Oedipus The King Except

This essay has a total of 1086 words and 4 pages.

Oedipus The King


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.

Sophocles decision to make Oedipus' hamartia hubris helped contribute to the play because
it showed that Oedipus had the chance to avoid his fate. Also, it is his hubris, which
made him think that he could escape fate that brought him to his fate. Oedipus' problem
was that his insolent nature prevented him from just letting things be. He was so
self-confident that he tried to escape his fate. Had he not tried to escape his fate, he
could have prevented what happened from occuring. The fact that his hamartia is hubris
just shows us that it's his own fault that things ended up as they did. This is why
Sophocles gave Oedipus this tragic flaw. They showed that Oedipus could have avoided his
fate, had he possessed different characteristics. Oedipus' problem was that his nature was
to be proud and confident and he couldn't change that. He showed his arrogance in the
beginning of the story when he spoke to Teiresias. He said:

'When the dark singer, the sphinx, was in your country, did you speak word of deliverance
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