Oedipus Downfall Analysis

873 Words 4 Pages
Often, people like to turn to their surroundings for an explanation of their behavior. Regardless, this is another way for them to ignore their own mistakes. The circumstances are no different in the story of Oedipus Rex. After receiving a disturbing prophecy promising the marriage of his mother and the murder of his father, Oedipus runs away from home. He finds success in Thebes, but soon learns that to save the city, he must uncover the murderer of the late King Laius. Thus begins the saga of Oedipus’ quest for truth. But, upon realization that the prophecy has been fulfilled, Oedipus sees his world as it is. Many think of Oedipus’ doom as fate. However, Oedipus’ own personality, attitudes, and actions were the cause of his downfall.
…show more content…
He was inclined to turn the blame against everyone else. These actions stemmed from ignorance and Tiresias, the blind prophet, noticed right away. It becomes clear that Oedipus “‘sees not into what misery [he] has fallen, / Nor where [he] lives nor with whom [he] mates,’” (Sophocles and Storr 426-428). This proves a problem, letting Oedipus trod between scenes without an impending sense of worry or healthy dose of caution. To make matters worse, Oedipus not only lacks knowledge of the underlying set, but is also oblivious to his own oblivion. Such a position opened the gates for many of his actions, resulting in neglect for the warnings he inherited. Oedipus was so far from the correct answer that he was the last to understand Jocasta’s. He could not comprehend her wishes for him to stop his search and brushed it off as “‘her pride of ancestry,’” (Sophocles and Storr 1074). Oedipus remained thick headed, and as the plot began to twist, it went unnoticed by him. He paid no attention to the reactions of those around him, nor the implications that they spoke of. His inability to heed the signs drove him to learn what he had never wished to know, and thus, steered him to his …show more content…
When he stumbles into reality, he is left in a deep depression. He regrets the actions that landed him as murderer of Laius and husband of Jocasta, hence he stabs his own eyes out. Oedipus explains himself, reasoning that he would like “‘to bide in regions sorrow cannot reach,’” (Sophocles and Storr 1381). And yet, he refuses to acknowledge his childish decision to wallow in self-pity will not make him feel any better. It will not rewrite the past, and every moment he sits pouting, is another moment Thebes has been left leaderless. He does not clean up the mess he has made by appointing the next King or making amends with those he has insulted for their accuracy. Oedipus has done nothing but exacerbate his own sense of dread. His callow nature is shown again during discussions with Creon. In fact, Creon feels that “‘[Oedipus] is as sullen in [his] yielding mood / As in [his] anger [he] was savage,” (Sophocles and Storr 682-684). This displays a short-temper, and further reveals that he is known to be sulky, character traits that suggest impulsiveness and lack of maturity in a person. These manners also enable him to walk past the cautions of his peers and incriminations that did not fit his personal idea of the story. He even goes as far as assumptions when handling matters that may damage his reputation. These measures backfired though, and only made his dreadful circumstances

Related Documents