Tragic Flaws In Oedipus The King

Topics: Tragedy, Sophocles, Oedipus Pages: 6 (1272 words) Published: January 18, 2016


One of the best examples of Greek tragedy is Oedipus the King, written by ancient Greek playwright Sophocles. Oedipus Rex is about the downfall of Oedipus, the king of Thebes, and how his tragic faults affected that. Sophocles’ purpose is to demonstrate the negative effects of pride and other various personal reasons causing his downfall instead of just fate, as was told in his prophecy. Sophocles uses various tragic flaws and symbols to send this message to the reader/audience, the most important symbol being the use of blindness and sight, and the most important tragic flaw being excessive pride in Oedipus.
From the very beginning of the text the use literal and figurative sight are closely intertwined with one another. Similar to how in...

Oedipus acts as a bit of a foil to another important character, Tiresias, the blind prophet who knows the truth to the prophecy. Tiresias may be blind physically, but clearly is much less blind than Oedipus figuratively “O Tiresias… Blind as you are, you can feel all the more what sickness haunts our city” (lines 340-345). Tiresias is clearly the opposite of Oedipus, whereas Oedipus is very brash and prideful, Tiresias is very reserved, and of course there is the obvious comparison between the two with Oedipus being able to physically see well but being blind figuratively, and Tiresias being physically blind but very good at figuratively seeing. Oedipus also didn’t know the truth until the end despite being presented with obvious evidence throughout the play. This being a clear show of Oedipus’ character. From the very start of the Oedipus’ interactions with Tiresias, Oedipus is accused of causing the problems, “You are the curse, the corruption of the land!” (line 401), this is of course ignored by Oedipus, and he becomes indignant at the remark, becoming very angry at Tiresias. However, despite hearing all of this and later being presented with even more damning evidence and clues such as finding out it was in fact he who killed Laius, who, unbeknownst to him, was his father, Oedipus still doesn’t quite make the connection until the very...
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