October 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm #4384
What does it mean to be a hero?
Oedipus, wretched though he is, is often considered to be an ancient hero. Does it matter what his intentions were? Or should he be judged only for his actions, that of destroying his family?October 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm #4478
Well, if a hero is to display courage and bravery in the face of adversity, and even self-sacrifice… then I would count Oedipus as a Hero. He had to know the truth – even though it was his undoing. Surely that’s heroic?October 23, 2014 at 2:51 pm #4480
Following the “Mythic Hero Archetype” – Oedipus displays MANY of the characteristics:
2. Father is a king
6. Attempt to kill hero as an infant, often by father or maternal grandfather
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country
9. No details of childhood
10. Returns or goes to future kingdom
11. Is victor over king, giant, dragon or beast (the Sphinx)
13. Becomes king
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully
16. Later loses favor with gods or his subjects
17. Driven from throne and city
18. Meets with mysterious death
19. Often at the top of a hill (Oedipus at Colonus)
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him [i.e., does not found a dynasty] (Antigone and Seven against Thebes)
21. His body is not buriedOctober 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm #4488
How can someone who killed their father and married their mother be a hero? No way!October 27, 2014 at 12:17 am #4496
He is a hero in the eyes of the society that created the myth. As ClassicsFan says, he has all of the attributes expected of a Greek hero. The fact that his end is so tragic is an acknowledgment that the gods are pernicious and the fate of even heroes is not guaranteed to be ideal. In fact, a tragic end seems to also be a necessary quality to be a hero. Jason and Herakles are two that lost their families through their own if unintentional, actions. So, for me, it’s yes. He is a hero. Not a title I personally would want!October 30, 2014 at 11:25 pm #4517
It all boils down to what is your own difinition of a hero? To some it is the valiant Achilles hunting for his perpetual “kleos” but to some it is brute dedication and authenticity.
For me Achilles is a hero in his own right, but Oedipus is a true hero. All though his actions did not bring me to this conclusion, It was his mind. He saves the city of Thebes, abandons Corinth out of fear of killing his father and marrying his mother and once again saves Thebes from himself. He unknowingly murdered Laius and married Jocasta oblivious to their maternal relationship it is for that justification of his actions that his a hero.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.