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Oedipus Rex A man who is highly renowned and prosperous but one who is not pre-eminently virtuous and just whose misfortune however is brought upon him not by vice andor depravity but by some error of judgment or frailty - Aristotle In Sophocles Oedipus The King Oedipus the main character who kills his father and marries his mother undoubtedly qualifies as a tragic hero According to Aristotles definition a tragic hero must be highly renowned and prosperous Oedipus was the King of Thebes and was highly renowned for solving the riddle of the Sphinx and killing the monster A victim of fate vilified by all he discovers his own downfall and rips out his eyes in self-punishment This is castration for his incestuous sin One of Oedipus key flaws lies in his will to know-and thereby to control all reality Oedipus knowledge and determination help him intellectually with solving mysteries - like the riddle of the Sphinx - but lead him ultimately to his tragic downfall The petition of the chorus that opens Oedipus the King attests to Oedipus responsible leadership He has been a good king for Thebes and when in trouble is forthright to saving his city but in his excitement and energy Oedipus has no discretion When for example Creon wisely hints that they should discuss the prophecy from the oracle in private Oedipus refuses insisting that every action related to freeing corruption from the city must be public In his path to follow his will with an intellectual passion Oedipus listens to no one and is convinced he is doing nothing but good His dynamic drive to solve the mystery and perform this intellectual feat in front of all his people end in horror as he finally discovers that the murderer is no one but himself By this total error of judgment and blindness Oedipus makes himself a tragic hero To the chorus Oedipus
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