Use of Character Flaws and Literary Devices to Teach Morals in Oedipus Rex

Use of Character Flaws and Literary Devices to Teach Morals in Oedipus Rex

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Use of Character Flaws and Literary Devices to Teach Morals in Oedipus Rex

 
    The Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex is an excellent example of how an author can use literary techniques and personality traits to teach a certain moral or theme.  In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles communicates his themes and morals to the reader through the character flaws of Oedipus, a tragic hero. 

The most prominent character flaw that Oedipus possesses is his excessive arrogance. One way this flaw is displayed is Oedipus' repeated use of the pronoun "I". In lines sixty seven through eighty alone, Oedipus uses the word "I" eight times, projecting his haughty personality. "I have found one helpful course, and that I have taken: I have sent Creon…to Delphi…" states Oedipus as he describes what action he has taken to help the people of Thebes recover from there ill state (70-73). This quote is just one of the many that exhibit Oedipus' pride through the over use of the pro-noun "I".

            Another example of Oedipus' hubris is the way he speaks in a condescending tone to who ever he may be speaking to. "I have sent Creon…to Delphi, Apollo's place of revelation to learn there, if he can, what act or pledge of mine may save the city" (74-77). In these lines Oedipus suggest that Creon is inferior to him by stating, "if he can"(77). Oedipus often indicates, as he does here, that people other than himself are insolent and incapable of completing tasks correctly. He also indicates in the above quote that he, the all mighty Oedipus, is the only person who could possible save the city of Thebes by saying, "what act or pledge of mine may save the city" (75). This extreme arrogance, demonstrated through patronizing speech, is apparent throughout the en...


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...tions of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O’Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

 

Jevons, Frank B.  “In Sophoclean Tragedy, Humans Create Their Own Fate.” In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

 

Murray, Robert D. Jr. “Sophocles’ Moral Themes.” In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

 

“Sophocles” In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.

 

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. no pag.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/browse-mixed new?tag=public&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&part=0&id=SopOedi

 

Van Nortwick, Thomas.  Oedipus: The Meaning of a Masculine Life. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.

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