Describe how Opedius Rex is a tragic hero.

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eleniloporto eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oedipus Rex is a tragic hero because the audience at the time would have looked up to him as a leader who they believed could find a way to end the plague on the village.  He had solved the riddle of the sphinx and was respected because of it.  He did not realize that he was the biological son of Laius and Jocasta and that he had been adopted by the King and Queen of Corninth, Polybus and Merope.  He was misinformed about his true identity.  Because he was the son of nobility he would have been respected.  During the drama Oedipus would have earned the respect and admiration of the audience.  Oedipus's hamartia or tragic flaw revolves around the fact that he himself does not know his true identity. Consequently, we watch him self destruct and feel genuine pity for him and his lack of vision in the end.  He truly meant well but was so misguided.