Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Free Oedipus the King Essays: Hamartia in Oedipus Rex :: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex
Hamartia in Oedipus the King According to the Aristotelian characteristics of good tragedy, the tragic character should not fall due to either excessive legality or excessive wickedness, but due to what Aristotle called hamartia. Hamartia may be interpreted as either a disfigurement in character or an error in judgement. Oedipus, the tragic character in Sophocles Oedipus the King, certainly makes several such mistakes however, the pervasive pattern of his judgemental errors seems to indicate a basic character flaw that precipitates them. Oedipus character flaw is ego. This is made evident in the opening lines of the prologue when he states Here I am myself--you all know me, the world knows my fame I am Oedipus. (ll. 7-9) His conceit is the root cause of a number of related problems. Among these are recklessness, disrespect, and stubbornness. Oedipus displays an attitude of recklessness and disrespect throughout the play. When he makes his proclamation and no unity confesses to th e murder of Laius, Oedipus loses patience immediately and rushes into his curse. Later, he displays a short temper to Tiresias You, you scum of the earth . . . out with it, once and for all, (ll. 381, 383) and Enough Such smut fungus from him? Insufferable--what, still alive? Get out--faster, back where you came from--vanish (ll. 490-492) If an unwillingness to listen may be considered stubbornness, certainly Oedipus would take advice from no one who would tell him to drop the motion of his identity, among them Tiresias, the shepherd, and even Jocasta. Even after Oedipus thinks he has received a reprieve from the fate he fears when he hears that Polybus is dead, he does not induct the sense to go for still. So Jocasta, why, why look to the Prophets hearth . . . all those prophesies I feared . . . theyre nothing, worthless, he says. (ll.1053-1054, 1062, 1064) To the shepherd, Oedipus certainly has no respect for the mans age when he tortures him. Oedipus cruelty indeed literally squeezes his own demise out of the shepherd Youre a dead man if I have to ask again . . . Im at the edge of hearing horrors, yes, but I must hear (ll. 1281, 1285) After his recognition and reversal, Oedipus exclaims The hand that in love my eyes was mine, . . . I did it all myself (ll. 1469, 1471) He is not only referring to his self-inflicted mayhem, but also the chain of events that led to his demise.