Show how the good as well as bad qualities of Oedipus contribute to his tragic fall in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex

Expert Answers

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

Oedipus's good qualities include his desire for justice and his will to save the people of Thebes from the plague that is devastating them. He is a strong and responsible leader who wants to decisively solve a problem that is harming his city-state.

On the bad side, Oedipus suffers from hubris (pride) which makes him blind to his own flaws. As he is promising dire punishment to whoever is responsible for bringing the plague, it never once occurs to him that the person might be him. He is blind to himself and thinks he can do no wrong.

We can easily see how Oedipus's attributes and flaws work together to create the perfect storm of tragic problems for him. Because he is so responsible about getting to the bottom of what is causing the plague, and because he won't, as advised, turn away from the investigation, he makes discoveries that upend his life. He has to accept that he is not the person he thought he was. He has to face that his self image was based on an illusion that he could defy...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 586 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