Do you think Oedipus' pride is naturally built?Do you think Oedipus' pride is naturally built (part of his original personality, or is because of the Thebans who praise him like a god ( the...
Do you think Oedipus' pride is naturally built (part of his original personality, or is because of the Thebans who praise him like a god ( the greatest man ever)
I would think that Oedipus is a combination of both. Without reading the other posts, I would expect that there are three aspects to his personality.
First, he is a hero: he has solved the riddle of the Sphinx and has made travel and trade much easier for the people in the region. He is praised for this, and certainly that is part of what makes up the man.
Second, he is the son of royalty. Born of a king and queen, raised by another king and queen, it is in his blood (if that's possible) and in his upbringing. He is a good man in that he wants the murderer of Laius brought to justice and wants to spare his people suffering, but he is a man in competition with Creon.
Based upon his upbringing—parents and culture—he would be entitled to feel a certain amount of pride because of his station in life and his accomplishments.
The key example of Oedipus's pride as it relates to his downfall is that he thinks that he can outwit the Oracle. He learns that he is fated to kill his father and marry his mother, but thinks that by running away he can avoid the fate the gods have decided for him. Little does he know that he is only running away from his adoptive parents and that he is running away straight into his fate: he kills his real father at the crossroads and marries his mother when he falls in love her, with the recent widow, upon his arrival in Thebes. Any human who thinks that he knows better than the gods is guilty of hubris: a very dangerous flaw.
I agree with Post 4. To the Greeks, hubris was the ultimate human failing. We see many Greek heroes brought down by this very thing. So Oedipus's pride does indeed play a big role in his downfall. The immediate way in which it does this is in the circumstances in which he kills Laius. Fighting over who gets to go first at a crossroads seems very much like an example of excessive pride.
While we cannot be sure, it seems that he is naturally proud for two reasons. First, he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and he was proud of this. The fact that he even tried says something about his personality. Second, when he got into conflict with his father and his entourage on the road. He struck him to killed him. These two points suggest that Oedipus was proud.
The existence of a flaw is the defining characteristic of Greek tragic heroes, and in the case of Oedipus it is certainly hubris, the foolish pride that leads him to believe he can avoid his destiny through his actions. I think it is inborn, perhaps made worse by being hailed as a king and hero, but already there.
His pride is certainly bolstered by praise, but much of it comes directly from his own upbringing and his actual accomplishments. I would argue that he is naturally self-confident (not necessarily arrogant), and the praise is what pushes him over the edge into self-destructive pride.
Based on the nature of the murder of Oedipus' father, it seems Oedipus' pride was with him before he came to be king.
If it was his pride that led to his downfall, it was the pride of believing he could outrun or outwit Fate.