Essay on Oedipus, the King: A Case of Inevitable Fate

Essay on Oedipus, the King: A Case of Inevitable Fate

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Oedipus, the main character in “Oedipus, the King” has hamartia and frailty that lead to his downfall. Oedipus’s imperfect character traits: pride (hubris), stubbornness, and disrespect precipitate his tragic fate and demise.
Oedipus, King of Thebes, is an imperfect protagonist in Sophocles’ “Oedipus, the King.” He is an imperfect human being who makes mistakes in his life. His mistakes, however, are very tragic and exceed what he deserves. He is ignorant about his true identity and does not accept his gods’ prophecy for him. He tries to avoid his gods’ horrendous fate in his life and causes blasphemy, patricide, and incest unintentionally and unknowingly. His first mistake is to try to ignore the rumors his adopted parents are not his real parents. He runs away from Corinth to avoid his prophesied destiny believing his foster parents are safe away from him. As fate has it, he unknowingly kills his real father at a crossroad due to his bad temper, rash anger, and self defense. Unfortunately, he fulfills his birth prophesy, The Oracle of Delphi: “To his beloved children, he’ll be shown / a father who is also brother; to the one / who bore him, son and husband; to his father / his seed-fellow and killer” (lines 462-465)
Oedipus, by his hasty actions, and decisions commits terrible sins: kills his father, commits incest, and disobeys the gods. His fate continues his path as he becomes king of Thebes. He deciphers the monstrous Sphinx’s riddle by correctly answering: It is man, who crawls as a baby, walks in his adulthood, and uses a cane at an old age. He gains power over the people of Thebes. He considers himself powerful and mighty above all. He demonstrates his true hubris and ego character in line 8: “I, Oedipus, a n...

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...ways looks to the future, not the past, cannot see the truth until after it has become plain to everyone else” (1424). Walton concludes: “we pity Oedipus, as Freud tells us, because, at some level, his fate could be our own” (1424). Oedipus appears as he has everything a man could want; but, by seeking the truth, he loses everything. Fate is unfair: it shows up unexpectedly were least expected.

Works Cited

Sophocles. “Oedipus, the King.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading And Writing: Ed. Edgar v. Roberts and Robert Zweig. 5th Compact ed. Boston: Longman, 2012. 969-1004. Print
Walton, J. Michael. “Oedipus, the King (Oedipus Tyrannus) Play by Sophocles, 430 BC.” Reference Guide to World Literature. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 3rd ed. Vol. 2: Works. Detroit: St. James Press, 2003. 1423-1424. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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