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Oedipus Rex Critical Essays

by Sophocles

❶As a backgrounder, Laius, the King of Thebes, was informed by a prophet that a child born to him and his wife, Jocasta, will murder him.

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Oedipus from Oedipus the King fulfills the requirements of a tragic hero. He is the main character of a tragedy. He possesses a tragic flaw in which he is blind to what goes on around him causing him to fall from his noble position. However, Oedipus was a good leader, and had earned the respect of his people before the tragic events. Even the noblest character as seen in Oedipus can fall from the top simply because of a minor character flaw.

When a character is a tragic hero he or she must also be the main character of the story as well. Oedipus is the main character of the story Oedipus the King.

Oedipus was given up for adoption at birth because his parents were afraid that he would fulfill a horrible prophecy. It was said that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. Later on in life he fulfilled his destiny bringing about his downfall.

This makes Oedipus a tragic hero because the story is written around him and his life making him the main character of the tragic story. Many people try to tell Oedipus the truth but he refuses to listen to them in lives in his own little bubble.

For fear that the oracle may come true, Oedipus left Corinth. Upon arriving at a fork, Oedipus met Laius and four other people. A quarrel followed, Oedipus eventually killed all the men. The sphinx had asked everybody a riddle. Anybody who failed to answer the riddle or gave an incorrect answer to the riddle was immediately eaten. Bold and self-confident, Oedipus faced the Sphinx and answered the riddle.

As a result, the Sphinx killed itself. The grateful people of Thebes proclaimed him as heir hero and king. They begot two sons and two daughters. Several years after, a plague struck in Thebes. In his desire to put a stop to the plague, Oedipus consulted a prophet who revealed that the plague would not end until the people of Thebes drive out the murderer of Laius who was within the city.

Oedipus thought that this was a scheme of Creon, his brother-in-law whom he thought desired to replace him as King. At this point, Jocasta told Oedipus that the oracle once prophesied that Laius will be killed by his son. She told him that the prophecy was not true as an eyewitness said that Laius was killed by highway robbers in a location where three different roads meet. Oedipus suddenly remembered an incident in his past where he fled from Corinth and killed a man along the way because of quarrel as to who had the right of way.

He thought that the same man could be Laius. As a result he asked that people to look for the herdsman who witnessed the killing of Laius. Later on a messenger brought news that the King Polybus was dead. Laius was asked to return to Corinth to rule the kingdom. The messenger told Oedipus not to worry about the prophecy since Polybus was not his real father and that the messenger took the baby from the shepherd who found Polybus.

The shepherd then revealed that Jocasta once handed to him a baby boy for him to leave on the mountain to die. He however took pity and gave the boy to a messenger. At that point, Oedipus realized that he was indeed Laius child who killed his own father and married his own mother. Jocasta committed suicide after the revelation. Oedipus on the other hand, realizing his mistakes, took his eyes out and pierced it with a knife making him blind. He then left Thebes after asking Creon to take care of his daughters.

Your Essay Writing Partner. A human weakness that is evident throughout the play is pride. Oedipus was a very proud, arrogant and confident man. He had such a high regard for himself that he confidently challenged the Sphinx oblivious of the possibility that the Sphinx may kill him. He knew that he had the intelligence to answer the riddles of the Sphinx no matter how difficult it was.

He was successful and became the King of Thebes and married the Queen. As the King, he became more proud and the people exalted and praised him for his courage and intelligence. He considered the people of Thebes as his children who needed his guidance and protection. The people, in return, looked up to him and admired him.

It was this pride and self-confidence that drove Oedipus to investigate and search for the murderer of Laius. Upon learning that the only solution for the plague to leave Thebes and for his people to be saved is to find the murderer of Laius, he took it upon himself to find the murderer. Despite his fears and despite having second thoughts, he proceeded with his investigation confident that in the end he will triumph and once more save the people of Thebes.

This was evident in the manner he relentlessly pursued with his investigation. He used his power and position as King to look for the answers to his questions.

Thus, he questioned Teiresias and other people such as the herdsman, the messenger, Creon and many others in order to find the truth. Pride and self-confidence were also the reasons why he thought he could escape his destiny. Thinking that he can do anything, he left Corinth. He thought that by leaving Corinth, he will be able to change his destiny and rewrite his own future. Concerned that the prophecy may be fulfilled, he left Corinth so that he will not murder his own father and marry his own mother.

Oedipus, in fact, celebrated several times in the story as he thought that he successfully defied the oracle. This was evident in the story when he received news that the King Corinth had died. Though he loved King Polybus as he was raised by King Polybus as his own son, he was pleased that King Polybus did not die from his own hands.

The second was when Jocasta informed him that Laius died at the hands of several robbers.

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Free Oedipus the King Essays: Oedipus as the Hero Archetype - Oedipus as the Hero Archetype The character Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King follows a literary pattern known as the hero archetype. The hero archetype is a .

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Sep 17,  · This essay seeks to prove that Oedipus the King is indeed the perfect model of a tragedy in the sense that it has all the elements of a great tragedy - human suffering, human frailty and weakness and powerlessness to control one’s destiny. Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) by Sophocles.

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In the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King written by Sophocles, the antagonist is fate. The theme of fate is deeply intertwined in the plot. In this play, all meet. Essay on Sophocles “Oedipus the King” Among the Greek tragedies, there can probably be found something deeper and more elaborate, than “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles, but there is not a single one, in which the philosophical depth and tragic strength would be combined with such incomparable sophistication, noble grace and structural perfection.