From Oedipus Rex, what are some worthy virtues present in the character of Oedipus?

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Oedipus is determined: The citizens of Thebes beg Oedipus to deliver them from various plagues as they are suffering. Oedipus plans to deliver. He immediately begins working on plans; Creon is sent to gather information, and when he returns, Oedipus listens and then determines his next steps. He is focused on finding the Laius's murderer, even seeking the wisdom of Teiresias to advise him. When he doesn't like the answers he receives from Teiresias, he begins questioning Jocasta. And then he turns his focus to the shepherd, whom he hopes can provide the answers he desperately needs. Oedipus fully investigates the resources around him, determined to help his people and solve the murder of Laius.

Oedipus is confident: While this can be seen as one of the traits that also leads to his downfall, some degree of confidence is welcome in a political leader. Oedipus is confident that he can help his people, saying that "with the gods' good help / Success is sure." Although Oedipus knows that he committed murder, he is confident that Teiresias has it wrong—he couldn't have murdered Laius. Teiresias doesn't want to deliver the requested information to Oedipus, but Oedipus is so confident that he demands it:

What then, thou knowest, and yet willst not speak!
Wouldst thou betray us and destroy the State?

Oedipus wants to meet the needs of his people and is confident that he has the ability to do so. He isn't willing to let any prophesy or person stand in his way of success.

Oedipus is brave: Oedipus is faced with some pretty harsh possibilities, and he presses forward to learn the truth. While some characters may have hidden from the facts, particularly in the face of growing evidence to the veracity of the claims of Teiresias, Oedipus is willing to face the eventual horror of his actions and then blinds himself in self-punishment.

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In the first scene of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex, Oedipus demonstrates a nobility of character and a readiness to serve the people of Thebes when they come to him to plead for his assistance in ending the devastating famine and plague ravaging the city.

Oedipus address his people as "My children" and tells them "My zeal in your behalf ye cannot doubt."

OEDIPUS. our sorrow touches each man severally,
Him and none other, but I grieve at once
Both for the general and myself and you.

Oedipus was considering how best to alleviate his people's suffering even before they came to him, and he'd already sent Creon to the Oracle at Delphi to learn what can be done about this dire situation.

Creon returns from the Oracle with the news that the famine and plague are a result of the murder of the former King, Laius, and because Laius's murderer still lives among them. Oedipus vows to find Laius's murderer, even if the murderer is in his own household.

OEDIPUS. I will start afresh and once again
Make dark things clear. ...

I also, as is meet, will lend my aid
To avenge this wrong to Thebes and to the god.

... And for myself, if with my privity
He gain admittance to my hearth, I pray
The curse I laid on others fall on me.

[T]herefore I
His blood-avenger will maintain his cause
As though he were my sire, and leave no stone
Unturned to track the assassin...

Under normal circumstances, Oedipus's pride in his own accomplishments and in his care of the people of Thebes, as well as his stubborn determination to root out Laius's murderer no matter where the inquiry leads, would be highly admirable character traits.

Here, however, these same character traits become Oedipus's tragic flaws, and the cause of his hamartia—the errors in judgment that lead to his downfall.

The pride that Oedipus feels in serving his people and vowing to find Laius's murderer becomes focused solely on himself; he wants to save face and relieve himself of any responsibility for his own behavior.

Although it becomes increasingly clear that Oedipus himself is Laius's murderer, he absolutely refuses to believe it and angrily lashes out at anyone who casts even the slightest suspicion on him.

Oedipus turns his dogged determination from trying to find Laius's murderer to trying to convince the people of Thebes that he's not Laius's murderer.

However, the more determined and desperate Oedipus becomes to reveal the murderer as someone other than himself, the tighter the web of suspicion closes in on him, eventually revealing that Oedipus is the murderer of King Laius, his own father.

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By definition, as a tragic hero, Oedipus Rex is a man of noble stature who is good, albeit not perfect because he commits "an act of injustice" which leads to his downfall.

What makes Oedipus noble are his virtues:

1. Oedipus is wise.  First of all, he has solved the riddle of the Sphinx; then, he knows to seek the seer Teiresias, and when he speaks with Kreon in the Prologue, he promises that again he will "bring what is dark to light" and rid the city of Thebes of evil. While at first he becomes angry with the things that Teiresias informs him of, Oedipus later tells Jocaste,

"I am not sure that the blind man can not see." (703)

2. Oedipus is compassionate.  He even feels empathy for the people of Thebes when he learns of their suffering,

My poor children, what you desire is
known and not unknown to me, for I see well
that everyone is sick, and being sick,
still, not one of you is as sick as I am. (63-66)

4. Oedipus has integrity.  When the memory of the place of the incident at the place where three roads meet, He tells the people of Thebes that he promises to avenge their city and be rid of the evil. Early on, Kreon has told him that at Delphi the gods declared that the "old defilement" must be either killed or exiled. After his discovery of the truth, Oedipus, true to his word, blinds himself and goes into a self-imposed exile.

5. Oedipus is solicitous of his daughters.

As Oedipus prepares to depart Thebes at the end of the play, he says to his children,

I could say much, if you could understand me,

But as it is, I have only this prayer for you:

Then may you be blessed, and for this meeting
may fate guard you better than it did me (1498-1501)


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