According to the Aristotelian characteristics of good tragedy, the tragic character should not fall due to either excessive virtue or excessive wickedness, but due to what Aristotle called hamartia. Hamartia may be interpreted as either a flaw in character or an error in judgement. Oedipus, the tragic character in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, certainly makes several such mistakes; however, the pervasive pattern of his judgemental errors seems to indicate a basic character flaw that precipitates
showed first 75 words of 476 total
showed last 75 words of 476 total
do." (l. 1578) In contrast to this observation, apparently this is precisely what Oedipus should have done.
Each of these events, when isolated, may be excused as a simple mistake. However, when viewed as a whole, a pattern emerges among these mistakes. The cumulative effect is indicative of an underlying character flaw. Oedipus’ hamartia may most directly be his mistakes, but ultimately these mistakes flow from his ego. For Oedipus, hamartia certainly refers to a flaw.