Q:

How did Oedipus characterize himself?

A:

Throughout most of Sophocles' play, "Oedipus Rex," Oedipus has a high regard of himself. However, his hubris leads to his downfall, and by the end of the play he has a very low opinion of himself.

Oedipus thinks a lot of himself throughout most of the play. After all, he is the king and he solved the mystery of the sphinx. Additionally, the people of Thebes hold Oedipus in very high regard. These two forces give Oedipus a heightened sense of self. This leads him on a quest to solve a question that he believes only he can answer. In a Ball State University website article, it is noted that while Oedipus' intelligence makes him great, it is also what makes him tragic because he cannot stop looking for the answer to his past. While others in his life try to convince him to leave the past alone, he is stubborn and continues on his journey to uncover the truth.

The truth is what changes Oedipus' opinion of himself from good to bad. When he finally discovers the truth, he cannot bear it. The answer he searched for and the consequences associated with it are so incredibly different from what he expected, he blinds himself. He believes he is no longer great and lives out the rest of his life realizing the knowledge of his terrible fate was his own fault. It is suggested in an article on Chemeketa.edu that regardless of the terrible outcomes, Oedipus was always in control of his fate and the one he ultimately chose is one with which he can live.


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