Essay Sample on Aristotle's Tragic Hero: Oedipus and Beyond

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1102 Words
Date:  2023-04-24


In literary works, the most important criterion that is used to recognize the tragic hero is one set by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. By expending Oedipus as the classic tragic hero, he used the trait "noble stature and more" to create his statement (Dodds 37). Also, Aristotle is certain that a tragedy is an imitation of life and is a story that is serious and complete in the form of action. Arp and Johnson define a tragic hero as a highly minded person. They say that a tragic hero must be of noble stature and have more than life qualities. A tragic hero is good but not perfect and his/her actions always arouse pity and fear in the audience. The paper will discuss in detail and demonstrate how Oedipus qualifies as a tragic hero. Some of the reasons why Oedipus qualifies as a tragic hero include Oedipus' noble stature, acts of injustice, and greatness and larger than life qualities.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Oedipus's Noble Stature

According to Arp and Johnson, Oedipus qualifies as an ideal tragic hero because Aristotle describes him with noble stature qualities (Ardem 60). Oedipus is described as the great and powerful king of Thebes (Mullens 153). Moreover, Oedipus is a king of wisdom in that he helped to save the city of Thebes from the Sphinx (Dodds 39). Oedipus solved a riddle and this enabled him to be placed at a higher position; he was given a noble stature. Also, since Oedipus was born a prince, he gets noble stature qualities. He becomes a well-wisher for the people in his Kingdom by saying that his spirit groans for the city. He portrays traits of a servant leaver when he says "for me for you", he is an honest leader who is dedicated to the safe people of his nation. At the same time, Oedipus is a man of integrity, but his fate and circumstance mold his life and takes him to a tragic end.

Acts of Injustice by Oedipus

Oedipus portrays acts of injustice when he shows his ignorance by pretending that some greater good will be served (Mullens 150). Johnson and Arp assert that Oedipus is good but not perfect and this is what makes him commit acts of injustice. He has been consumed by irony and fate in the question of justice. Aristotle highlights that when Oedipus becomes aware of his fate he says that "it cannot be any but the gods of evil who have sent doom upon him" (Sandis 14). There is much defiance and this pushes him to an ideal tragic hero. He pretends that nothing has happened since his power is not sufficient to protect those who are suffering. It would be clear to say that Oedipus is not better than a puppet; this makes the play a destiny in that the readers conclude that Sophocles presents Oedipus as a tragic hero. Even though acts of injustice are attached to Oedipus, the divine prediction is fulfilled by the acts of free choice. Oedipus says that "the gods know the future even though they cannot order it" (Adade-Yeboah et al. 12). According to Aristotle, a tragic hero always learns from his lessons and become a good example and role model to the audience (Adade-Yeboah et al. 16). Oedipus made the audience realize that what was happening to him was as a result of his political status. His love for the people of Thebes demonstrates how good he is despite his bad qualities.

Oedipus also demonstrates his greatness, which is larger than life; this makes him qualify as a tragic hero. Johnson and Arp say that Oedipus's greatness and sense of qualities large than life reveal the dimension of human possibility (Ardem 64). Although he fills the Thebe people with pity and fear, he is a more admirable person. The tragic nature of Oedipus is as a result of his good qualities. Aristotle avows that Oedipus is pre-eminently great, but he is not perfect (Adade-Yeboah et al. 16). As a prodigious leader, he also has weaknesses, which are caused by "error of judgment". Aristotle has interpreted his weakness and a flaw in character (Ardem 14). With all the flaws such as quickness in anger, overweening price, inordinate ambition, and more, Oedipus takes the responsibility of his downfall and merges as an individual admirable by the people of Thebes. According to Aristotle, a great leader is not morally flawed (Adade-Yeboah et al. 15). Oedipus is thus a tragic and great leader because he realizes his sins and stones them even though some cowardice traits were associated with his character. Oedipus shows how great he is as well as how larger he is than life qualities. An ideal tragic hero has a combination of flaws and greatness qualities.


In conclusion, King Oedipus qualifies as a tragic hero since his leadership leaves an affirmative and interminable impression in Thebe kingdom. From Aristotle's point of view qualities such as noble stature, acts of injustice, and greatness, which is larger than life qualities make Oedipus an authentic tragic hero. Although he involves himself in wring actions, he develops initiatives that also helps him to find the truth.

Works Cited

Adade-Yeboah, Asuamah, Kwaku Ahenkora, and Adwoah S. Amankwah. "The Tragic Hero of the Classical Period." (2017).

Ardem, Serra. An Aristotelian tragedy in the game of thrones The downfall of the Lannister Twins. Diss. Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, 2018.

Dodds, Eric Robertson. "On Misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex." Greece & Rome 13.1 (1966): 37-49.

Mullens, H. G. "Oedipus and the tragic spirit." Greece & Rome 7.21 (1938): 149-155.

Sandis, Constantine. "The man who mistook his Handlung for a Tat: Hegel on Oedipus and other tragic Thebans." Hegel Bulletin 31.2 (2010): 35-60.

Cite this page

Essay Sample on Aristotle's Tragic Hero: Oedipus and Beyond. (2023, Apr 24). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism