How is Oedipus Rex's fate effected in his act hamartia when nothing is in his hand?Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Here at enotes, only one question may be posed at a time; therefore, the others have been edited out. We welcome you to post the other questions that you have separately.
In his Poetics, Aristotle defines hamartia as a criminal act committed in ignorance of some material fact or even for the sake of a greater good. Oedipus has purposely left those he knows as his parents in an effort to avoid fate because a hereditary curse has been placed upon him as the murderer of his parents. Thus, as he seeks to flee this curse, he unknowingly encounters his real father, the Theban Laius, and slays him in anger after Laius strikes him,knocking him into the road.
After his hamartia, Oedipus effects his fate by committing an act of hubris in his cursing of Laius's murderer. In Scene I Oedipus says,
As for the criminal, I pray to God--
Whether it be a lurking thief, or one of a number--
I pray that that man's life be consumed in evil and wretchedness
And as for me, this curse applies no less
If it should turn out that the cuprit is my guest her,
Sharing my hearth. (ll.232-237)
He also commits hubris in his accusing Teiresias of plotting Laius's murder, mocking his age as well as his blindness:
And I'll tell you what I think:
You planned it, you had it done, you all but
Killed him with your own hands: if you had eyes,
I'd say the crime was yours, and yours alone. (ll.330-334)
The act of hamartia, along with his acts of hubris are what seal the fate of Oedipus Rex because he has fulfilled the curse upon himself as the King of Thebes.