Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

Oedipus Rex book cover
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In Oedipus Rex (or Oedipus the King), how does Oedipus show pride?

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King Oedipus displays his pride by believing that he can triumph over his fate and establish his own destiny despite the gods' ultimate design. Oedipus is unaware of his background and does not know that Polybus and Merope were his adopted parents. As a young man, Oedipus learns of the prophecy that he will one day murder his father and marry his mother, which motivates him to flee Corinth and travel to Thebes. Oedipus's attempt to avoid his fate illustrates his pride. He naively believes that he is smart enough to outwit the gods and prevent his destiny from coming to fruition.

In addition to attempting to avoid his destiny and outsmart the gods, Oedipus also reveals his pride during his interaction with the blind seer Teiresias. Initially, Teiresias gives Oedipus a cryptic answer when he is questioned about Laius's murderer. Oedipus proceeds to insult Teiresias, who finally tells Oedipus that he is the murderer. Oedipus responds by accusing Teiresias of colluding with Creon and proceeds to...

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zumba96 | Student

He believes he has escaped his fate and is proud of himself for coming up with the decision. Leading his adopted home he leaves to the actual home of his birth unknowingly, defeats the Sphinx, and becomes their king. Therefore, he believes he has ended up escaping his fate. Especially in the start of the play, you can tell he has a lot of pride when he starts off with "I, Oedipus". The way he talks believes that because he is a good ruler of the place and deserves it, he has a higher position.

cheli | Student

welli just finished reading this book for my english class.... and my group thinks that Oedipus showed his pride when he confessed that he was the one that killed his father and married his mother......also when he poked his eyes out he showed pride because he didn't want to look any of the people in thebes in the eyes because he was full of shame and guilt.

epollock | Student

jratkinson,

In the very beginning of the play, since the people are supplicants—praying to Oedipus for help—we know that something is seriously wrong. And, since the prayers are addressed directly to Oedipus, he is identified as a significant power.

Oedipus calls the people “My Children,” suggesting his sense of paternalistic control. He refers to himself as “I, Oedipus, a name that all men know” a speech which shows his awareness of his power and reputation. His eminence is based on his having defeated the Sphinx and on his own success as ruler for twenty years.

Oedipus has also killed Laius, resulting in textual evidence that he himself is somewhat physically fit and healthy. He had much to be proud of, whether or not his downfall was fateful.