Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

The term hubris and hamartia are frequently used in discussions of tragedy. how are they relevant to the story of Oedipus?

Oedipus Rex

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Oedipus experiences problems from the beginning as a result of his hubris. Everyone is affected by Oedipus' blindness of his own problems and arrogance. He never gives into this, and continues to play "Oedipus the Great," as he named himself all the way until he "orders" Creon to bury his mother/wife and exile him. He's still giving orders until the end........

"Without knowing it, Oedipus' own actions filled with hubris negatively affects himself and everyone else around him. Thebes goes through a plague because Oedipus unknowingly killed the king. Oedipus remained ignorant about the idea that he was the murderer, and the plague continued on in Thebes. Oedipus would not allow all the bad things that he had done to be accepted as the truth. While in search of the answer to the mystery that troubled him, Oedipus got Jocasta involved. Since he would not accept the idea that he was Laius' murderer, the people of his city suffered and Jocasta, his own wife and mother, committed suicide as soon as she realized the truth. Oedipus was figuratively blind, and after seeing Jocasta dead, he realized he really did do everything that was prophesized and that he must humble himself. He blinded himself just like Teiresias, the man he mistreated for telling the truth. Oedipus learned that he must control his hubris, or he and others would continue to suffer. It ultimately led to his and others' downfalls."

According to Aristotle, the tragic hero is distinguished, occupies a high position, belongs to a higher status, lives in very prosperous circumstances that quickly change as he/she falls into misfortune on account of a “hamartia” or some defect of character. This ties into the same subject we've just discussed. Oedupus is the King and quickly falls. Many things happen because he won't open his eyes to the truth and believes himself perfect. The things he's made aware of "can't be true," his decisions are based on the belief that he is "without blame," and that everyone else is wrong.


Oedipus Rex