Oedipus the King and Hubris

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The Consequence of Oedipus’ Pride
Throughout history, all great fallen leaders have shared one common trait: an overinflated ego. Oedipus from Sophocles' Oedipus the King is no different. From his beginnings as the prince of Corinth, Oedipus had always been held as a man of great status. After cleverly defeating the Sphinx to gain the rule of Thebes, he was considered more highly than ever, until his sense of arrogance grew to dangerous proportions. Eventually, this fatal flaw of pride effectuated Oedipus' destruction by leading him to hunt down the murderer of Laius, ignore the advice of Teiresias, and disregard Jocasta' fear of the truth. From the very start, Oedipus doomed himself by launching a search for the killer of Laius in hopes of further establishing himself as a hero. When the people of Thebes begged Oedipus to find the root of the plague, he was all too eager to declare his greatness by saying, “Now you have me on your side, as is only right. I shall be the defender of Thebes, and Apollo's champion, too (Sophocles 12).” The investigation for King Laius’ murderer serves as the central action of the tragedy, and from the onset it was doomed to end in Oedipus’ destruction. Blissfully unaware of this, he used diction such as “only right”, “defender”, and “champion” to reassure the chorus. These words all have boastful connotations and reveal Oedipus’ actual goal, which was to once again prove his own cleverness to the world. However, this plan backfired, and Oedipus was later faced with the bitter fact that he was the very murderer he had been looking for all this time. Had Oedipus taken a more modest approach in his attempt to save Thebes, perhaps the Gods would not have been angered to the point of ruining his life. Teiresias hinted at this disastrous destiny by telling Oedipus that he was the killer of Laius, but Oedipus’ arrogant disposition made him discount the prophecy immediately. Instead of taking in the information and finding a way to right...
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