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Pride: A Detrimental Attribute

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The play Oedipus the King written by the playwright Sophocles is the unfortunate development of the King of Thebes. Oedipus, an imperfect leader, has excessive pride and arrogance. This tragic flaw has poisoned his ego and built him into the tyrant he is at the end of the play. It is strongly believed that hubris was the essential cause of Oedipus’ downfall. Oedipus was too infatuated with keeping his reputation as a leader instead of realizing the events that were occurring around him.
Oedipus demonstrates hubris when searching for the person responsible for the death of Laius. He refuses to listen to suggestions or early examples of the prophecy. His blindness to prophecies and clues cause him to feel as if his judgment is the only valid one, leading Oedipus to believe he is the judge, jury and executioner. In fact Oedipus is so confident he will find the murderer that he is asking Thebans to pray to him instead of the gods. “You are praying. As for your prayers, if you are willing to hear and accept what I say now and so treat the disease, you will find rescue and relief from distress.”(Sophocles 14). Oedipus is stating how the prayers to get Thebes out of this suffering and torment. Oedipus strongly believes that he will rid the city of the plague, as he did the same with the Sphinx. This also shows that the citizens of Thebes trust in Oedipus, since this would not be his major accomplishment as the ruler of Thebes. In fact Oedipus refuses to listen to any criticism that anyone wants to give him. This is proved when he visits Tiresias.
“Tell me, when were you a true prophet? When the Sphinx chanted her riddle here, did you come forward to speak the word that would liberate the people of this town? That riddle was not for ...

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...if the prophecies he has been hearing are true too. Although Jocasta told him that he is not the murderer, he doesn’t want to take any chances. Oedipus knows that there is a possibility that he is the man that he was looking for the entire time. This is because he states “I am afraid, Jocasta, that I have said too much that’s why I want to see this man.”(44). Oedipus also realizes that his pride, dignity and ego brought him to the situation that he is in right now.
In this tragedy, Oedipus is responsible for his fate expressing excessive pride. This led to the self inflicted death of his wife, self inflicted wounds he will not be able to recover from, and him being exiled from Thebes. Excessive pride is a tragic flaw that caused his downfall but made it a very steep, traumatizing path to go down. This weakness makes Oedipus fit the characteristics of a tragic hero.
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