Aristotles Definition Of A Tragic Hero English Literature Essay

Sophocles, an ancient Grecian tragedian, authored Oedipus around 429 BC. Although written about 2500 old ages ago, the narrative remains among the most absorbing calamities of all clip. The mere reference of the name Oedipus evokes negative feelings and intensions today. The tragic hero Oedipus, to the antipathy and discouragement of many, had an unnatural sexual relationship with his ain female parent. However, this relationship really emerged rather innocently. Oedipus was non some type of ancient sexual pervert. He was a adult male that was driven by high internal moral criterions. It was, in fact, that internal moral compass that finally involved him in a series of events and fortunes that placed him in the romantic, matrimonial relationship with his ain female parent. Oedipus, in fact, genuinely exemplifies a tragic hero as Aristotle himself defined the term.

Sophacles ‘ “ Oedipus ” has been heralded as one of the “ greatest accomplishments of Greek dramatic art ” ( Van Zyl Smit 477 ) . Much of the acknowledgment is due Oedipus being presented as the “ tragic hero ” . He was an person who, through no mistake of his ain, was thrown into series of tragic events that would forever alter non merely his life but the lives of all who were associated or involved with him. Oedipus ‘ narrative continues to impact our mind and emotions today, some 2500 old ages after it was written. Aristotle defined a tragic hero as “ such a individual who neither is superior in virtuousness and justness, nor undergoes a alteration to misfortune because of frailty and evil, but because of some mistake, and who is one of those people with a great repute and good luck ” ( duBois 63 ) . Under this definition, a tragic hero would hold an built-in benevolence and would move in ways that were appropriate for the state of affairs and fortunes. Oedipus met each of those standards. Although, he was n’t superior to all worlds, he was superior to many. He was easy angered and prone to tantrums of choler. He was besides disdainful and capable to non good thought out determinations. Still, nevertheless, his purposes were typically guiltless.

Oedipus was born into a affluent household but his male parent had been warned by a prophesier that his boy would finally kill him. His male parent could non let him to peacefully populate out his life in the lap of luxury due to the menace against his ain life. His male parent bound the infant Oedipus ‘ pess in the hope it would maintain the prognostication from being fulfilled. He so set Oedipus out to the air current, leting him to be adopted, he thought, by humble provincials and shepherd households. Finally, Oedipus was adopted by Polybus and Merope, a male monarch and queen in another land. They raised him as their ain boy ; nevertheless, when Oedipus reached manhood he discovered that he was really adopted. During that clip nevertheless, he had besides been informed by the prophesier that he would finally kill his male parent and get married his ain female parent. Determined non to let the prognostication to be fulfilled, Oedipus left the land in which he had been raised and traveled far and broad.

Oedipus left the land of his adopted parents because of his superior ethical motives. He believed that by go forthing those he considered his male parent and female parent he had insured that he would neither go a liquidator nor the lover of his ain female parent. Although his purposes were benevolent, his actions set in gesture the really series of events that would set him on his male parent ‘s way and in his female parent ‘s bed. While going, Oedipus became involved in a dissension with another traveller over a transition over a peculiar route. He murdered the unusual adult male non cognizing that the adult male was his biological male parent, the same adult male who had bound his pess go forthing lasting scarring and disfigurement. He was besides the same adult male who had sent him out of the land into the air current of destiny to be adopted or die. The first portion of the prognostication had been fulfilled despite Oedipus ‘ finding that it would non.

It could perchance be opined that Oedipus ‘ violent death of his biological male parent was a consequence of inferior ethical motives. During ancient times, nevertheless, such a violent death was viewed as sensible and is what any sensible human being may hold done under similar fortunes. It should non be used to unfit Oedipus under Sophlacles ‘ definition of tragic hero ( Ades 358 ) . This was non a slaying for addition and neither was it a slaying ensuing from hatred. It was merely a socially acceptable agencies of settling a difference.

As was the instance with the fulfilment of the first portion of the prognostication, the fulfilment of the 2nd portion of the prognostication did n’t happen either because of inferior ethical motives on Oedipus ‘ portion. Oedipus was welcomed into his birth state as a hero because he had killed the much feared Sphinx, the same Sphinx that the people of the state believed had murdered their male monarch, Oedipus ‘ birth male parent. The Sphinx had been a much hated slayer himself. His favourite maneuver was to forestall travellers from the land unless they could reply the conundrum of what moved on four legs in the forenoon, walked on two legs at midday and on three legs at dark. Oedipus gave the right reply of “ adult male ” . Man, after all crawled when he was an baby, walked unsloped through most of his life, and so had to fall back to a cane when he was old. The Sphinx was enraged that Oedipus answered right and Oedipus was forced to murder him.

The people offered Oedipus their queen ‘s manus in matrimony as a wages for killing the much maligned Sphinx. Oedipus had non planned this to happen in this manner. He had merely done what he needed to make. Despite this, he took the queen ‘s manus in matrimony despite the fact that he had non set out on his travels to happen new wealths. By making so he unwittingly fulfilled the 2nd portion of the prophesy that he was seeking so hard to maintain from falling being fulfilled.

Analyzing the narrative of Oedipus from the position of Aristotle ‘s definition of a tragic hero it becomes extremely clear that he was merely that. He had done nil to merit the penalty of holding his pess tied or that of being exiled from his male parent ‘s land. He acted merely in ways that were sensible given the fortunes and the clip. Indeed, as Ades ( 358 ) contends, Oedipus was Sophocles ‘ preeminent tragic hero. His ethical motives were beyond sensible mistake yet he inadvertently fell into his destiny determined function of liquidator of his male parent and hubby of his female parent. He became the culprit of these despicable Acts of the Apostless non because of some built-in evil but because of a long series of errors and misinterpretations. It is true that his ain determinations and actions led him down the way of destiny yet in many ways it was the actions of his biological male parent that insured his destiny. Had his male parent raised the baby as his ain it is likely that Oedipus would hold ne’er have murdered him. His female parent would n’t hold been left a widow and would non hold been available to marry her ain boy. Neither his female parent nor Oedipus knew the true relationship that existed between them. They owed that to the fact that Oedipus ‘ birth male parent had sent him off from them when he was merely an baby.

In decision, it is true that Oedipus ‘ determinations played an of import function in traveling him along the way of destiny. However when Oedipus made determinations, it was determinations that he thought would forestall the prognostication from being fulfilled. He would hold probably used similar cautiousness in concluding had he been raised by his existent parents. The difference is he would hold known specifically who the prognostication was mentioning to specifically and who to avoid violent death and marrying. Even more significantly, he would hold surely non harmed those that he loved and respected. He would more than probably have loved, or at the really least well-thought-of, his birth parents and would hold made his determinations on the evidences of protecting them and turn outing the prognostication incorrect.