Thinking Before Acting: Analysis Of Sophocles's Oedipus, The King

2518 words - 10 pages

Aristotle's rules of a tragedy state that the character of a tragedy should be good but not exceptionally amazing, he must not be a perfect character but instead they need to be the victim of a common flaw which is called 'Hamartia'. The idea that even the protagonist of a story can have a tragic flaw allows for the reader to have a stronger connection to the story and as a result it would be better interpreted by them their own way. In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles the Hamartia displayed by Oedipus is that he makes very rash decisions without thinking of the consequences and this negatively his life and the people around him. Firstly the characters in the play are blinded by their pride and ambition, the Greek word for this is Hubris and it often shows protagonists who do not accept their reality and overestimate their own capabilities and this is most common in characters in positions of power. This pride and ambition is what makes people blind when making their decisions and they regret it in the future proving that it is better to think before acting. Furthermore, when one tries to alter fate by making decisions that go against it they turn out to be decisions that in reality will negatively impact them instead of changing their fate for the better. The play Oedipus the King is still relevant to today's society because of the demonstration of the effects of rash decision making, reminding us that it is better to think before acting. Throughout the play the character are used to send a message to the audience that decisions that are made without thinking always lead to negative outcomes.
A person’s overbearing pride and ambition leads them to make rash decisions that make them regret why they did not think twice before making the decisions and acting upon them. This idea is greatly displayed in the play Oedipus the King considering the downfall of Oedipus was caused by him making decisions that were blinded by his tragic flaw. Oedipus is praised by his people as being a good king as is shown when the priest says “[His] diligence saved [them] once” (Sophocles, 26) showing that in fact Oedipus was a good king of Thebes and even better as he is even described as the “greatest of men”. This is where Aristotle’s rules come into play, although Oedipus is regarded as a great king he is not perfect, and the problem is that he knows he is a good king as he talks about himself in a very high manner stating that “[His] name is known afar” (Sophocles, 25). This goes to show how much overbearing pride exists in Oedipus and how he overestimates his capabilities as he speaks of himself as if he is the best. This is a very important aspect in today's society as people who overestimate themselves turn out hurt themselves in the end, a study at Cornell University shows that "Least competent performers inflate their abilities the most [...] reasons [are] ignorance, not arrogance [...] [and] inaccurate self-assessments" (DeANGELIS), this proves how...

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