non even afford to kip since he was busy looking for replies to the enduring the metropolis was traveling through. Just like Aristotle expects of a tragic hero, Oedipus is a compassionate adult male who goes out to seek for the truth on behalf of his people. Because of his heroic position, he chose a series of actions which led to his ruin. For case, he had the opportunity to go forth the pestilence entirely and travel on with his ain life but because of his heroic position he ended up taking on the duty of looking for the remedy of the pestilence. His commiseration for the agony citizens besides compelled him to look for replies from the Oracle of Delphi.

Aristotle explains that a tragic hero has to be an of import individual in the society who makes an mistake in his judgement and ends up enduring the effects. This feature is seen when Oedipus pressures Teiresias to state him the exact truth about his male parent ‘s name and his fate. Even though Teiresias warns him about the horrid wickedness he had been wrapped in together with is loved 1s, Oedipus still insists on being told the truth ( Sophocles, 1999 ) . In the terminal when Teiresias merely tried to slowly state him the truth, Oedipus could non take any of that because of his pride. He wholly refuses to accept that he was responsible for the offense. Subsequently own he came to recognize that there was more to life than an person ‘s destiny ( Kaplain & A ; Scwartz, 2008 ) .

Ego, pride and pique

As the King, the three features that made Oedipus autumn on his articulatio genuss are ego, pride and pique. He was overwhelmed by his pride which even became his failing. His self-importance is besides apparent when he says it was incorrect for his kids to acquire the truth from other couriers. This is an indicant that he was the lone one to go through the truth to his kids. He even adds that the universe new his celebrity ( Sophocles 1225 ) . It is this same pride that makes him to impeach his uncle/brother falsely. His pique is apparent when he tells Creon that he wanted him dead. Creon nevertheless tells him that it was incorrect to take a bad adult male for good and a good adult male for bad and that he was to witness the existent significance of this Oklahoman than subsequently. Oedipus pique is hence another cause of his ruin.

Oedipus aristocracy deceived him because it merely showed his wonderful and perfect face but non his mental position ( Miller xxxx ) . He was emotionally unsighted and hence could non understand that his good connotations would convey him misery. He subsequently have realizes that his actions were incorrect when he says “ what usage are my eyes to me, who could ne’er see anything pleasant once more? “ ( Sophocles, 1999, 1293 ) . Although he is a good adult male, he makes some incorrect determinations and ends up enduring because of them. If Oedipus had non been so egotistic or judgmental, he would non hold ended the life of King Laius or referred to Teiresias as a prevaricator.

Oedipus interior strength to prosecute the truth at whatever cost makes him a great individual. He besides has the strength to digest whatever truth was found. His interior strength is besides illustrated when he asks to be driven by Creon far off from the sight of everyone to a land where he wo n’t be able to here any of their voices. He hence accepts his error and is ready to take on whatever penalty he was handed. There is no individual clip when Oedipus laments why all that was go oning to him. Slattery ( 1989 ) explains that when a intimation is given to a hero about the deduction of his destiny and magnitude of his mission, he rapidly rushes towards it. His hapless judgement and choler is besides demonstrated by his connotations to perpetrate a homicide against Jocasta who was no longer a married woman before Oedipus but instead a betraying female parent who had abandoned his kid. This is the ground why he was ready to kill her. Kaplan & A ; Schwartz ( 2008 ) province that after Oedipus had known who her female parent was, he rushed to the castle merely to happen that Jocasta had hanged herself. This is when he blinds himself because he could non confront either the dead or the life. As Oedipus blinding ends the drama, it besides gives some enlightenment about his tragic stoping or gallantry. There is a possibility that if he had found her alive, he would hold killed her. Such sort of judgement and high piques make him a tragic hero.

Aristotle believes that every tragic hero has some ruin. Oedipus autumn from grace nevertheless begins at the flood tide of the drama when he discovers himself. The courier realizes that the kid he saved some times back was the King. The particular facet of this find is non for the courier but for the King who realizes who he was. This is the ground why he blinds himself cognizing that the prophesy he had run off from has either manner been fulfilled. The tragic autumn makes the audience see a blind and incapacitated sick person instead than the well-thought-of hero we knew in the beginning. It is hence because of his misreckonings like Aristotle says that he becomes a tragic hero. Even though Oedipus is the King and hence should be taking by illustration, his pride and fury makes him a bud illustration to the society. He becomes really obstinate and even forces the Herdsmen to state him about his yesteryear ( Easterling & A ; Knox, 1985 ) . This besides contributes to his ruin.


Oedipus absolutely fits Aristotle ‘s description of a tragic hero because he possesses all the features and regulations with an anagnorisis, tragic flaw and peripetia. The audience is foremost introduced to the tragic flow of Oedipus at the beginning of the drama. He believes that he could avoid his ain destiny that was given through the prophet at Delphi saying that he was to get married his female parent after killing his pa. By go forthing the metropolis, he thought that he could alter the will of the Gods. The audience nevertheless understands that you can non run off from your destiny. Once an prophet has been passed, there is really small one can alter irrespective of where he hides. The prophet was hence bound to come true regardless of how long it would take. Oedipus ‘ tragic flaw is his belief that he could alter the result of the prophet. His anagnorisis is witnessed when he gets the intelligence that he was married to his ain female parent and more so he is responsible for the decease of former King Lauis. Oedipus together with the people of Thebes had been seeking for the individual who killed the former King so that they could drive him out of the metropolis and acquire rid of the pestilence merely to happen that it was their ain King Oedipus whom they truly loved.

Oedipus is so led to his ruin because he had to lodge by his words for the mistake he had made. To get down with, he is put to dishonor before the whole metropolis for the thought of get marrieding his ain female parent and most significantly he comes to recognize that despite all his attempt, he had non avoided the prophet. The facet of tragic hero therefore is all about the fact despite being a great adult male with intelligence, he unwittingly makes and mistake and it costs him in the terminal. He faces both the good and the bad in life but his evil side becomes more conspicuous than the good thinks he did. Although he is decidedly non perfect like any other human being, he blinded by his ain self-importance and refuses to believe the truth. Harmonizing to Smith ( 2009 ) physical sight is usually associated with truth, cognition, and visible radiation while darkness is associated with the antonyms of all these. However it is ironical that the unsighted Teirsisas is able to see what the to the full sighted King Oedipus could non see. When he eventually able to see, he terns blind. This even arouses commiseration in the audience and leaves them experiencing katharsis.

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