Oedipus The King: The Hubris Of Oedipus

2521 words - 10 pages

"Oedipus the King" written by Sophocles, is a powerful Greek tragedy story. The protagonist, Oedipus is a heroic mythical king who had it all. Oedipus pursues to find the true answers to his identity and destiny, while at the same time trying to avoid fulfilling his destiny.

"Oedipus the King" was introduced around 429 B.C.E. in Athens. This was Sophocles' most celebrated play. It is recognized by many titles, such as its Latin title "Oedipus Rex" and "Oedipus Tyrannus." Sophocles' performed this play at the annual festival of Dionysus--a religious festival, which celebrated Dionysus, the god of intoxication, death, and fertility. Sophocles was one of the dramatists that reigned supreme at these festivals. Most of the Greek tragedies were based upon mythologies. The Athenian audience knew the mythological themes of Oedipus, therefore Sophocles' used dramatic irony and details to evoke emotions of shock, sympathy, and grief from the audience.

Sophocles presented a significant amount of expositional information (in the prologue and the parados) so that the audience or reader could gain insight about the play. The play focuses on Oedipus, the main character. "Swell foot", the meaning of his name, derived because he was abandoned at birth and found with an iron pin embedded into his feet. It was predestined for Oedipus to kill his father and commit an incestuous relationship with his mother. Therefore Oedipus' parents King Laius and Queen Jocasta sent him away at birth to die from exposure. The abandoned baby is raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope as a Prince. Prince Oedipus of Corinth is told of the prophecy that Apollo has placed upon him. He ventures out to seek the truth from the Oracle of Delphi. The oracle confirms the prophecy. To avoid the fate placed on him, Oedipus promises to never go back to his parent's home. A dramatic conflict occurs when Oedipus gets into a fight with a group of men where three roads meet; one of those men is his father King Laius. He kills all the men except for one who flees from the scene and then notifies the Thebians of the tragic news. Oblivious to Oedipus, the first half of his fate (that he was trying so hard to avoid) is fulfilled. Usually crossroads signify a decision point. If Oedipus made the choice of being civil toward the strangers and not letting his temper get the best of him, he could have avoided his fate. Oedipus ends up in Thebes were he is granted the honor of being the King--he solves the Sphinx's riddle which results in the city being free from captivity. In addition, Oedipus marries his predecessor's wife, Queen Jocasta--the women who gave birth to him. Once again Oedipus has crossed paths with his fate and is still blind to it.

Hubris is Oedipus's tragic flaw. He is now overly full of himself because: he rescued the city of Thebes from the Sphinx, people admire him, the citizens worship him as if he were an idol, the citizens think of...

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