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Role of Harmatia in Oedipus Downfall

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    An hamartia is a crucial physical or mental trait that, in a certain situation, can lead to the downfall of a tragic hero within a piece of literature. In the play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is a tragic hero with a hamartia that leads to his inevitable downfall. He possesses three traits that have been debated on to be his hamartia: his hubris (excessive pride), his heinous temperament, and his consummate determination. Of these three traits Oedipus possesses, I’ve believe that his hamartia is his profligate pride. Oedipus was a proud man.

    After all, who wouldn’t be proud of defeating a Sphinx who was terrorizing an entire city. Ultimately, this pride he had within had eventually led to his downfall. This idea is supported by the Chorus’ direct quote on page 61 of Oedipus Rex. Here, the chorus says,” The man who goes his way/ Overbearing in word and deed,/ Who fears no justice,/ Honors no temples of the gods-/ May an evil destiny seize him/ And punish his ill-starred pride…” This means that Oedipus, the one being mentioned in the quote, has too much pride and that he should be punished for it, which clearly demonstrates how his hubris leads to his demise.

    Though Oedipus has a temper, it is influenced by his hubris, which is another reason why Oedipus’ hubris is his hamartia. An example of this is his altercation with the blind prophet known as Tiresias. Oedipus has a heated argument with the infallible Tiresias when he tells Oedipus that he is the one who murdered the previous king, Laius. With this accusation, Oedipus becomes enraged because he held so much pride that this statement seemed so absurd. Oedipus, in his enraged state, says,”… That riddle/ was not for anyone who came along to answer- it/ called for prophetic insight.

    But you didn’t come/ forward, you offered no answer told you by the/ birds or the gods. No. I came, know-nothing/ Oedipus, I stopped the Sphinx. I answered the riddle/ with my own intelligence…” This insult sprouted from the anger within Oedipus that was started by his extreme self-pride. This supports the idea that Oedipus’ temper is influenced by his hubris. Oedipus’ unnecessary determination is also influenced by his hubris. If he didn’t have hubris, he wouldn’t be as determined to accomplish tasks and he wouldn’t be as cocky when faced with tasks.

    This can be seen when Oedipus begins his search for King Laius’ murderer. He was so confident and determined that he had laid a curse on the murderer of Laius as if he was a great as a god. This can be seen when Oedipus addresses the Chorus and says,”… As for the murderer himself, I call down a/ curse on him, whether that unknown figure be one/ man or one among many…” This indicates how Oedipus thinks highly of himself. As can be seen, Oedipus’ hamartia is his hubris that clouded his judgment, causing his blindness and exile from the city of Thebes.

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    Role of Harmatia in Oedipus Downfall. (2017, Mar 07). Retrieved from

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    How does a character's hamartia lead to their downfall?
    Hamartia is a literary device that reflects a character's tragic or fatal flaw, or mistake in judgment, that ultimately leads to their downfall. This term originated with Aristotle as a means of describing an error or frailty that brings about misfortune for a tragic hero.
    How does Oedipus tragic flaw lead to his downfall?
    The tragic flaw of pride had caused the downfall of Oedipus because he attempted to go against the Gods by refusing to accept his fate and fulfill the prophecy. In order to maintain his power in Thebes, Oedipus is determined to save his people from the plague as well as himself by finding the murderer of King LaiusLaiusLaius was the son of Labdacus. He was the father, by Jocasta, of Oedipus, who killed him. › wiki › LaiusLaius - Wikipedia.
    How is Oedipus responsible for his downfall?
    In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus is responsible for the tragedy of his downfall. Oedipus is presented with a series of choices throughout the play, and his arrogant and stubborn nature push him to impulsively make the wrong decisions, the decisions that ultimately lead him to his downfall.
    What type of effect does Oedipus hamartia have on the story?
    The hamartia of Oedipus lay in his lack of knowledge of his own origins, combined with the hubris of believing he could, by his own actions and will, overcome the rule of the gods. The true tragedy of Oedipus was that he was doomed from the very start.

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