Essay about Play Oedipus Rex

Submitted By Blockerbee123
Words: 892
Pages: 4

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,