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The Strong Character and Unavoidable Destiny of Oedipus Rex

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The Strong Character and Unavoidable Destiny of Oedipus Rex

Oedipus the King, by Sophocles is about Oedipus, a man doomed by his fate. Like most tragedies, Oedipus the King contains a tragic hero, a heroic figure unable to escape his own doom. This tragic hero usually has a hamartia, a tragic flaw, which causes his downfall. The tragic flaw that Sophocles gives Oedipus is hubris (exaggerated pride or self-confidence), which is what caused Oedipus to walk right into the fate he sought to escape. Oedipus' pride pushes him toward his tragic end in the initial journey, when he kills his father, in the episode of the sphinx, and in his adamant search for truth.

Pride like that of Oedipus has been the downfall of many great leaders. Oedipus is blinded by his arrogance and won't accept the fact that he can't avoid his fate. His pride first affects him when he is told about what his fate has in-store for him. Oedipus explains to Jocasta that he was told that he "was fated to lie with [his] mother and show to daylight an accursed breed, which men would not endure, and [he] was doomed to be murderer of the father that begot [him]. When [he] heard this [he] fled" (Sophocles 45, 1.792-4). Ironically the pride that caused him to attempt to avoid his fate, put him on a path to it.

On his trip away from Corinth, he unknowingly met with his father, King Laius. When Oedipus tells Jocasta of his encounter he says that he met with a carriage at an intersection and they fought over the right of way. He also mentions one man (King Laius) struck him and said that: "He [King Laius] was paid in full and ... my stick had struck him backwards from the car and he rolled out of it. And then I killed them all" (45, 1.801-13)....

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...ppen. Oedipus' fate might have been avoided if Oedipus was not the type of person he was Oedipus was a tragic hero. Sophocles, instead of killing Oedipus in the end of the novel, chose to give Oedipus a fate worse then death. Oedipus found out who he was and that he killed his father and slept with his mother. His tragic end was a result of his hamartia, hubris. His pride was what caused him to attack the carriage and kill his father, which led to him marrying his mother. He could have ignored the mere right of way argument, but the person he was inside couldn't. His self-confidence and pride, turned into arrogance, and caused him to curse himself. Ironically the traits Oedipus had which led to him becoming a rich and powerful king ultimately led to his tragic end. Perhaps if Oedipus had been a different person inside, he might have been able to escape his fate.
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