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Give examples of hamartia or tragic flaw in Oedipus Rex.  I understand the definition,...

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alanajohnson | Salutatorian

Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:46 AM via web

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Give examples of hamartia or tragic flaw in Oedipus Rex.  I understand the definition, I just am needing examples.

Give examples of hamartia or tragic flaw in Oedipus Rex.  I understand the definition, I just am needing examples.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 24, 2011 at 2:11 AM (Answer #2)

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One of the best ways to answer this question is to know what basic social principle Oedipus went against. At the oracle of Delphi there were few important maxims that the Greeks valued. One of the statement was: "Know thyself." This meant to keep boundaries. In short, know that you are not divine.

If you look at the tragedy through that lens, one of the things we can say is that Oedipus did not know himself. He had not clue that he could have killed his father and married his mother, even though he did kill someone in his life. Self-knowledge did not exist. As the literary work progresses, more and more people begin to realize that Oedipus is the one who is guilty, but even with all this evidence Oedipus is ignorant. I would say that this is one of the great tragic flaws.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:01 AM (Answer #3)

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Oedipus and his parent's hubris is their tragic flaw -- they all thought that they could avoid the prophesy of the oracle at Delphi. They put themselves above the gods in their desire to control their destinies, and that is the highest order of hubris.  Oedipus's parents think they can avoid having their son kill his father by sending him away; later in life Oedipus thinks he can run away from his "father" to avoid killing him. In the end, the prophesy is completely fulfilled because there is no avoiding a prophesy of the gods.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM (Answer #4)

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A tragic flaw is a flaw that an otherwise good character possesses that leads to his downfall. This is really what makes a tragedy. An example of Oedipus's flaw, hubris, is that he tries to outrun or outwit fate. Thinking you are better than fate is the ultimate act of hubris.

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