Emma Stantial Ms. McCafferty Honors English 9 (B) 23 April 2013 Rough Draft Are Oedipus and Romeo tragic heroes? According to literature a tragedy is a series of mis-unforutuante events in the lives of the main characters brought on by the tragic hero’s flaws. Many would consider Oedipus and Romeo not to be tragic heroes, but just main characters. Based on literature’s definition, Romeo and Oedipus would most likely fit the position to be a tragic hero. The idea of a tragic hero was created in ancient Greek tragedy and defined by Aristotle.
A tragic hero is the protagonist of a tragedy. A tragic hero is one that has a major flaw, (tragic flaw often reffered to as a hamartia) and for whom the audience usually feels bad for. Tragic heroes must be noble in nature but not perfect so the audience members can see themselves through him (make it realistic). The tragic hero should be emotionally or physically damaged by his experiences. Most commonly the tragic hero is a leader of men or the king. Common traits of a tragic hero are considered tragic flaws.
Suffering more than deserved, doomed from the start but bearing no responsibility for possessing the flaw, and discovering their fate by their own actions, are just a few of what is considered to be tragic flaws. Aristotle once said, “A man cannot become a hero until he sees the root of his own downfall. ” Usually the tragic hero has the following sequence of “Great, Good, Flaw, Recognition, Downfall. ” However the hero’s suffering is not unjustified because the hero is enlightened through tremendous suffering. Pride is cut down.
A tragic hero can often be referred to as “a noble man with a tragic flaw,” Oedipus most defiantly fits that description. Oedipus is the King of Thebes, he is caring towards his people, who love and trust him. He is truly the picture perfect leader. Unfortunately he has a quick temper, and doesn’t think logically in some important situations. Like all actions come with consequences, the results of his actions leads to him destroying his personal world, committing horrible crimes, and with all of this dragging innocent people down with him.
Oedipus caused his own downfall. Being the king and all Oedipus should be setting an example for the society but often he shows his major flaws, pride and anger. Arronagnce, a common flaw of a tragic hero, was shown through Oedipus actions when he thought that he himself could solve the riddle and find who the murder is without any help. Thinking more deeply about it, one might think Oedipus just wanted all the attention of the victory to himself? Oedipus is wanting to put the puzzle together, but he ends up pulling apart his own life.
Oedipus lashed out a Tiresias (the prophet) when he accused Oedipus of killing Laius. Before Tiresias could give any explanation, Oedipus sent him away in a fit of anger, because his pride made him unwilling to admit the reality. In another situation Oedipus had acted like that also. When Corinth had told Oedipus that Polybus and Meorope were not his real parents. The result of Oedipus’ rage was the death of Laius and his men. These tragic flaws prove that Oedipus acts on impulse and makes bold decisions.