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Oedipus Rex, By Sophocles Essay

1584 words - 6 pages

Does tragedy bring anything good? Tragedy brings, to some, complete humility. To others they obtain that suffering is inevitable in life. Through suffering, outlook is changed and obtained is wisdom. This theme is evident in Sophocles “Oedipus Rex.” This plays central thesis is about a terrible curse sent upon the Thebes king, Oedipus and how he deals with the confrontation, that he is the “most accursed man.” Oedipus before his tragedy had excessive pride. Nothing would make him understand his arrogance at finding fault with everyone else, except himself. Thus, the tragedy made him suffer. As a result, Oedipus was humbled to obtain wisdom. One question arouses is did Oedipus deserve the tragedy brought to him? In looking at the events of Oedipus life, he did deserve to suffer.
In Oedipus Rex, the use of dramatic irony contrasts Oedipus’s ignorance to his own situation and the audience recognition of it. Sophocles opens the play in which Oedipus has reigned for some time as king. At this point, Oedipus has already committed the crimes in which he strives to uncover. Oedipus uses the method of inquiry to uncover the murderer. “And that which my inquiry found our only cure I have done, for I have sent Creon, son of Menoeceus, my own brother-in-law to Apollo’s home at Pytho, so that he may learn what I should do or say to save this city.” Here Oedipus acts wisely in consulting his elders to help him save to city and discover the murderer. He has genuine concern for his people. He wanted the plague to stop. Oedipus, however, also wants to exalt himself in the highest possible position for mankind. Sadly, as seen Oedipus does not bring himself glory but tragic and serious consequences to himself and others who trusted him.
As with any tragedy, the main character has a tragic flaw. Oedipus’s tragic flaw is his high intelligence, his will and determination to know things. This brilliance and determination serve well in solving riddles, as in the riddle of the Sphinx. This is not in itself truly a flaw but his pride in it. He is prideful of his intelligence. When Tiresias questions him, he becomes angry and says to him, “With these same taunts you now hurl, you will find me great.” Oedipus is so sure of himself, that he feels questioning himself is a waste of time. He even calls down curses upon himself. He also feels that those who doubt him are plotting a conspiracy against him, which he strongly believes happened to the Thebes King.
Oedipus starts his downfall when he fails to realize he is the one who murdered Laius. Tiresias says to Oedipus, “Abide by that decree you made earlier, and from this day address neither these men here, nor me, since you are the unholy polluter of this land.” If Oedipus did not have his excessive pride and his desire to be exalted, he would have heeded Tiresias words and questioned himself fully. He, however, became angry, and without truly thinking of the possibilities, he hurled insults at the renowned...

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