Oedipus Rex Character Analysis

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People read literature because it teaches about humanity, both the positives and negatives. Sometimes, they learn more from reading about the mistakes and flaws of characters. Oedipus Rex is one of these characters, flawed even though he thinks he is divine. According to Bernard Knox, “these attributes of divinity – knowledge, certainty, justice – are all qualities Oedipus thought he possessed – and that is why he was the perfect example of the inadequacy of human knowledge, certainty, and justice.” In Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex, Oedipus’s untimely fall is caused by his false certainty of knowledge, his rash actions done without that certainty, and his injustice toward those trying to warn him. Oedipus’s false certainty of knowledge causes him to act without thought and wisdom. When he …show more content…
When he asks Teirisias, “What parents? Stay…and who of men is my sire?” (123), he doubts his origins. For his entire life, Oedipus had been certain that Polybus and Merope were his parents. Not knowing his origins shows that he’s not omniscient. This ambiguity throughout the play causes Oedipus to question every bit of evidence about Laius’s killer as he tries to figure out who killed him. Oedipus also tries to figure out what his true origins are. This search for his identity after realizing he is not certain of anything is the focus of the play.
As a result of his uncertainty and lack of knowledge, Oedipus’s actions become brazen and unjust. Showing his lack of knowledge of all the facts, he accuses Teirisias and Creon of conspiring to dethrone him, even though they are innocent. Creon tells Oedipus, “If you think that stubbornness without sense is a good gift you are not wise” (126). Here, Creon points out Oedipus’s rash judgment and persistence, yet Oedipus continues to be stubborn. Oedipus’s refusal to stop and admit that he is wrong exemplifies his hubris and contributes to his

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