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The Imperfect Oedipus of Oedipus The King
When the play Oedipus The King is mentioned, what do you think of? I think of a very ignorant man that tries to escape his fate-- a man that had so much confidence in himself that he would put false accusations on people and defy his gods just because he thinks he is right. During the play, Oedipus realizes his own flaws while he investigates who the "true killer" of Laius is.
The first character flaw that comes out in the play Oedipus is Oedipus' bad temper and irritability. When Oedipus first heard his prophecy from the Delphi oracle, he made an exodus out of Corinth as soon as he could. While on his journey to Thebes, a caravan cut him off. Enraged, Oedipus killed all the men except one. Only later did Oedipus know that one of the men he killed was his father Laius. If Oedipus had thought out his actions first, then maybe the first part of his fate wouldn't have been fulfilled.
Other character flaws coming out during the investigation was that he is impulsive and he falsely accuses people. When Oedipus was talking to Teirasias, Teirasias proposed that he was the killer of Laius. But again Oedipus' quick temper occurs and he accuses Tieresius of helping Creon overtake his throne. Another example of Oedipus being impulsive was when he demanded information from the messenger from Corinth. When the messenger told Oedipus that King Polybus was not his real father Oedipus was intrigued and wanted to know the truth. On the other hand, Iocasta wanted him to stop his search because she already knew the horrible truth. Oedipus impetuously wanted to know the truth; and Iocasta, horrified, rushed away and killed herself.
The last character trait is one that both of the other flaws fall in, and that is Oedipus having hubris or overconfidence. Because of the absence of Laius, the city of Thebes was under a plague. To stop this plague Oedipus must find the killer of Laios. In this instance Oedipus was very confident that he would find the murderer. Again to the Teirasias scene: Teiresias was trying to tell Oedipus that he was the killer and as he said, "I say that you have been living in un-guessed shame with your nearest kin, and do not to see what woe you have come.
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