Antigone and Oedipus

Explores these works by Sophocles to discuss Aristotle’s concept of a flawed hero.

According to Aristotle, tragedy requires, among other things, a character whom we admire greatly, but who possesses a flaw hamartia, or some error in judgment. He falls from happiness into misery as the play progresses through what is sometimes translated as `serious action,` action which is complete, noble, and poetical. The total effect invokes dismay and horror. In the end comes the anagnorisis: the recognition or uncovering of the error. In the naive form, a hero or heroine recognizes a person or thing previously mistaken in identity, through some scar or mark or other sign. Iphegenia, for example, recognizes her brother as she is about to sacrifice him to the gods. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss how the fear of God’s wrath can make some punish themselves in worse manners than the Gods would actually do. It is also the intent of this paper to examine the works of Sophocles, “Antigone” and “Oedipus Rex” to shed further light on this subject.