The Arrogance of King Oedipus Essay

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The play “Oedipus Rex” was written by an ancient Greek playwright named Sophocles. Sophocles is known for his compelling tragedies and well-rounded characters. The protagonist of Sophocles’ play “Oedipus Rex” is an honorable man however, chooses to lead a life of arrogance and pride known as hubris. This hubris is what ultimately causes Oedipus to unknowingly cause his own tragic demise. Oedipus fulfills the prerequisites set by Aristotle for a tragic hero. The events that conspire prior to the setting of the play create a perfect incubator for a tragic hero to develop. Through the heat of fate and Oedipus’ hubris, Oedipus transforms from a heroic king to a catastrophic excuse of a man. Oedipus loses everyone he loves because of his hasty …show more content…
Prior to the plays setting “Oedipus goes to Delphi where he asks the oracle who his true parents are. To this the god responds that he will kill his father and marry his mother.” (Hogan P. 19) Determined not to allow the prophecy to come true Oedipus runs away from his home in Corinth. During Oedipus’ travel, he encounters a small group of men “where three roads meet”. Oedipus first displays his arrogance by not peacefully resolving the confrontation he encountered, knowing that the prophet prophesied Oedipus killing his own father. Later, Oedipus again displays his blatant arrogance by ignoring the prophets warning of incest when “he received the throne of Thebes and the hand of the widowed queen, his mother, Jocasta.”( Britannica). Oedipus clearly demonstrates a habit of arrogance in his decision-making and therefore, fulfilling the first prerequisite of Aristotle’s tragic hero. Oedipus’ high estate and nobility are earned by murdering the men at the crossroads and defeating a beast. Though Oedipus unknowingly kills the king of Thebes in his travels, the opportunity to seize the throne would not be possible without proving himself to the state. Oedipus proves himself during a confrontation with an evil Sphinx that caused plagues of terror throughout Thebes. During this confrontation with the Sphinx, Oedipus is forced to solve a complicated riddle or be killed. Using only his wits, Oedipus forces the Sphinx to kill herself by solving a riddle no man has

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