What is Oedipus Rex like as a character in Oedipus Rex? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Oedipus is a character with several prominent traits. He is strong-willed, confident, honest and bold. Also, he is proud, quick to anger (sometimes violent) and subject to paranoia. 

At the outset of the play, Oedipus is characterized by his former deeds and accomplishments. Here, his positive attributes are emphasized. 

Oedipus is wise (he has solved the riddle of the Sphinx), revered by his subjects, and dedicated to the discovery of truth.

Later in the play, as Oedipus demands all the information available to him, his anger and pride become the central aspects of his character. Here, we see Oedipus falsely accuse Creon of coveting the throne and threaten Tiresias.  

Oedipus is also said to suffer from a character flaw known as hubris, or pride, and his cruel treatment of Creon and Teiresias in the aforementioned situations evidences this trait.

The mixture of positive and negative traits serve to make Oedipus a character that we can relate to as an audience, while also leaving open many possibilities for his future. Judging from his character traits at the outset of the play, importantly, Oedipus could become a hero or encounter tragedy. Both possibilities are open because he is neither wholly bad not wholly good. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,934 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question