Oedipus The King

624 Words3 Pages
Characterization is an essential literary element used in pieces of writing to develop themes and establish an overall understanding of the story. In the Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the author uses both indirect and direct characterization to impact the audience and allow them to comprehend Oedipus` tragic flaw and how this impacts his downfall. The characterization within Oedipus Rex helps to establish Oedipus as a tragic hero whose tragic flaw is powered by his truth seeking, excessive pride, and self-righteousness. Oedipus is characterized by Sophocles throughout the play as someone who is constantly wanting to seek the truth. This characterization is evident in Scene I as the author creates a heated dialogue between…show more content…
Indirect characterization is used through Oedipus’ dialogue to the Choragos, as he describes how utterly powerful he is and warns “those who fail me, may the gods deny them the fruit of the earth...and may they rot”(62). He is completely submerged in his pride and wealth that anyone who may accuse him as a murderer may have an unpleasant surprise by his order. This characterization not only brings suspicion of himself among the people of Thebes, but plays a role in his eventual downfall. Also, the reader, who understands the actions Oedipus has committed on the night of Laius’ murder, can say that he commits these sins in complete ignorance. However, he deserves punishment because he became so proud that he does not shy from attempting to rebel against his fate. This excessive hubris and denial of actions that Sophocles has included as an element of characterization creates the basis for his self-destruction towards the end of the play. Not only has Oedipus’ pride making him recognizable as a murderer, but it pushes away those who look out for him and attempt to prevent his downfall. Jocasta tries to beg Oedipus to ignore the Shepherd who knows the truth, but his pride forces her to give up when he explains himself as “a child of Luck” who “cannot be dishonored.”(58) His tragic flaw of pride results in him being blind
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