Oedipus Rex: The tragic fate of a tragic hero
According to Aristotle, a tragic hero is someone who creates his or her own downfall, whose fate is not deserved, and whose punishment exceeds the crime. In the play "Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the main character Oedipus is a perfect example of Aristotle's tragic hero. In the play, three main themes are presented: destiny, sin, and guilt. Throughout Oedipus' journey of life he encounters all three themes. Although Oedipus is eventually able to overcome most of his adventures, eventually leading himself to his own downfall.
Destiny played a vital part in the destruction of Oedipus. The destiny of Oedipus is given to his parents, who were King Laios and Queen Iokaste, by the prophecy of Apollo at Delphi. Apollo told them that Oedipus' fate was to murder his father and to marry his mother. This freighted Oedipus' parents, and caused them to cast him out of Thebes as a baby.
When he was older, Oedipus visited the Delphi Oracle, where he learned the same terrible news. Hearing this, Oedipus fled from his new home, back to Thebes where he thought he could escape an inevitable destiny. On the journey Oedipus was confronted and harassed by a group of travelers, whom he killed in self-defense. None-the-less, one of those travelers was his real father, Laios. When he reached Thebes he heard the terrible news of the King's death. Knowing that Thebes needed a king, Oedipus married Iokaste; his real mother. No matter what Oedipus did he was not able to escape his dreadful fate.
Throughout the drama, Oedipus committed many sins according to the gods. First of all, Oedipus is arrogant because he tried to outsmart the gods by running away from their divine will. Another sin Oedipus committed was when he unknowing married his own mother. Even though he did not know Iokaste was his mother, marrying her was a sin according to the gods because he tried to raise himself above the gods,