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Oedipus Rex as a Tragedy Oedipus Rex written by Greek playwright Sophocles is considered to be one of the most ingenious yet disturbing plays ever to be written This drama has greatly influenced Western culture as elements of this play can be seen throughout later literature legend and language becoming the standard for all other tragedies to be compared The tragic figure in this case Oedipus is responsible for his own downfall This leads to harmatia or an error in judgement usually a direct result of the initial hubris and sets in motion the incidents or consequences which lead to the destruction of the individual The tragic figure must suffer and in turn be aware of the reasons for his suffering but it is more often than not disproportionate to the actual crime Also there must be a moment of tragic illumination or recognition in which the tragic figure acknowledges that he is responsible for his eventual downfall In short these characteristics are main elements in the definition of a tragedy The tragic heros self destructive actions convey an aspect of the human condition They also raise the question to what extent is the individual responsible for his own demise or is he mainly a plaything of the fates Oedipus Rex embodies these characteristics to such a degree that it has become the paradigm of tragedy The tragic figure must not only be regarded with respect and admiration but also evoke pity with his downfall This figure is not ordinary but extraordinary However we as an audience do not necessarily identify with the tragic figure rather we associate some of our character traits Scodellaro 2 with his and thereby are given a tragic glimpse of the human condition These are some of the qualities which make Oedipus such an effective character in the tragedy He is a popular leader loved and acknowledged not only for his political power but his wisdom and intelligence It
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