Oedipus’ determination, in this case, to rule, can be seen as one of the main reasons for his downfall. In the story, The Sphinx presented the following riddle for those who sought to rule Thebes: 'What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest?' (page, line #). Oedipus answered 'Man', the precise answer to which won him the crown (page, line #). Socrates used the riddle as a metaphor for Oedipus’ life. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus, where he as any child of man would crawl on hands and knees or all “four feet” as The Sphinx had said when a man is the weakest would be as a small child. Depending entirely on others for all their human needs. Just as how he was taken by his parents to the mountain and spared by the shepherd when he was the most venerable his will to live or die was entirely decided by others. As a man grows older and matures, he walks on two feet. This is a metaphor for when Oedipus leaves his family to escape his prophecy. In a rage, he murders a band of travelers and has unintentionally killed his birth father. Oedipus answers the riddle of The Sphinx and in turn, then becomes king of Thebes. This is why he marries his own mother because he unknowingly is given her as a prize of becoming king. Years after their marriage, and four childbirths, the plague sweeps through Thebes’ inhabitants. The Gods tell Oedipus he must locate the killer of Laius, his father. Being the determined man Oedipus is, he finally learns the wretched truth that he was his very own father’s murderer. After learning this certainty, Jocasta, his mother-wife hangs herself in disgust that she had delivered the children of her own son. Seeing this horrible truth leads Oedipus to gouge out
his own two eyes. He will have to bear a walking cane in order to see his surroundings for the rest of his life. This is referring to the three feet that the prophecy states man walks with at the end of his life.
Oedipus used his intelligence as well as his determination in order to decode the riddle of the Sphinx. The majority of intelligent Many of the brightest men of Thebes were killed in their attempts to answer the riddle, however, Oedipus proved to be elite in his intellect compared to theirs. By using this same intelligence and determination Oedipus finds out the truth about the murder of Laius. He never ceases to dormant his search, even with a warning from Jocasta. He invokes the help of the Shepard and incessantly questions him until he is given the unsatisfying truth that he himself is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately another one of his fatal flaws. Also, if Oedipus had not been as courageous or brave, he would have never set out to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Assuming, even if he had murdered his own father, he would have never become the king of Thebes never marrying his own mother. Oppositely, if Oedipus did have the bravery to attempt but lacked the intelligence to answer the Sphinx, he would have been killed for an incorrect answer anyway. This was how Sophocles so complexly characterized Oedipus as a tragedy. He discovered his fate not because of evil traits or doings but by having admirable characteristics. Sophocles used this to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. “Quote from the play”
Oedipus's traits that acquired his wealth and power inevitably led to his tragic ending. In addition, Apollo, the God prophecy did not fate Oedipus to murder his father and marry his
mother. Nor did he destine it to be prophesized by the oracle, he merely stated knowing it was inescapable because of who Oedipus was and the character he possessed by his own will. Oedipus' determination in search for knowledge lead him to the finding that he was not a 'child of luck,' but a 'man of misfortune.' His fate had been determined years before he was born, as stated and then proven by the prophecy given by the oracle. There was no changing his destiny and all that was left for him was to live out his fate as it had been stated, yet he did so with dignity as he unknowingly proceeded to do the opposite of what he was trying to escape from. Oedipus showed pronounced bravery and virtue even in pity and fear. “Quote from the play”
In the end, Oedipus used his outstanding character traits of bravery, intelligence, and determination to pursue the horrible truth to a conclusion. Having blinded himself, Oedipus was a weak and sorrowful man. However, he was also a symbol of how people mirror, as history goes to show. He has proven what it means to persevere living even in defeat. He has shown what it takes to survive in a world that is ruled by unpredictable and predetermined destiny. This is meant to instill the true meaning of suffering and despair. “Aristotle “Pity and Fear” “On tragic character” When Oedipus comes to mind, people are meant to remember that he suffered in order for others to learn. To show that everyone can know the truth about themselves and what may lie in their future, but the world will always remain unpredictable and cruel.