Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

Aristotle defined a tragic flaw as consisting of "error and fatalities." What errors does Oedipus make?


Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

What is key to remember in analyzing this opening section of the play is the first glimpse Sophocles’ gives us of Oedipus’ deeper character. Sophocles starts the tragedy when Oedipus’ fortune is at its very height – he has solved the riddle and is a prosperous, respected king with wife and children. Note how many times in this early section of the play he is referred to as Oedipus the ‘great’. Some commentators have also found in Oedipus an unpleasant arrogance or pride – a sense of self-regard – which might be considered a ‘tragic flaw’ (an idea that seems to come from a mistranslation of the word hamartia meaning ‘mistake’). One might also suggest that Oedipus’ pride is manifest in his identification of himself with Thebes, the city - and of the way he takes up the challenge of finding the murderer in order to secure his own kingship.