Often in tragic literature, authors infuse characters with a tragic flaw such as hubris. One work that explores an exuberant amount of pride is Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. In this play, Thebes is stricken with a plague and Oedipus, the King, will sacrifice anyone to save it. In the process of finding a solution, Oedipus realizes that he fulfills the prophecies that say he will kill his father and marry his mother. In the play, Sophocles shows Oedipus’ hubris by using irony. Characterization is also used to enhance the effects of pride on Oedipus’ ability to see logistically. Both characterization and irony play an important role in supporting the theme that excessive pride is a bad thing because it prevents people from viewing life with logic and leads to their downfalls.
In the drama, Oedipus Rex, readers analyze the theme by looking at Oedipus’ tragic flaw. Sophocles describes how Oedipus changes from being a powerful and majestic king to being “the world’s outcast” (Sophocles 66). For instance, Oedipus’ hubris is shown from the beginning of the play when he steps down from the altar. He addresses the people of Thebes to discuss the deadly plague that has come to Thebes. Oedipus explains that he hears the “sound of prayer and lamentation” and that he himself “who bears the famous name,” has come to listen to his people (Sophocles 4). Oedipus shows how prideful he is when he refers to himself as being famous amongst the people of Thebes. Also, the fact that he comes forth when he hears prayers, indicates that he views himself as an equivalence to the gods because he defeated the Sphinx. Oedipus’ boasting relates to the theme because it foreshadows his tragic fate that he will kill his father and marry his mother as destined by the gods. Oedipus’ pride continues throughout the play when the messenger announces the death of King Polybos of Corinth. Specifically, Oedipus thinks that he is the son of King Polybos and that he escapes his