Analyzation of Oedipus Rex's Fatal Flaw Term Paper

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Oedipus's Tragic Flaws

Oedipus Rex is the classic story of Oedipus, King of Thebes, a tragic hero whose fate was in the hands of supernatural forces and who was doomed to murder his father and marry his mother. In the play, Oedipus has many characteristics that allow him to be labeled a tragic hero. The philosopher Aristotle states that a tragic hero is an influential person that because of an error in judgment has to suffer the consequences of his or her actions. In the case of Oedipus, it can be argued that his tragic flaws are excessive pride, or hubris, and self-righteousness.

The root of Oedipus's tragic flaw is found in his stubbornness, pride, and ignorance. There are many events within the play that are not motivated by these flaws and are predestined to occur and are controlled by supernatural forces, however Oedipus's flaws make it easier for prophecies to come true. For instance, Oedipus kills his biological father, Laius, on a narrow road, an event that was prophesized, because both men were too stubborn to let the other pass (Sophocles lines 960-977). This is not the only time when Oedipus's stubbornness prevents him from seeing the truth. Earlier in the play, Oedipus refuses to listen to Tiresias when he tells Oedipus that the man he is looking for, Laius's murderer is Oedipus himself (lines 434-435). Even when Oedipus is told the truth about whom his parents really are, he refuses to listen to anybody and will not accept that King Polybius and Queen Meroe of Crete were not his biological parents. Oedipus's stubbornness does not only affect him, but also affects his wife/mother. Jocasta realizes that the truth will destroy them all and begs Oedipus to not investigate Laius's murder any further, but Oedipus will not listen to her pleas (lines 1270, 1276).

Another of Oedipus's tragic flaws is his ignorance. Oedipus cannot be blamed for his ignorance because he had been lied to his entire life. Because Oedipus was under the impression that his biological parents were the…

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Works Cited

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Web. Accessed 4 April 2012.

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