In the introduction to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sophocles defines a tragic hero as
one who "[behaves] admirably as a man, [but who] is nevertheless tripped up by forces beyond
his control and understanding..." (Sophocles 76). In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic
hero. The force that "trips up" the hero is fate, or, moira. It is Oedipus's actions that set the
events into motion, but it is ultimately his fate, and his attempted aversion to it, that brings
about his downfall. This downfall, and elements such as plot, character, diction and spectacle
(Aristotle 175), that cause Oedipus the King to be a tragedy.
In order to describe Oedipus as a tragic hero, one must begin by describing a tragedy. A
tragedy must consist of a variety of elements in order to truly fulfill its purpose. According to
Aristotle, the most important element is plot (175). Without the...