Oedipus Rex Essay, Research Paper
All tragic heroes suffer a downfall because of their tragic flaws. In the Greek story of Oedipus, he is responsible for his downfall because of his tragic flaws and his hubris. When Oedipus was born his parents, King Lauis and Queen Jocasta, went to an oracle. They were told Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. Jocasta and Lauis didn’t want this so they stuck a spike into Oedipus (means swollen foot) ankles and had a servant of theirs leave him on the mountain Citheran. A Shepard brought Oedipus to the king and queen of Cornith, and they became his new parents. He grew up and soon went to an oracle like his real parents had and was told the same exact thing. Oedipus wanted to avoid this and ran away to the city of Thebes where he was born. On his way he came to three roads. There people on a horse and carriage were trying to get him off the road and he soon became angry and killed all of them except one. The one who lived was the servant who had saved Oedipus’s life on the mountain. One of the many people he did kill was King Lauis. The gods became very angry with this. Oedipus was thought to be a hero because he got past the Sphinx. He was made king and married Jocasta. This shows a major flaw of Oedipus’s life. Hamartia (tragic flaw) is shown in the story when he ran away from his fate but, was actually running towards it. This also shows Oedipus’s hubris. Another major tragic flaw of his was his bad temper and how he killed Lauis. Later in the story more of Oedipus’s flaws were shown. Besides his bad temper and his extensive amount of pride, he conveyed stubbornness and impulsive rashness. He showed stubbornness when he would not listen to Jocasta or anyone else. And he showed rashness by being foolish and cursing his family, trying to kill them and making himself blind. All this led up to a horrible downfall.
Oedipus’s weaknesses and actions were both reasons that lead to the terrible tragedy he faced. His foolishness to try to escape his destiny was the most significant flaw. It brought him right into what he did not want and brought horrible things upon his life and family. His actions made him become a murderer and a shameful person all because he tried to change the way things were meant to be in his life. Thus, Lauis and Jocasta had tried to escape what was to happen in the future for them also. It too came back and hit them and ended in tragedy.
Sochocles was telling us that free will is living your life the way we want and the way it is and not looking to see what is held for us in the future. In a way people can control their destinies by living their life in a good way and planning things right. The whims of the gods may have a plan for all of us or they may not. In Oedipus’s case, he could have resisted killing his father and marrying his mother. And the gods would have spared his family and himself, or that could have just been the way his life was meant to be. It is always best to just live life as it is meant to be and don’t try to change any of it.