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OEDIPUS THE TRAGIC HERO BY SEAN WILKINS SEAN WILKINS John Janzen Humanities December 2 2000 According to the ancient Greeks and Aristotle the hero is a person who possesses superior qualities of mind and body and who proves his superiority by doing great deeds of valor strength or intellect In Sophocles Oedipus Rex the main character Oedipus possesses these characteristics of a true hero which in turn lead to his self-destruction In the beginning of the play Oedipuss great intellect is made known by the chorus who see him as someone who has proven his wisdom someone who has single-handedly saved Thebes in years present from the Sphinx and someone who is adored by his people He displays his great intellect when the priest declares You freed us from the Sphinx you came to Thebes and cut us loose from the bloody tribute we had paid that harsh brutal singer We taught you nothing no skill no extra knowledge still you triumphed A god was with you so they say and we believe it-you lifted up our lives Sophocles 1226 Another sign of Oedipuss intellectual achievement is his self-blinding Though he may not see the world with his eyes he can now see his true self and what he was To me personally Oedipus is a kind of symbol of the human intelligence which cannot rest until it has solved all the riddles even the last riddle the riddle of his own life The hero being blessed with superior qualities of mind and body loved to engage in battle preferably with another hero since combat gave him the best chance to demonstrate his Wilkins 2 physical strength D Brendan Nagle author of The Ancient World A Social and Cultural History contends that the
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