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Word Count: 512
OEDIPUS THE KING The feature of the tragic hero as exemplified in Sophecles Oedipus the King makes the tragic character a great paradox For unlike most the tragic hero emerges as anything but a social person He may begin that way motivated by a genuine desire to help the community as Oedipus but what emerges in the course of the action is that he is actually deep down where it really counts far more concerned with himself his own demands for justice on his own terms than in compromising his desires with any awareness of ethical norms He is in fact far less concerned about his own survival in the community than he is about being right seeing things through to the very end What Sophoclean tragedy insists upon however is that this attitude this ultimate expression of my own freedom to express myself to demand from the world that it answer to my conceptions of myself leads by a step-by-step inevitability to self-destruction For the cosmos is a fatally mysterious place not particularly compatible with such heroic self-assertion And the human being who sets himself or herself up to live life only on their own terms as the totally free expressions of their own wills is going to come to a nasty end However grand and imaginatively appealing the tragic stance might be it is essentially an act of defiance against the gods or whoever rules the cosmos and will push the tragic hero to an act of inevitable self-destruction We cannot have life entirely on our own terms for very long What makes Oedipus so compelling is not that he suffers horribly and endures at the end an almost living death The force of the play comes from the connection between Oedipuss sufferings and his own actions that is from the awareness of how he himself is bringing upon his own head the dreadful outcome He is looked upon as a hero
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