Oedipus the King

Topics: Oedipus, Sophocles, Aeschylus Pages: 3 (1115 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Oedipus the King by Sophocles is about Oedipus, a man doomed by his fate. Like most tragedies, “Oedipus the King” contains a tragic hero, a heroic figure unable to escape his/her own doom. This tragic hero usually has a hamartia or a tragic flaw which causes his/hers’ downfall. The tragic flaw that Sophocles gives Oedipus is hubris (exaggerated pride or self-confidence), which is what caused Oedipus to walk right into the fate he sought to escape. Pride like that of Oedipus had been the downfall of many great leaders. Oedipus is blinded by his arrogance and won’t accept the fact that he can’t avoid his fate. His pride first affects him when he is told about what his fate has in-store for him. Oedipus explains to Jocasta that he was told that he “was fated to to lie with my [his] mother and show to daylight an accursed breed which men would not endure, and I [he] was doomed to be murderer of the father that begot me [him]. When I heard this I fled” (Sophocles 45, 1.792-4). Ironically the pride which caused him to attempt to avoid his fate, put him on a path to it. On his trip away from Corinth, he unknowingly met with his father, King Laius. When Oedipus tells Jocasta of his encounter he says that he met with a carriage at an intersection and they fought over the right of way. He also mentions one man (King Laius) struck him and said that: “He (King Laius) was paid in full and … my stick had struck him backwards from the car and he rolled out of it. And then I killed them all.” (Pg 45, 1.801-13)

Oedipus’ pride caused him to kill his own father (unknowingly). He kept seeking for ways to avoid his destiny. This shows that he was so zealous that he thought he could avoid destiny. Also, in trying to avoid his destiny, he got into an argument over a small right of way incident. Had he just swallowed his pride and let the carriage have the right of way, he could have avoided everything....
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