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The Downfall Of Oedipus Essay

780 words - 4 pages

The word hamartia means a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero. Yet the cause of his downfall was not due to one flaw but to many flaws. Oedipus had great traits and qualities of a great king such as intelligence, pride and determination. These traits are also the main cause of his downfall. The traits that helped him also hurt him.
Early in the poem there are signs that Oedipus is going to fail. When he becomes the king and his city is hit by a plague, he tries his hardest to satisfy his people. Unlike most kings who would have sat aside and let their kingdom die from the plague, Oedipus is determined to find answers. He truly is doing the best he can to find out what it the cause for this plague. Oedipus only wants the best for his people, so he tells them, ‘I’ve wept trough the nights, you must know that,/goping, laboring over many paths of though./ After a painful search I found one cure:/ I acted at once, I sent Creon…/ to learn what I might do or say to save our city’ (lines 78-84) Oedipus accepts the first thing he hears, which is that all he has to do is to find Laius murderer and banish him from Thebes. After hearing more about what has to be done, Oedipus is determined to find the murderer. He will not rest until the murderer is caught and banished. He goes as far as putting a curse on him and anyone who is not speaking out because he has the power to do so
Oedipus is eager to find the murder so his city will be cleared of the plague. Oedipus cannot find the murderer himself so he does the next best thing, going to the prophet Tiresias. He wants to know why Tiresias didn’t do anything when the first plague struck. His response was that the Sphinx needed to be beaten. This is he reason Oedipus became the King of Thebes. It was because of his intelligence that he was able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx and attain greatness. He gets a little prideful knowing that he is the smartest man. Oedipus wants answers from the prophet, but Tiresisa does not want to tell the king what is going on...

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