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Tragic Flaw in Sophocles' Oedipus the King - Essay Example

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Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Tragic Flaw in Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” Tragic flaw, as explained by Aristotle, basically refers to “flaw” of the character that might be blamed on the character’s pride or hubris. This flaw might take the form of “error”, “sin” or “omission” that underlies the mistakes that the character has committed so that the playwright could justify the protagonist’s downfall to the audience…
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Tragic Flaw in Sophocles Oedipus the King
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Download file to see previous pages That way the audience can experience a proper moral fear that badness always brings forth bad result. In the case of Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King”, the character that passes out as “tragic flaw” in the Oedipus is no doubt his pride and arrogance. In this paper we will be looking at the principle of “tragic flaw” as postulated by Aristotle in the context of Sophocles’ play “Oedipus the King”. The idea of tragic flaw that became synonymous to Greek tragedy was postulated by Aristotle, which might explain why this principle featured prominently in almost all his poetics. Tragic flaw basically describes a hero in a story making some fundamental mistakes that are mostly triggered by pride or hubris, which forms his main flaw in an otherwise perfect character, thereby marking his downfall. There is strong evidence to suggest that the development of the principle of tragic flaw was informed by the need to respond to the principle of tragedy which despite dominating Greek plays for so long was being challenged by the likes of Plato on moral grounds. In this regard, the principle of tragedy was attacked ostensibly for corrupting the audience by alluding to the futility of being virtuous. According to Plato, tragedy corrupts the audience by showing good and virtuous people perishing instead of emerging triumphant. It is, therefore, extremely disheartening to see them falling by the wayside primarily because of their virtues and goodness. It was in response to this challenge that Aristotle decided to add some flaw to an otherwise heroic character so as to explain his downfall on moral ground. By so doing Aristotle had offered a solution to the principle of tragedy as presented by Plato and other Greek writers and playwrights. In the play the Oedipus the King Oedipus commits a number of mistakes that can be blamed on his pride, which forms the tragic flaw in his character. One of such mistakes is his impatience with Creon after embarking in a journey to Apollo’s temple to plead with him to save the city of Thebes from the plague that has destroyed crops and livestock while rendering women sterile. After the arrival of Creon from Apollo’s temple we see Oedipus commanding Creon to tell him what Apollo has to say concerning the plague despite Creon’s protestation on spilling the information in front of his subjects. This offer from Creon to do it in private should have awaken Oedipus to the reality that whatever he was about to hear was not good to be spilt in the midst of his subjects. However, in total disregard of Creon’s advice he stood his ground and received the information in the presence of his subject, something that smirk of extreme pride. A careful analysis of the play will show a keen reader that this is a dangerous mistake that Oedipus has made because the answer that comes from Creon set the stage for his downfall. It is also important to note that had he agreed to receive the message from Apollo in private, things would not have gone out of hand as they eventually did. King Oedipus curiosity for truth is arguably the worst trait that contributes to his downfall in this play. If only he had decided to forget about where he came from and concentrated on resolving issues surrounding the plague, then ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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