The Quest for the Truth Antoine Rivarol, a French writer during the revolutionary era, once said, “It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.” Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex exemplifies this quote through Oedipus himself, as Oedipus becomes truly obsessed with uncovering the “mystery” as to who killed the king. His experiences in his search for truth are shown through the contrasts between popularity and disgrace, sight and blindness, and truth and blissful ignorance. Through his search, Oedipus’ takes his quest too far, which leads to his doom. While curiosity and passion are usually good qualities, Oedipus takes them to the extreme. He loses his balance because of his obsession with hunting down the criminal, which ultimately leads to his demise through discovery himself as the killer. Although Oedipus should be blamed for his tunnel vision and stubbornness, he remains a hero as his passion and persistence are also what make him such a great leader among his people. Oedipus’ overconfidence and quick decisions appear to be the first step to his demise in his quest for truth, starting when he becomes King of Thebes. Because he solved the “riddle of the Sphinx” and saved his city, he is seen as a godlike figure to his people (Sophocles 159). He is famous to them; even the priests “rate [him] the first of men” (Sophocles 161). With so many people trusting him and thinking so highly of him, Oedipus believes he can do no wrong. He can make quick decisions and be confident about them because he knows he is backed by his people. However, on his quest he fails to stop and reflect on the outcome of his decisions. Oedipus has already sent out Creon to the oracle to ask the gods for their suggestion when the priests come to ask him for help. Further, Oedipus has already sent for Tiresias when the Chorus suggests he do so. While his quick decision making is an admirable trait of a leader he once again takes it to the extreme on his quest; his failure to examine the outcomes causes him to miss evidence suggesting that he is the killer. If he had not been so confident with his decisions and stopped to take some time to look at the results, he might have picked up on the hints sooner. Yet, the appeal of mystery keeps him on the hunt. Through pushing this quest, he comes to realize he is the killer. He is ultimately led to shame and disgrace because of “his character”, the complete opposite of the fame he originally had. Oedipus’ overconfidence in his own knowledge furthers his downfall on his quest for truth. On top of believing himself to be “godlike,” he believes he is the only one who can truly see, and that all others around him are blind. Vision and eyesight are constantly referenced throughout the play both metaphorically and literally, as well as blindness. While Oedipus can literally see, he is metaphorically blind because he is blind to the truth in his search. Tiresias may be physically blind, but he can see far more than Oedipus ever could. Oedipus fails to listen to Tiresias’ wisdom because he is blind to the truth. He is overconfident in his own knowledge and fails to acknowledge Tiresias’ prophetic words. He once again ignores all evidence and signs that he could truly be the killer, and continues on his search. Because he keeps pushing,…
The Decline of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex
Oedipus began Oedipus Rex as a king, only to end the tale as a blinded beggar. Oedipus' fall from his kingly status was not by accident or because of some other person. Oedipus is the only one that can be blamed for his misfortune. Oedipus' character traits are shown most clearly during his spiraling downfall, thinking he is "a simple man, who knows nothing", yet knowing more than he realizes by the end of the story.
main character Oedipus comes to discover the inescapability of fate enduring
obstacles which lead him back to his destiny.
After fleeing Corinth in fear of the prophecy's statement that Oedipus's fate would be
to marry his mother and kill his father, Oedipus killed a group of men in self defense at a
crossroad. Not long after, he arrived to Thebes. With the king being recently murdered, the
townspeople looked to Oedipus for a sense of guidance. Also having defeated the sphinx,
Oedipus was awarded the royal throne and the queen as his wife…
The tragedy of Oedipus the King is a classic representation of irony in a Greek play. Oedipus, king of Thebes emerges as a powerful ruler after solving the riddle of the Sphinx and is initially regarded as a concerned leader. The story of Oedipus Rex Centers around what caused the events before the play begins and the tragedy of what happens after Oedipus opens his eyes to the truth.
The exposition of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex occurs seamlessly. At the beginning of the play, we learn…
Oedipus Rex the Blind King
Sophocles is one of the few Greek Tragedians whose plays have survived to this day. One of his most famous works is, Oedipus Rex. Oedipus Rex is a play about the King of Thebes, who needs to save his kingdom from a deathly plague. The only way to do so is to solve the murder of the late King Laios. However, when Oedipus was young he was cursed with a prophecy that said he was doomed to kill his father and marry his mother. While solving the murder Oedipus realizes the…
Survey of Dramatic Literature
September 10, 2014
In 420 B.C., Sophocles wrote his rendition of Oedipus Rex. Oedipus Rex is the story of the son of the King and Queen of Thebes. The theme of fate plays a monstrous role in this entire play. Throughout time, the idea of fate and how it affects people’s decisions. While the Greeks wholeheartedly believed in the idea of fate, nowadays fate is an after-thought. By taking a look at the circumstances,…
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
1 - Oedipus is abandoned after his father, King Laius, hears a prophecy that he is to kill his father and marry his mother, Queen Jocasta. Oedipus is adopted and later hears the same prophecy, and goes in search of the truth. Along the way he gets in a fight with a man and kills him, not knowing it is his father. He then solves a riddle from the Sphinx which has been terrorizing a kingdom. In return, the kingdom gives him their queen's hand in marriage, who is his biological…
Oedipus Rex: Question 1
Oedipus Rex is considered one of the greatest tragic plays to come from any of the ancient Greek playwrights as its lessons mirror societal troubles of the era. It projects certain cultural values and morals onto the Athenian audience of the time through many different tragic conventions. Sophocles, the writer, was born near Athens between 497 and 495 BC and is considered a conservative as all his plays supported the idea of a polytheistic society and that we should not…
English Literature: 2
02 October 2014
Sometimes, we as human beings, are unable to see the most apparent truths. Sometimes, even the blind can see more than the sighted. Sophocles demonstrates this in his famous play, Oedipus Rex.
Oedipus, whose name means “swollen foot” is cursed from birth. His parents receive a prophecy that states that Oedipus will grow up to kill his father so they leave him in a mountain to die. However, Oedipus is saved by a shepherd. Furthermore, the…
Oedipus Rex Theme Paper (Choice 2)
Contrary to popular belief, Oedipus was not a mere victim of fate but rather responsible
for his own banishment and blindness. In addition, Oedipus had several character flaws that
contributed to his dreaded fate, the most prevalent being anger.
One instance where Oedipus ruins his own future is at the start of the play when he is
speaking with Creon, his brother in law, who has just returned from the oracle. Creon told…
Aristotle defined Oedipus Rex by Sophocles as the perfect tragedy. In this tragedy, King Oedipus has to face a hamartia, which is the tragic hero’s downfall due to his tragic flaws. King Oedipus plays an important role in the concept of fate. Oedipus falls form his status from being a powerful noble king by not following his fate, his overbearing pride, and his assault that makes him a disgrace towards others. Although, Oedipus is considered a classic Greek tragic hero, he has several tragic flaws…