Oedipus the King's Tragic Flaw in "Odeipus Rex" by Sophocles.

Essay by Padfoot88High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2005

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"Oedipus Rex" is the classic play by Sophocles about the tragedy of a man by the name of Oedipus. After studying Oedipus Rex, interesting questions arise to mind. For example, why was Oedipus saved from death in the mountains when he was a baby? Does Oedipus' character flaws lead him to a tragic end? Also, what message can we get from this story today, as modern day interpreters?

"It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, who brought to fulfillment all my sufferings." (Oedipus, pg. 96) In order to run away from a prophecy Laius, the former king of Thebes, tries to kill his son by leaving him in the mountains with his ankles pinned. Unfortunately for Laius, the shepherd that was supposed to abandon the baby Oedipus in the mountains took pity upon him and gave him to a fellow shepherd who then gave Oedipus to the childless king and queen of Corinth.

Was it the pity of the shepherd that persuaded him to disobey his king and save Oedipus? Or perhaps there was some heavenly intervention, such as Apollo making sure that his prophecy stays true? When Oedipus leans of the prophecy he too runs away after he exiles himself from Corinth because he still thinks Polybus is his father. Then, Oedipus unknowingly kills his real father, Laius, in the wilderness. Oedipus without even knowing it fulfills the first part of Apollo's prophecy. Apollo probably foresaw all of this and made the shepherd save Oedipus as an infant. That is why the shepherd saved Oedipus in the mountains.

Oedipus' tragic flaw is his hubris. We can tell he is arrogant when Oedipus says, "As sick as you all may be, not one of you is as sick as I am for each of you." When the prophet Tiresias...