Q:

How did Oedipus characterize himself?

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Quick Answer

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.

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Full Answer

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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Related Questions

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    What is the role of fate in "Oedipus Rex"?

    A:

    Fate's role in "Oedipus Rex" is to force Oedipus to kill his father and marry his mother. The struggle between fate and free will is a central theme of the play as Oedipus does his best to avoid his prophesied destiny, but ultimately to no avail.

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  • Q:

    What is the role of the chorus in Oedipus Rex?

    A:

    In "Oedipus Rex," the chorus shows the horrors of the plague and fear about the coming message from the Oracle at the play's start and later moves on to comment about the nature of humanity. In general, the role of the chorus in Greek tragedy was to signal the beginning and ending of the story with song and to provide commentary about the events and actions in the play.

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  • Q:

    What is the theme of "Oedipus Rex"?

    A:

    "Oedipus Rex," otherwise known as "Oedipus the King," focuses on themes of fate, choice, free will, determination, power and memory. The play focuses on the life of Oedipus, King of Thebes, and the unraveling of his life as his true identity, and that of his wife, Jocasta, is revealed.

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  • Q:

    What are the functions of the chorus in "Oedipus Rex"?

    A:

    The Chorus in "Oedipus Rex" serves several important functions in the play. The Chorus is composed of a group of elders from Thebes who observe what is happening and react to it as the audience is most likely to respond. The Chorus acts as the bystander who gets to ask the tough questions as well as the observer who explains things the audience does not know.

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