The Role of Pride in Sophocles' Oedipus the King Essay

The Role of Pride in Sophocles' Oedipus the King Essay

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“Oh my children, the new blood of ancient Thebes, why are you here?” said Oedipus when addressing his people during his first appearance (1-2). Flamboyant, yes, well in Oedipus the King, the main character Oedipus is a boastful and pompous character faced with troublesome pasts and future predicaments. In actuality, he is king of Thebes and the rightful ruler, but when a plague strikes he is quickly led into a misfortune of events that ultimately leads him to dig his eyes out in attempt to relieve him from the truth he discovers. It then becomes a revelation to distinguish the characteristic fault which leads Oedipus through such tragedy. Only to become apparent, Oedipus’s excessive pride is the main culprit behind his tragic ending. In his first comment to his followers, he refers them to as children, giving him a feeling of upper authority equal to that of gods. Through Oedipus’s excessive pride, his true moral flaws are revealed while creating a chain of events that lead to his ultimatum, only to justify his own torment.
When Oedipus begins his search for the cause of the plague, his outspoken words greatly show the significant pride he bears, as his moral entities are reveled through pompous and prideful rants. His prominence is greatly exaggerated when he comments that, “Well I know you are sick to death. All you, but sick as you are, not one is sick as I” (71 -73). Only a twisted judgment can establish such statement without developing a full report on the plague. He already considers that the people suffer nothing compared to his own. Instead, he believes because of his apparent role in the city, he feels all pain, which may be true, yet he deserves no right to describe his pain worse than the actual decay and death of ...


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...tless because it inevitably became true. Oedipus then realizes that because of his pride he merely provokes the prophecy. He knew that no one could escape a prophecy foretold by the Gods. Finding that his fate was sealed since his birth, Oedipus throws his pride away (for the moment) and lives the life of the dead, blind forever.
A flaw is what defines the human character. Without flaws humans are no different from each other, yet the way a person reacts to his own flaws is what makes him/her differ. In the case of Oedipus, his tragic flaw, pride, was so erratic that he was unable to clearly process situations that were preventable. His judgment was blurred due to his excessive pride since he believed his actions and motives were the best. Even after losing his eyes, Oedipus tells the Chorus, “What I did was the best-don’t lecture me, no more advice” (1500-1501).

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