Oedipus is the tragically cursed main character in the Greek play, Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles. Oedipus is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus has many characteristics that affect the decisions that eventually bring him to his doom. Oedipus’ downfall was caused by his own actions and he is the only one that can be blamed for his own misfortunes. Some of the traits Oedipus possesses that cause his downfall are swift action, truthfulness, and impatience. These qualities destroy Oedipus throughout his life. Oedipus’ swift action certainly brings him to his tragic doom. Oedipus’ haste is demonstrated when he is returning from his visit from the Oracle. On his way back, Oedipus runs into some men on the road. Neither of the men want to move to the side to let the other pass. Oedipus said, “The leader roughly ordered me out of the way…It was the driver that thrust me aside, and him I struck…” (Sophocles, 53, 804-806) In haste, Oedipus kills all of the men except for the one who managed to escape. However, Oedipus was unaware that one of the men he killed was his father, Laius. If Oedipus had acted less rashly, had thought about the situation, and had not acted in haste, he might not have killed his father. Swift action brings Oedipus to his doom because if he would have analyzed the situation, and not acted so quickly, Oedipus might not have murdered his father, and averted his fate.
Another trait that brought Oedipus to his downfall was his own truthfulness. As soon as new facts regarding Laius’ death were told, Oedipus gave them an honest look. When it was suspected that Oedipus was involved, he admitted it, “Alas! All out! All known, no more concealment!/…Revealed as I am, Sinful in my begetting,/ Sinful in marriage, sinful in shedding blood! ” (lines 188 – 191, pg 58) Oedipus never held back any evidence that would lead to his possible banishment from Thebes. As a result of Oedipus’ truthfulness, he admitted killing Laius. Furthermore, had he...
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