Hamartia: Oedipus' Tragic Flaw Essay

Hamartia Oedipus Tragic Flaw Term paper

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Oedipus The King 2
Oedipus Hamartia Aristotle once said that a hero s downfall must be a result of some tragic flaw within the character. This flaw was known as hamartia in the ...

According to Aristotle, the tragic hero is impeded by a distinguishable characteristic or character trait which leads to his ultimate demise. This trait is known as hamartia, or the "tragic flaw." This characteristic is said to not only lead to the hero's demise but may also enable the reader to sympathize with the character. So it follows that in Oedipus the King, a Greek tragedy, the tragic hero Oedipus should have some sort of flaw. However, after close examination of

Oedipus Essay
According to the Aristotelian characteristics of good tragedy, the tragic character should not fall due to either excessive virtue or excessive wickedness, but due to what Aristotle called hamartia. Hamartia ...
the text, no distinguishable "flaw" is revealed. Although Oedipus appears to have many "flaws" on the surface, namely his poor temperament, carelessness, curiosity and pride, close examination of the text reveals that he has many seemingly flawed characteristics that are not only justifiable but in some cases to be expected.

One might expect that a quick and even murderous temper would be considered a serious impediment to Oedipus. However, he is quite justified in his rage against Creon and Tiresias,

Tragic Heroes
Tragic heroes are found throughout Greek mythology and folklore. They are called tragic because their stories are tragedies. The two Greek plays, Antigone and Oedipus, are ...
and he has good reasons to suspect them of plotting against him. From the view point of Oedipus, he has just discovered that the antecedent king Laius was savagely murdered along with the members of his entourage. Furthermore the murder has yet to be solved many years later, and the gods have placed a plague on his city until the murderer(s) is apprehended and punished. After learning of the death of Laius, Oedipus concludes that the murderer is "a thief,
According to Aristotle's Poetics, a tragic hero can be hindered by harmartia which leads to his downfall. In Oedipus the King, a tragic play written by Sophocles ...
so daring, so wild, he'd kill a king? [It's] impossible, unless conspirators paid him off in Thebes" (140-142). Creon concurs that this thought had also crossed his mind. So with this evidence, it is easy to see why Oedipus is distrustful of his own peers.

Maybe the actual killing of Laius and his four servants is an extreme display of Oedipus' murderous temperament. While it may seem a bit extreme in hindsight, at the time of the incident his actions

Oedipus Rex
Oedipus Rex In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is a classic tragic hero in which makes the play a tragedy. According to Aristotle's definition, Oedipus ...
are totally justifiable. Oedipus describes the incident as thus: as he was

"making [his] way toward this triple crossroad [he] began to see a herald, then a brace of colts drawing a wagon, and mounted on the bench . . . a man, just as [Jocasta] described [Laius], coming face-to-face, and the one in the lead and the old man himself [was] about to thrust [him] off the road-brute force - and the one shouldering [him] aside, the driver, [he] struck

Oedipus Rex
Oedipus All tragic heroes suffer a downfall because of their tragic flaws. In the Greek story of Oedipus, he is responsible for his downfall because of his tragic flaws ...
[him] in anger - and the old man, watching [Oedipus] coming up along his wheels - he brings down his prod, two prongs straight at [his] head"(884-893).

Oedipus, although living in self imposed exile, still considers himself to be of royal blood. Therefore any offense, especially by some old man and his servants, is cause for a serious reprimand. In the case of Oedipus, this means murder. Although one could argue that Laius' actions are justified because he is a

Oedipus RexAt one time in our lives there is a moment that we may think of ourselves as better than someone or something else. There may also be a point ...
king, therefore superior, there is no evidence in
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