At one time in our lives there is a moment that we may think of ourselves as better than someone or something else. There may also be a point when making a decision leads to a great error in judgment. In the play Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, both of these characteristics can be seen in the main character. These characteristics are known as tragic flaws. These flaws are known as hubris meaning excess pride, leading to overconfidence, and hamartia meaning errors and weakness in judgment. Both of these characteristics are the main reason of destruction and downfall in mankind and the tragic hero in this play.
The tragic hero is unable to escape his misfortune that is destined to happen. There are many more tragic flaws other than these two that also contribute to the falling of the hero. The destruction and downfall can be seen as fate. Even though the hero chooses his own actions, the resulting consequences that come about are ones that are unable to be changed. As seen, no one is able to outrun his or her own fate. Oedipus Rex is seen as a tragedy. A tragedy is a play that portrays a conflict between human beings and some superior, overwhelming force. It ends sorrowfully and disastrously, and this outcome seems inevitable.
In a tragedy, the main character can also be seen as the tragic hero. The tragic hero in this play is Oedipus. He is neither good nor bad. Due to the flaws in his actions and behaviors, he will fall from the good graces of everyone surrounding him. The first incident where Oedipus shows an error in judgment, is when he disregards Teiresias’s warning. He is too hardheaded to even listen to what Teiresias has to say to him. In doing this, he creates his own downfall. He disregards all the information given to him because he believes he knows his own destiny, he believes he has done everything in his power to change his misfortune.
Another incident where there is an error in judgment, is when Oedipus runs from his own homeland including his mother and father. He is trying to escape of fate. He was told by the gods above that he would, in his future, kill his father and marry his mother. By moving somewhere else, he believes the gods will be unable to touch him. As seen throughout the play, nothing Oedipus does or will do, can change his fate. A moment in Oedipus’s behavior where hubris can be seen is when he is talking to Teiresias. He treats the man with such disrespect and acts as if the man is inflicted with some sort of horrible disease.
He also acts as though he is on a different level then him. To him, Teiresias has no feelings and is ignorant to the city. He is also blind and is unable to see the city with his own two eyes. Appearance to Oedipus is very important. Another one of Oedipus’s characteristics that lead to his downfall and destruction is his temper. He gets mad very easily and when this happens he becomes very violent. This is seen when he kills Laios. He is quick to anger and kills the king out of “road rage. ” Looking at this, it is also part of his fate. Even though he does not know Laios was his father, he still kills him.
Although this is fate, Oedipus makes it reality through his actions. He choose to get angry and chooses to kill the king. By trying to escape his fate, he brings his fate into reality. Throughout this play, characteristics of character and fate are what bring the destruction and downfall to the main character and tragic hero. The tragic hero in this play is quick to anger and quick to come to judgment. He is also ignorant and doubts the power of the gods. Looking at these examples, it is seen that the tragic hero falls because of his tragic flaws, his very own actions, and his inability to change his own fate.