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

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In a sense, the tragic fall or Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is not due primarily to his character but to a curse caused by the ways in which his ancestors had offended the gods. Although he cannot escape the curse, certain good and bad aspects of his character do affect the way in which the curse works out. An outstandingly good quality of Oedipus is his sense of responsibility which impels him to find the source of the plague in order to save Thebes. On the other hand, his determination to find the plague, which is a good characteristic in moderation, is present in excess and becomes stubbornness, leading him to ignore the wise advice of Tiresias and seek answers despite the prophet's original advice:


TEIRESIAS: I will cause neither me nor you distress.
      Why do you vainly question me like this?
      You will not learn a thing from me.


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