How Does Oedipus Cause His Own Downfall

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In the play Oedipus Rex, we get follow the story of current King Oedipus, and his struggle to discover who killed the King prior to himself, King Laius; but in the process of trying to discover the truth, he also leads to his own downfall. Oedipus is a perfect example of how “Ignorance is bliss”, if you don’t know something, do not try to look into it. Oedipus makes the mistake of looking into something too much, and he discovers that he wife is really his mother, and that he also murdered his father. Oedipus is a great example of a “Tragic Hero”, he has good intentions of trying to save Thebes by looking for the killer, but he ends up causing his own downfall. Oedipus Rex is a warning from Sophocles stating that you should not attempt to look …show more content…

This idea is developed very early on in the play by Oedipus,
And on the murderer this curse I lay (On him and all the partners in his guilt):-- Wretch, may he pine in utter wretchedness! And for myself, if with my privity He gain admittance to my hearth, I pray The curse I laid on others fall on me. See that ye give effect to all my heart, For my sake and the god's and for our land A desert blasted by the wrath of heaven. (Sophocles 244-253)
Oedipus’ intense amount of self confidence is so great that Oedipus actually curses whoever the killer is, this is an example of irony, because Oedipus later finds out that he was the killer all along, and that he ended up cursing himself. Another clue of this is a quote from Oedipus while he was talking to the prophet Teiresias, “Yea, I am wroth, and will not stint my words, But speak my whole mind. Thou methinks thou art he, Who planned the crime, aye, and performed it too, All save the assassination; and if thou Hadst not been blind, I had been sworn to boot That thou alone didst do the bloody deed.” (Sophocles 345-350). In this quote, Oedipus’ ego is once again affecting him, as he refuses to even consider what the prophet Teiresias is saying about not looking into who the murderer is, but Oedipus ironically does accuse him of being the killer. These quote help the reader realize that the mystery of Oedipus Rex for Oedipus is to discover who Laius’ killer …show more content…

The entire process of Oedipus investigating is symbolic of one of the plays major messages: too much knowledge leads to suffering. One quote that supports this idea is one that was said by Oedipus regarding his fate, “To Delphi, and Apollo sent me back Baulked of the knowledge that I came to seek. But other grievous things he prophesied, Woes, lamentations, mourning, portents dire; To wit I should defile my mother's bed And raise up seed too loathsome to behold, And slay the father from whose loins I sprang” (Sophocles 791-797). This quote is an example of how the pursuit of knowledge can sometimes be stronger than fate itself. Another quote that supports this is, “Jocasta: Ah mayst thou ne'er discover who. thou art! Oedipus: Go, fetch me here the herd, and leave yon woman To glory in her pride of ancestry. Jocasta: O woe is thee, poor wretch! With that last word I leave thee, henceforth silent evermore” (Sophocles 1068-1073). Jocasta is warning Oedipus that the truth will only cause pain, so he should stop pursuing it. This unfortunately doesn’t effect Oedipus, and he discovers the truth. Sophocles use of irony and foreshadowing are prevalent in the play; it allows the reader to predict what is going to

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