Oedipus' Downfall

Essay by JM517High School, 10th gradeA+, January 2005

download word file, 4 pages 4.1

Downloaded 47 times

Sophocles's play, Oedipus Rex is possibly one of the greatest tragedies ever written. It is the story of the downfall of a man. When the play begins, Oedipus is an honored king, respected and admired by his people. By the end of the story the name of Oedipus is a curse. This is due to his hubris: the deadly mixture of rage and pride that, unfortunately, Oedipus has. The Greeks believed that this sin was the most grievous because people with such pride thought that they were above the gods. Oedipus is guilty of this sin. Being a proud man, Oedipus does not listen to anything and that pride will eventually lead Oedipus to his hamartia, which consequently leads to his downfall. It is through his personality and its effect on his reasoning and decisions that Oedipus' fate is carried out. In so many instances, Oedipus jumps to conclusions too easily and is guided by irrationality.

The cause of Oedipus' downfall is his hamartia or mistake, which was caused by his pride and impulsiveness, his hubris.

When the play opens a plague is afflicting Thebes. Creon, the queen's brother, tells Oedipus that Apollo has commanded to take revenge upon whoever killed Laius and that will put an end to the plague. Thus, Oedipus begins a quest to find Laius's killer. He sends for Teiresias, a blind prophet to know the truth about Laius' murder. When talking to Tiresias, Oedipus loses his cool. Getting angry with Tiresias for not coming out with the truth, Oedipus says, "Thou hast not spoken so loyally, nor friendly toward the State that bred thee, cheating her of this response." (Sophocles, p.12) Here, the raging Oedipus implies that Tiresias is a phony. Again and again, Tiresias does not want to...