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Tragedy

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Tragedy Paper #1 Mr. Magee Humans are flawed beings and the first versions of Gods took the forms of humans. As Great and Mighty as they were, they too were flawed. The learning of tragedy allows us, as imperfect beings, to see and recognize defects within ourselves through the deliberately defected characters in every tragic literature. By observing the protagonists cathartic recognition of their imperfections, we as audience may then look at ourselves with an introspective lens and sympathetically find the same defects within ourselves. Oedipus is a model for a beginning study of tragedy because the play sympathetically takes its audiences through Oedipus’ journey of self-destruction to which at the end of the journey he reaches anagnorisis and endures the consequences of his hamartia, or flaw, of presumptuous pride. It demonstrates Tragedy’s core of protagonists paving their own paths of destruction then meeting the courage to face their end regardless of how cruel it could be. Oedipus’ hamartia is known as hubris and that refers to the Greek term for presumptuous pride. He believes that he was bigger than prophecy and he could outwit fate. The path that led Oedipus to his journey to Thebes, where he fulfilled his prophecy, derives from the notion that leaving Corinth prevents him from murdering his own father and wedding his own mother. His intention of trying to restrain the prophecy is seen from, “When I heard that, measuring where Corinth stands even thereafter by the stars alone, where I might never think to fulfilled the scadals of ill prophecies of me, I fled, an exile.”(Sophocles 31) The model of Oedipus places our protagonist in a spot that led his hamartia to be perfectly exploited. As Oedipus has enough pride for himself, Sophecles placed him in a uniquely difficult position against God and his own fate to see him choosing the road of destruction. As initially Oedipus thought he avoided the marriage with his own mother and murder of him father, he slowly finds out that he in actuallity couldn’talter his destiny. While Oedipus did suffer from his own hubris, audiences sympathize with him because of the difficult fate that the prophecy lined him up to. Thinking with commonsense, anyone knew who knew a prophecy of themselves murdering their father and marrying their own mother would make their greatest attempt to avoid such events from happening. Allowing audiences to sympathize and see Oedipus’ inability to deal with his own flaw makes Oedipus Rex a model for a beginning study of Tragedy. Though initially Oedipus was blinded by his hamartia and denies the accusations from Tiresias, the plot of the play slowly builds up to Oedipus’ anagnorisis. Once Oedipus had his cathartic moment, the consequential treatments to himself dealing with the defects in his own make Oedipus Rex a model for a beginning study of tragedy. The treatment Oedipus did to himself was blinding his own eyes and had himself sent to an exile. This self-inflicted punishment reflects a core feature of both Oedipus Rex and the genre of Tragedy which is truly knowing oneself. Oedipus viewed himself by the praise from solving riddles, the title of the King of Thebes however his hamartia of hubris blinded him from seeing the facts that he killed his father and married his mother that lies right in front of him. He chose to blind himself so that the only thing he will ever see for the rest of his life is him in his own mind. The exile distances him from the titles and superficial so that he could start introspecting who he really is. Knowing oneself is also an arching hamartia in most Tragic characters as they do not recognize the flaws in their own personalities. The Oedipus Rex model presents to readers a protagonist who not only recognizes his hamartia but also reflects on his wrongs instead of facing death in reaction to his flaw. It takes much more to envision one's own misdoings and come to peace with the horrors than to die which makes Oedipus Rex a great beginning for the study of Tragedy. I pledge my honor.


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