Oedipus the King

Essay by EggyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2003

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Can too much of a thing be bad? Where does one draw the line at how much is enough and what is over the top? Relating it to Sophocles, Oedipus' relentless drive to uncover the truth in Oedipus the King is both fueled by its firm determination and utter pride. It is this excessive pride he has that leads him to his mysterious past, his self-discovery, the catastrophe.

Sophocles said that a man should never consider himself fortunate unless he can look back on his life and remember that life without pain. For Oedipus Rex, looking back is impossible to do without pain. This pain stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. He freely chooses to pursue and accept his own life's destruction. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, and his loyalty to Thebes ruin him.

Oedipus' pride, strung from his own heroic qualities, is one factor that ruined him. For one like Oedipus to find out that he has killed his father and married his mother, after all the curses he has spelled blended with his pride, is a shock, a contradiction to his own words!

Oedipus cannot let a murder investigation go by without solving the riddle of who killed King Laius because his pride overpowers him. Oedipus' pride reveals itself again in his loyalty to the truth. Oedipus' constant struggle to discover the truth for the sake of his people ruined him most in the end. Even though he is warned many times to stop seeking the truth, he keeps on searching. "Which man? What matters who he means? Why ask? Forget it all. It's not worth knowing...Yet be persuaded, please. Do not proceed." (Sophocles 58-59) .