Oedipus Character Analysis in The Oedipus Plays
Aristotle defines a tragic hero as “an intermediate kind of personage, not pre-eminently virtuous and just.” In the play, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the character Oedipus is the tragic hero. The truth blinds Oedipus, and he had a reversal of fortune.
The first trait of a tragic hero that Oedipus possesses is that the truth blinds him. “You’ve lost your power, stone-blind… eyes blind as stone” (pg.181). Oedipus doesn’t know that Tiresias is telling the truth. He is ignoring the truth Tiresias is telling him. “What good were my eyes? Nothing I could see would bring me joy” (pg. 241). Oedipus realized he was the murderer, so he gouged out his own eyes. He knew he was in the wrong and would have to live with his actions. The truth blinds Oedipus when Tiresias tried to warn him, and then he stabbed his eyes out so he could never see the truth again.
Another trait of a tragic hero that Oedipus possesses is a reversal of fortune. “...you will never convict me of murder” (pg. 192). Oedipus said he would never be convicted when he unknowingly was the murderer. After Oedipus was taken out of Thebes he says “Surely the gods hate me so much” (pg.250). Oedipus went from the gods loving him, to them hating him. Oedipus’ fortune was reversed. He went from being on top of the world to being blind in the middle of nowhere.
Oedipus went from being seen as a perfect, noble king to now hating himself and his actions. The lesson taught is, nobody has control of their fate. They can be at the top of the world and seconds later come crashing down. Oedipus shows that very well.