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Oedipus the Great Paper

? Sophocles once said, “The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.” Everyone person has many defining qualities, both positive and negative. At times, seemingly positive characteristics can reveal to be both a blessing and a curse that leads to one’s downfall, qualities that the Greek’s called one’s hamartias or ‘tragic flaws’. Some of the first examples of tragic heroes can be found in Ancient Greek plays in which a character’s traits that led them to greatness will also cause their downfall. This concept is clearly illustrated in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, a story about the king of Thebes, an admirable leader who possesses negative qualities that ultimately lead him to his own demise. King Oedipus is notably compassionate and determined, and known for his sense of justice, his honesty, and how swift he is to take action. Aside from his admirable qualities, he is also quite short-tempered, arrogant, and reactive. As the mystery unravels and the truth reveals itself, the combination of these positive and negative qualities will lead him to his eventual tragic fate.

Oedipus’ determination is shown many times throughout the play and is fueled by his need for justice and his compassionate nature. An example of this is at beginning of the play when Oedipus is speaking with the priest about the problems Thebes is facing. Oedipus expresses his genuine grief for his suffering people, “my soul mourns/for me and for you, too, and for the city,” (Sophocles 63-64) conveying his genuine desire to be a good king to his people. The genuine empathy he has for his city and his people is also prominent during his conversation with Creon. Oedipus insists upon allowing all his subjects to hear what news the oracles had given his brother-in-law, despite Creon’s suggestion to speak in private: “Speak out to all! The grief that burdens me concerns these men more than it does my life.?…

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