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The Tragic Hero Oedipus

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I decided to write about the tragic hero topic this week because when reading about Oedipus it made me think a lot about different things that could have gone wrong and right if different decision where made. In the story Oedipus was seen as a hero to the people of Thebes when he killed the Sphinx and was thought to be favored by the gods.

Later in Thebes, a horrible curse plagues the land and the people come to Oedipus to help lift it. He then goes on a quest to figure out how to lift the curse of the land and give it back to the people. He first sends his brother Creon to Apollo for advice on how and Creon is told that the curse will be lifted once the murder of Laius, the previous king of Thebes is found and brought to justice. Oedipus tries to find the murderer so he can save the land for the people but in the end of the story he is the one that brought the curse upon the land. The story ends tragically with Oedipus but it could also be seen as heroically. Once Oedipus killed the Sphinx, the people of Thebes labeled Oedipus as a hero and savior when they said “The sins of the fathers would be visited on the sons, regardless of the character of the sons. But this recompense for a life of suffering may have been granted because Oedipus was a mighty figure, a hero who conquered the Sphinx and saved Thebes.” (Twain). When you think of a hero, it is a person that does great deeds, having received great achievements, and being a savior.

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In the play the Priest also shows how heroic Oedipus is when he states in line 40-55, O Oedipus, most powerful of all, as humble suppliants we beg for help. Strengthen us now—either through the inspiration of a god or by human wisdom. I know that the man who has lived most gives the best advice. Come, noblest of men, rescue our city. Come—act—because the whole country calls you its hero since you first saved us. Let your reign not be remembered as starting in triumph but ending in disaster. Save us again and rescue our city. You brought good luck then and good omens— bring equal fortune now. You have power over this land—surely it is better to rule living men. An abandoned ship or the broken walls and towers of an empty city are nothing. Oedipus was asked by his people for the help to find a way to lift the curse and Oedipus showed heroism by his efforts to find the reason for the plague to the land and find the murderer of the former king, Laius.

Oedipus showed heroism when he wanted to save Thebes from the course to give it back to the people and find the murderer of the previous king even if it meant he was dammed in the end. I this story Oedipus is more of a hero than a bad guy to the people. At times it seemed that there was no good intention by Oedipus but showed the heroism in solving the problems the people came a crossed. He showed to the people that he did want to help when he was determined to find the reason of the curse to the land and lift it even if this meant the end to his life.

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