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How does Oedipus' curiosity ruin him at the end of the play?

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lehcir | Student | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:14 PM via iOS

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How does Oedipus' curiosity ruin him at the end of the play?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 10, 2013 at 3:18 PM (Answer #1)

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I tend to think that Oedipus' curiosity is linked to his hamartia, or tragic flaw, of pride.  Oedipus' insistence on the truth is one in which he is able to fully demonstrate his own curiosity.  Oedipus fails to demonstrate any humility in this process.  His own desire to solve the riddle of why the people of Thebes suffers and demonstrate a capacity to almost flaunt the power of the truth is where his curiosity is evident.  Oedipus does not fully grasp or account for the fact that the truth is so awful that is can subsume him, overcome him, and transform him from powerful ruler to an object of pity.  Oedipus' curiosity is not the same as Pandora.  Rather, it is a reflection of something larger within him, a tragic condition that fails to effectively account for a wider configuration than the individual.  It is here in which his curiosity ends up ruining him, as it is an offshoot of his own pride and sense that he is greater than the forces pitted against him.  It is through this curiosity, a desire to find out the truth and not relent to the fact that the truth can actually be worse than what he envisions, where his doom is evident and his legacy in literature lies.

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