To What Extent Does Oedipus Cause His Own Downfall

Topics: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Jocasta Pages: 3 (1017 words) Published: May 26, 2013
It is argued that although Oedipus’ fate was determined by the Oracle, the cause for his demise was himself. One aspect of Oedipus personality that leads to his downfall is his constant search for truth. Throughout the play, Oedipus is always trying to discover something whether it be about himself or an attempt at uncovering someone else as an enemy. If he hadn’t been in that mindset, he may have been able to keep himself oblivious from his mistakes. Another aspect of Oedipus personality that causes his misfortune is his hubris. Oedipus hubris causes him to act impulsively and disregard the advice of others which in the end, doesn’t pay off.

At the start of the play Oedipus announces to the Thebans “I shall shrink from nothing in my search to find the murderer of Laius” (pg. 16). Although this is the plan of action that most Thebans would want, in reality, the city and Oedipus have nothing to gain from finding the murderer of Laius but a sense of justice, this highlights Oedipus unnecessary search for truth. Had Oedipus not even begun an in depth search for Laius’ killer, the tragedy would not have taken place. It was a selfish search for an invaluable piece of information to begin with, that is why his search for the truth is not beneficial. Also, part way through his journey towards his downfall he decides to investigate his own identity. Jocasta advises against it strongly but he ignores her. Him of all people, assuming he recognizes that he has killed people in the past, has a wife old enough to be his mother and has a prophecy foretold about him that is beyond horrifying, chooses to point out his own faults by pursuing his own identity. He should have taken in to account that he isn’t perfect, and perhaps shedding light on his past for any reason wouldn’t have a positive outcome because no matter how you slice it, Oedipus is a murderer regardless of whom he thought he killed. But he still chooses to follow through with his search. Had he not found out...
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