How would you characterize Oedipus?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Extremely sad.  The previous post did a nice job illuminating the condition of Oedipus.  Yet, to examine the arc of Oedipus' life is an exercise of sadness.  The fact that he was abandoned to avert a prophecy about his own life involves a level of understood sadness.  As he grows up, he is forced to live out an existence under a fate that is as unavoidable as a shadow.  Even if one wants to argue that he is responsible for his stubbornness in not understanding the implications of fate, the reality is that it is sad to witness anyone have to live an existence where their fate is inevitable.  Naturally, when he comes to the realization of his actions, the horrific and painful nature of them, this would involve another level of sadness.  Blinding himself and having to live the life of a wandering beggar who is replete with knowledge as a consequence of extreme pain would be one final statement where sadness could be the only proper characterization.

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oedipus is a classic tragic hero, an alazon, an imposter who sees himself greater than he really is.  He decides to be judge, jury, prosecution, and defense against the criminal who is responsible for the latest plague in Thebes.  Ironically, he sets himself up for failure in his blind pursuit of the truth.