Last Updated 04 Jan 2023

Oedipus the King as the Myth of Heroic Proportions by Sophocles

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Sophocles' Oedipus the king is a myth that describes the heroic king who ascends to power after unknowingly killing the king who was his father. He later marries his mother. Sophocles portrays Oedipus the king as an example of a man who becomes a victim of his fate. Sophocles identifies pride, anger and blindness in his decision-making as the source of the king‘s downfall or Oedipus’s tragic destiny. On realizing from a friend that the king was not his biological father, the king consulted an oracle who revealed some prophesies that he would kill his father and marry his mother. In order to avoid this fate, Oedipus decided to leave Corinth. It was on his way to thebes that he met Laius, his father, had a quarrel with him and angrily killed him. Literature review Moments in the play that identifies Oedipus the king's characteristics of pride, anger, and blindness are highlighted.

Oedipus's inability to control anger and pride results to his father‘s death thus fulfilling the first prophecy. At the time of his father‘s death, no one knew each other‘s true identity. The king latter solves a riddle of the sphinX and is unknowingly rewarded with his mother as his wife. He is also awarded the crown of the city of thebes for freeing the people from the curse of the sphinx. The self-realization phase begins when the priests and the Theban elders call on the king to assist them against the plague sent by Apollo to revenge. The death of their king, Oedipus the king characters of pride Oedipus the king displays the character of pride when he proudly promises to successfully bring down the murderer of Laius.

He thought that the results of this achievement would earn him more glory. His persistent pride and need to identify the Laius murderer became the first tragic flaw that resulted to his downfall. The second situation that portrayed his pride was the moment when he went against the will of Creon. Oedipus the king character of anger emerges when he angrily murders a man he quarrels with on his way to Thebes. The man latter turns out to be his father King Laius. This character of violent tempers indicated his second tragic flaw, Oedipus the king character of blindness. His ignorance when he realizes that he killed his father and married his mother as per the prophecy proves the theme of blindness.

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Jocasta committed suicide when she realized that she married her own son. Oedipus the king blinded himself when he learnt of her death. He later blindly wonders through the country and dies at Colonosi. The tragic flaws of pride, anger, and blindness greatly influenced the downfall of Oedipus the king. The three character traits confirm Sophocles' argument that though human beings are feted to their destiny, their action contributes towards achieving the same destiny. Oedipus the king’s destiny would have been completely different if he probably would have listened to those who knew and understood the prophecy. The downfall of Oedipus the king illustrates how desperate attempts to avoid fate can result to human characters like pride, anger and blindness and lead to the same fate.

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