Oedipus Hubris Analysis

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Sophocles’ Oedipus the King is a Greek play often called the perfect tragedy. After hearing an oracle that kill his father and marry his mother, Oedipus tries to escape his fate by leaving his family in Corinth. Oedipus believes that he has outwitted fate by running to Thebes; however, the tragic king has unknowingly run into the very fate he was trying to avoid. Oedipus’ hubris leads to his downfall because his arrogance results in an exchange of his happiness for misery in a reversal. This downfall is seen when he realizes he murdered King Laius. Additionally, this downfall precipitated by Oedipus’ hubristic personality is seen when he discovers that he is adopted. The last instance when Oedipus’ reversal and downfall is seen is when he discovers …show more content…
Upon realizing that he is adopted, Oedipus claims that he is “the son of Good Chance,” and that he will prove this by “not giv[ing] up the search for the truth about [his] birth” (Sophocles 79). His declaration that he is still the son of something more powerful than the gods, despite his not having a noble birth, shows how he believes that he is higher than everyone around him. Because King Polybus and Queen Merope are revealed to be only adoptive parents, Oedipus states that will commence a search for his real, divine parents. This search will eventually lead to the discovery that his wife, Jocasta, and the man he murdered, Laius, are his real parents who tried to kill him. The reality of Oedipus’ adoption is tragic and distressing to the king, who once was able to live in peace with the knowledge that he was born royalty. After discovering the circumstances he was born under and that he is not the son of Polybus, Oedipus cries, “O Polybus, and Corinth … I am now exposed — evil and born in evil” (Sophocles 99). When Oedipus thinks that he was the natural son of Polybus, he is confident in his identity and social class. However, this principle belief on which Oedipus lives his life shatters upon his discovery of his adoption. Oedipus goes from pleased with who he believes to be his family to disgusted and ashamed with who his real family is. Therefore, Oedipus’ downfall and …show more content…
In addition, he demands that those around him “hide [him] somewhere outside of Thebes, kill [him], throw [him] into the sea, where [people] will never see [him] again” (Sophocles 108). When Oedipus first discovers that someone has done things that no one should do, he informs the town of the unmerciful consequences of such actions. Oedipus instituted these punishments because he never saw himself as the one who caused the plague and thought lowly of whoever was the plague’s cause. Now that Oedipus understands that he killed his father and married his mother, he not only feels the need to execute the punishments he described earlier, but feels the need to hide and reprimand himself for the humiliation that he experiences. Oedipus was certain of his power and contentment as king, only to have this ideal shattered by his investigation into his past. Oedipus goes from the cherished king to the mockery of Thebes because of his own arrogance. Thus, Oedipus’ downfall and reversal are direct results of his hubris regarding his discovery of his true family. Overall, Oedipus’ downfall resulted due to his hubris because his arrogance resulted in his reversal. In his understanding that he murdered King Laius, Oedipus’ hubris and downfall are evident. In addition, his downfall caused by his

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