How does hubris cause Oedipus's downfall in Oedipus Rex?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Similarly to other protagonists of the Theban plays, Oedipus's pride is his ultimate downfall. Just like his father, Laius, and his successor, Creon, Oedipus commits the crime of unwitting defiance of the gods. Wishing to use his new power well and prove himself a good king, Oedipus relentlessly seeks out the murderer of the previous king. The irony of course is that, as Tiresias points out, the killer that he seeks is none other than himself. Oedipus's act of defiance and hubris is his continual search for the killer when Tiresias, a prophet of the gods, has warned him that no good will come of the endeavor.

Curiously enough, this warning on the part of Tiresias could be seen as the gods giving Oedipus a second chance. At this point in the story, he had already fulfilled the prophecy that he was destined to fulfill. Similar to Laius, who had attempted to subvert the prophecy of the gods by leaving his son on a mountain, Oedipus had attempted to avoid his fate of killing his father and bedding...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1021 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team