Tragic Flaws in Oedipus The King

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 424 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Words: 424|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Tragedy has been a prominent genre in literature for centuries, and one of the most iconic tragic figures in literature is Oedipus from Sophocles' play "Oedipus The King." Oedipus' tragic flaw, or hamartia, is a key element that drives the narrative and leads to his downfall. In this essay, we will delve into the concept of tragic flaws in Oedipus The King, specifically focusing on Oedipus' hubris and its consequences.

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Oedipus' hubris, or excessive pride and arrogance, is his tragic flaw that ultimately leads to his tragic fate. Throughout the play, Oedipus demonstrates his hubris by refusing to listen to the advice of others, including Tiresias, the blind prophet, who warns him of the truth about his identity. Oedipus' belief in his own superiority blinds him to the reality of his situation, leading him to unknowingly fulfill the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother.

According to psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, hubris is a common trait among individuals who are in positions of power or authority. In a study conducted by Dr. McGraw, he found that individuals with high levels of hubris tend to exhibit a lack of empathy and a tendency to disregard the opinions of others, much like Oedipus in the play. This behavior can have devastating consequences, as demonstrated by Oedipus' tragic downfall.

In addition to his hubris, Oedipus' impulsivity is another tragic flaw that contributes to his downfall. Oedipus' quick temper and rash decision-making lead him to act without thinking, ultimately causing harm to himself and those around him. For example, when Oedipus learns the truth about his identity, he blinds himself in a fit of rage and despair. This impulsive act symbolizes Oedipus' inability to control his emotions and think rationally, ultimately sealing his tragic fate.

Some critics may argue that Oedipus' tragic flaws are predetermined by fate and are therefore beyond his control. However, while fate plays a significant role in Oedipus' story, his tragic flaws are ultimately what lead to his downfall. Oedipus' hubris and impulsivity are character traits that he exhibits throughout the play, and it is these flaws that drive the narrative and contribute to the tragic ending.

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Overall, Oedipus' tragic flaws of hubris and impulsivity serve as cautionary tales for audiences, highlighting the dangers of unchecked pride and rash decision-making. Through the character of Oedipus, Sophocles reminds us of the complexities of human nature and the importance of self-awareness and humility. By reflecting on Oedipus' story, we can learn valuable lessons about the consequences of tragic flaws and strive to avoid similar pitfalls in our own lives.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Tragic Flaws In Oedipus The King. (2024, March 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
“Tragic Flaws In Oedipus The King.” GradesFixer, 25 Mar. 2024,
Tragic Flaws In Oedipus The King. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Tragic Flaws In Oedipus The King [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 25 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from:
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