Essay on Oedipus Rex Tragic

This essay has a total of 810 words and 4 pages.

Oedipus Rex Tragic


Sophocles dramatized the famous story of Oedipus, the Greek mythological figure who killed
his father, the king, and married his own mother. The blind prophet Teiresias speaks the
words in this excerpt at the point in the play when he is asked to divine who has offended
the gods by killing the former king


Oedipus is a victim of destiny, gods, and his own fault. Destiny gave him his downfall in
Oedipus Rex. His hubris made him think he could defy the fate by running away from
Corinth. After learning that Polybos and Merope were not his real parents. The gods
punished him for his hubris. The prophecies tore him apart because they caused him to
search for the truth of the murder of Laios. Yet…the oracle is the word of the gods.


"How dreadful of the truth can be! when there's no help in truth!

Oedipus has a "tragic flaw" that leads to his demise, and efforts to attribute one to him
to him seem forced . In his quest to uncover the truth and rid Thebes of the plague, he
exhibits all the heroic qualities that made him the savior of Thebes during the Sphinx's
reign of terror. Oedipus as a victim of a fate he could not control. He had enormous
control over the events of his "destiny" through the numerous decisions he makes. He
chooses to believe the oracle and leave Corinth. (The play is in fact a comment on the
role of oracles and religion in the climate of the intellectual revolution going on in 5th
century Athens.) He chooses to kill Laius. He chooses to marry Jocasta. He chooses to
forcefully and very publicly assume the mission of discovering the identity of Laius'
killer. He proceeds on this mission and chooses to ignore the warnings of Creon, Jocasta,
the messenger, the shepherd, of anyone that attempts to stand between him and the truth.
And he chooses to blind himself (this is in fact a conscious act on his part to choose
something on his own, an act that Apollo cannot be held responsible for.) If Oedipus was
indeed a powerless pawn of fate, the play would be more than depressing, it would likely
be meaningless.


general plot of greek tragedies is that a person (the hero) of usual great influence goes
through a sudden reversal of good fortune to misfortune and that is a result of some
tragic flaw, usually pride. Now in Oedipus the King, to say that Oedipus's downfall was
due to his flaws would almost contradict the whole idea of fate itself. True that he was
proud, to kill another man (Lauis) over a traffic block, to scorn Tiresias, and to accuse
Creon of envy, but was that really the cause of his tragedy? if fate already has it that
he will kill his father and wed his mother, would it still matter if he had any flaws or
not? are the flaws part of his fate? this play is, I believe, one of the most depressing
of tragedies---it tells us that we have absolutely no control over our destiny, that we
are ruled by fate. Even though Oedipus tried to escape his wretched fate when he first
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