Period 1 Honors Humanities
September 28, 2014
Pride – the Downfall of Man
As per Aristotle, the great Greek Philosopher, “Man should not have anything in excess or in defect. If he does, his demise is imminent.” Sophocles supports this concept of a hamartia that leads to the character’s downfall in is play, “Oedipus the King.” The play revolves around the downfall of the titular hero. Oedipus, a man bearing the horrible prophecy of murdering his father and marrying his mother, flees his home city of Polybus to Thebes. At Thebes, he defeats the Sphinx. Out of gratitude, the people of Thebes make Oedipus the king, and wed him to the wife of the previous, deceased king. However, a pestilence arises and Oedipus sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to bring Tiresias, the renowned prophet, in an attempt to find the source of the plague and a cure for it. Tiresias prophesizes that the man who killed Laius, the former king, is the cause, and that the disease will be lifted when he is banished from Thebes. In response, Oedipus vows to punish this man. Tiresias knows who the man is, but withholds the information from Oedipus for his own good; however, Oedipus prompts him to speak and learns that he himself is the killer of Laius. Enraged, he insults Tiresias and accuses Creon for conspiring with the prophet to take the throne from him. After many inquiries, he finds out that he is the true killer of Laius and that Jocasta, his wife, is also his mother. Ashamed, Jocasta commits suicide and Oedipus blinds himself and leaves the city of Thebes. Oedipus is the cause of his own downfall, which is instigated by his hamartia, pride.
Oedipus’s pride is the direct cause of his downfall. After finding out that Oedipus had sent for witness of Laius’s death, Antistrophe A claims: Antistrophe A. Pride breeds the tyrant.
Pride, once overfilled with many things in vain,
Neither in season nor fit for man,
Scaling the sheerest height
Hurls to a...
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