The Role Of Fate And Hubris In Oedipus The King



Sophocles's Oedipus the King is indeed a tragedy. We can tell what a doomed life Oedipus is leading, but it is hard to pin down a direct antagonist, or force in conflict with the main character. Yet when I looked hard enough I found the two culprits behind all of Oedipus's misery. Oedipus's fate and hubris prove to play the roles of the antagonists in this story.
It all comes down to Oedipus being a good person. He is noble and trys to bring justice to Thebes. Yet at the same time he contains traits, his fate and hubris, that can only lead to his downfall. He is essentially playing the roles of protagonist and antagonist put together. This is where Sophocles's use of dramatic irony ...

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which Sophocles used to his advantage. With well known plots the people's minds were open and Sophocles's messages were beaten into them. Almost like subliminal messages.
But what messages would Sophocles wish to push on his audiences?

Well, at the time, the people of Athens were declining in moral values, they were losing faith in the Gods, mistreating people lower than them and taking part in thefts, murders and other sins. They were also becoming religious hypocrites, only using the Gods at their own convenience. Sophocles wished to change all of this.

So Sophocles chose a character, Oedipus, that personified what was good in Athenian society, the want for justice, the need for good leadership, and the use of intellectual ability. Oedipus shows his intellectual ability when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx.

But Sophocles also chose Oedipus because he personified what was wrong with the Athenian society. These shortcomings include waning faith in the Gods, the ...

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fate, or go against the antagonist. The actual meaning of an antagonist is a muscle working against other muscles (like Oedipus's bad traits working against his good). The first try at escaping fate involves Laius and Jocasta nailing their unlucky baby's feet together and abandoning him. All this to outsmart the Gods. The next fate is disobeyed when Oedipus leaves Polybus and Merope because he hears his fate and wants to avoid it, thinking it speaks of the only parents he has ever known, Polybus and Merope.

The second antagonist is Oedipus's excessive pride, hubris. After Oedipus has killed Laius, his unknown father, he solves the riddle of the Sphinx. This deed leads him to ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/27/2005 03:31:46 AM
Category: Arts
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1505
Pages: 6

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