Oedipus: Tragic Hero Or Victim Of Fate
At the start of the play, Oedipus is mainly confident, and with excellent reason. He has actually just recently freed Thebes from menstruation of the Sphinx and has accomplished royal status as king. In accordance with Aristotle’s view, the audience members would no doubt have a deep respect for Oedipus as a “bigger and much better” variation of themselves. For something, Oedipus was, in truth, the boy of Laius and Jocasta. For that reason, he was noble in the simplest sense due to the fact that his biological parents were certainly royalty.
Nevertheless, Oedipus thinks himself to be the boy of Polybos and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth, which permits him to accomplish another kind of nobility, even if it is false. Additionally, as previously specified, when Oedipus resolved the riddle of the Sphinx, he gained remarkable regard from all the residents. Since Oedipus’ nobility and superiority is the resultant of numerous sources, it is not unexpected that the audience members would develop a fantastic regard and psychological attachment towards him.
As Aristotle declared, this psychological attachment is even more used as a way for the character of Oedipus to stimulate pity or fear from the audience in the latter half of the play. Oedipus is superior not just due to the fact that of social standing, but also due to the fact that of his intelligence. Nevertheless, while his intelligence permitted him to obtain a more detailed status to that of the gods after fixing the riddle of the Sphinx, it is also what causes the supreme acknowledgment of his pitiful fate. His analytical mind encourages him on as he seeks to unlock the secret surrounding his birth.
What is ironic, nevertheless, is the truth that a man as sensible and educated as Oedipus would have tried to avoid the indisputable will of the gods. The simple idea that he might prevent the will of the gods is Oedipus’ judgment error, or “awful defect.” This paradox plays a vital part in Oedipus the King. The efforts to ward off fate can be shown in Oedipus’ departure from Corinth. In this circumstances, the oracle’s prediction is shown to be true, in spite of the preventive actions taken by Oedipus.
Oedipus flees Corinth only to find that in so doing he has actually discovered his birth parents and has performed the prophetic words of the oracle. Sadly, Oedipus rejoices too soon over the failure of the oracle, only to discover that the oracle was right after all. In addition, the way in which Oedipus displays his apprehension of the oracle is paradoxical. When Oedipus rejoices over Polybus’ death as a sign that the oracle is imperfect, he will not go back to Corinth for worry that the oracle’s statements concerning Merope could still come to life.
No matter what he may say, Oedipus continues to presume that the oracles might be true which the gods can, in fact, predict and form the future. This would show the fact that Oedipus’ pitiful future is not a result of his “terrible defect,” however rather the special will of the gods. Rather of exclusively depending on the gods, however, Oedipus takes it upon himself to discover the truth. However, his journey searching for the fact exposes the satisfaction of the oracle’s prediction. Oedipus’ continuous pursuit of the fact rather of placing trust in the gods, lastly affirms the conclusion of the oracle’s words.
While Oedipus’ “terrible flaw,” or the belief that he could alter the predetermined will of the gods, had actually eventually led him to the acknowledgment of the inevitable power of the gods, none of the steps Oedipus took had any effect on his future state. He even proclaims “I, Oedipus/ damned in his birth, in his marriage damned,/ damned in the blood he shed with his own hands!” (Ode 3, 71-73) Here Oedipus repeats the word “damned” 3 times, highlighting the reality that both his birth and marriage had actually already been predetermined by the gods.
The word “damned” can likewise be equated as “doomed,” recommending that Oedipus’ life was ill-fated from the moment he was born. Nevertheless, if Oedipus truly thought this, why would he act in defiance of the gods if they were considered all-powerful and all-knowing? Perhaps if Oedipus had actually merely accepted their will and not tried to avoid it in any method, he would not have had to handled so much additional suffering in his present state. In addition, after blinding himself, Oedipus considers his fate: God. God. Exists a sadness greater? Where shall I discover harbor in this world?
My voice is hurled far on a dark wind. What has God done to me? (Exodos, 84-88) The expression “What has God done to me?” suggests that Oedipus would concur that his present state was a result of a higher being. Oedipus is weak, troubled, and defenseless at this time and looks for compassion from this higher power. This clearly shows that Oedipus’ downfall was not a result of his “tragic defect,” seeing that none of the anticipatory actions he took could outsmart the authority of the gods. Finally, Oedipus’ failure stimulates a fantastic sense of pity from the audience members.
By blinding himself, rather than just committing suicide, Oedipus’ suffering is intensified. Since Oedipus needs to continue through life doing not have the ability to see, higher pity is generated from the audience. “Apollo. Apollo. Dear/ kids, the god was Apollo./ He brought my sick, sick fate upon me./ However the blinding hand was my own!” (Strophe 2, 110-113) Here, Oedipus associates his extreme state to Apollo, god of the Sun. This is just fitting as Apollo is accountable for bringing light into the world, which Oedipus is no longer able to see.
He claims that Apollo has produced his fate, however his individual act of blindness was his own doing. This reveals that although Oedipus had actually tried to undermine the authority of the gods, which lead to all of his suffering, the will of the gods was to subdue him in the end in spite of his ruthless efforts. Though Oedipus suits the majority of Aristotle’s standards for an engaging terrible hero, he does not use to all of the guidelines. For this factor, Oedipus is a victim of pure fate, instead of a terrible hero in Aristotle’s view.
Despite the fact that Oedipus was of worthy and authentic character, evoked pity from the audience, and had a “terrible flaw,” this does not right away recommend that Oedipus is an awful hero. Oedipus’ downfall was not a result of his “terrible flaw,” but rather the sole authority of the gods. Upon closer examination, one finds that despite the fact that fate seemed to determine Oedipus’ life, he did have free choice. It was this free choice, which permitted him to make sure options in hopes of avoiding the ultimate authority of the gods, that eventually caused his suffering and brought the prediction of the oracle to life.