Oedipus and His Pride

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Oedipus and His Pride

By | October 2005
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Oedipus likes himself and Oedipus lets his audience know this from the very beginning of the play and quite often. Even within the first words of the play "My children" (page 43, line 1) we see him asserts all the citizens of Thebes as his subordinates. Even before another character talks he states "I, Oedipus, who bears the famous name," (43, 8) shows his boastful self love. This pride in himself acts as an inhibiting factor for his as well which prevents him from seeing his own mistakes. These barriers based on pride enable Oedipus to fulfill his prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother. Oedipus' pride is best shown with his belief, one shared by Liaos, that he can escape the will of the Gods. The prophecy of Oedipus from birth that he would kill his father and married his mother was set by the God's from Oedipus' birth. However there were several times throughout the play. Sophocles used a crossroads or forked path analogy at these times to show the many options Oedipus had. However Oedipus' pride at each of these instances forced himself to make decisions further enabling the prophecy to come true. The best instance of this takes place when Oedipus and King Liaos physically meet on a crossroad. Liaos forces Oedipus off the road and tries to hit Oedipus with a staff. This severe insult prods at Oedipus' pride and forces Oedipus to make a decision. Should he let the act go or should he defend his honor from the man that insulted it. As Oedipus repeatedly displays throughout the entire play, he is unwilling to ever display an even slightly lower opinion of himself than the near-god-like status he believes he possesses. Oedipus kills King Liaos firmly cementing the prophecy where now there is no escape. The cementing decision enabling Oedipus' fate was when Oedipus heard of his legacy from a seer in Corinth. Here Oedipus reacted out of fear. He feared this image of himself he felt he could not control. His pride made him think he...