In Oedipus The King, how does Oedipus show pride?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way in which Oedipus shows his immense pride is in his belief that he could somehow escape the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. The news of this fate, delivered by the oracle at Delphi, would, the ancient Greeks believed, have come directly from the gods, namely Apollo, the god most concerned with prophecy. For Oedipus to think that he can escape a prophecy dictated to him by the mouthpiece of a god is evidence of his pride because it shows that he thinks he can outsmart the gods. His hubris is terrible indeed. Oedipus believes that if he simply doesn't return home to Corinth, he cannot possibly kill his father and marry his mother, who he believes to live there. He is too proud to realize that there might be things he doesn't know, for example, that Polybus and Merope are his adopted parents and that his biological parents, Laius and Jocasta, are from Thebes, where he now decides to go. In trying to outsmart the gods, Oedipus actually makes it possible for the prophecy to occur—an ironic consequence of his pride.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The overwhelming sense of pride is apparent through much of the play.  Oedipus' fundamental belief that he can overcome his fate through his exercise of free reflects this pride.  The faith in his freedom and disregard for its limitations is reflective of Oedipus' pride.  He believes that his fate will not apply to him, discarding the input of Tiresias and the idea that his journey to cure his people could come at drastic costs.  The fact that he kills what turns out to be his father over such a small slight on the road reflects this pride, as well.  Undeniably, Oedipus is responsible for some fairiy impressive feats.  He is seen as a powerful ruler and through solving the riddle of the Sphinx, Oedipus has reason to possess some pride.  Yet, in the final analysis, his sense of ego is what ends up dooming him, reconciling him to the fact that his fate cannot be overcome.

epollock | Student


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.

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.