The question that I will be answering is Is it possible at all to describe Oedipus as a "heroic" figure (both by the standards of the ancient Greek world and by our own modern standards)? If yes, why? If not, why not?
Greek heroes have been taught to us as a image of a male, large in stature, who overcomes some great challenge. They are physically fit, and are gifted with minds that are filled with knowledge, and is quick with wit. They are typically of royal birth, and they always have a tragic flaw. They are, in a sense, above and beyond life. Does Oedipus fall under these characteristics?
He is king of Thebes. Naturally, when we picture a kind in ancient Greece, we picture them as strong, fit men who is able to instill fear in any man. This picture is not dissuaded. He seems confident, “My name is Oedipus-the famous- as everyone calls me.” He seems very sure of himself. He asserts power, and give information on how he views himself. We can hardly picture this line coming out of an character who is not a large, burly man, so he does fall under the 'physically fit' characteristic.
Is he the owner of a gifted mind though? As the reader, we are lead to believe that Oedipus is a man of intelligence. We are told of the Sphinx's riddle, and how the entire city was falling to it's knees to it. “the Sphinx's song. So wily, so baffling! She forced us to forget the dark past, to confront what lay at our feet.” She made it impossible for the city to avenge it's murdered king. No a member of the city could solve the riddle, yet Oedipus did. In response of solving the Sphinx's riddle, the city made him their new king, and he married Jocasta. In this scene, with this knowledge, we of course are lead to believe that he is a great intelligence.
Another characteristic is that the hero is of Royal birth. Later in the story it is relayed that he, at one time, was the prince of Corinth. His father was Polybos, king of Corinth. Although in the end, we find out that he...
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