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The Fate of Oedipus

Was Oedipus brought down by fate or a tragic flaw on his part?

Tragic characters, particularly protagonists, are known to have a tragic flaw. Oedipus? tragic flaw is a major subject of scrutiny, but more on that later. Was Oedipus downfall casued by his supposed tragic flaw? Was it fate? Or was it punishment for his actions to his parents?

As I said there are many alternate theories to Oedipus? tragic flaw. Here?s one ?Oedipus? tragic flaw is his special ablility to solve riddles, his detective ability; or one might say his interlect. This theory, stated by David Ilman is possible, Tieresias did say to Oedipus that his trait for riddle solving was his ?great misfortune and ruin?, and as aforesaid, if Oedipus didn?t solve the riddle none of this would have happened.

Here is another theory; LThe flaw, or the crak in Oedipus? character is nothing, and need be nothing, but his inherent willingness to remain passive in the face of what he concieves to be a challenge to his dignity, his image of his rightful status. Only the passive, only those who accept their lots without active retaliation are ?flawless?? This statement by Arhur Miller should be considered. Was Oedipus ?inherent unwillingness?, or rather his stubborness and ignorance what really casue his fate? This is hightly likely as when Tieresias tells him what is to come he refuses to listen and thinks his own theories are correct.

But one thing we can be sure of by this quote is that Oedipus does consider the murder of Laius ?a challenge to his dignity?: ?The killer of Laius, whoever he may be, may think to turn his hand against me. Thus serving Laius, I serve myself.? Lines 140-2

Another alternate theory is by Alfred Walting: ?Oedipus, too complacent in his prosperity, too confident in his sufficeny, too ready to take offence or to impute blame when ?rattle? by the apporach of trouble; Oedipus, unshirking in the performance of a self-appointed unpleasant task, unflinching in the quest for truth at whatever cost of self-revelation; Oedipus, driven to the summit of passion by agony of body and soul, and returning at the last to humility and self-resignation.? Walting states that Oedipus brought his fate upon himself by a combination of pride, ignorance and determination. All of this would be very true is if wasn?t for the fact that Tieresias states it as an act of fate.

Walting again says: ?Oedipus?s problem were not caused by fate, but by his pride? Oedipus? prode is a major flaw in his character and it would have casued hi down fall if it weren?t for this line by Tieresias: ?What will be, will be, though I should never speak again? Line 342

How Oedipus followed his fate through and his tragic flaw are really for the reader to decide for themselves. It should be taken into account that the Greeks beleived fate rule everything, not character or tragic flaw, and the gods brought justice and injustice upon them. However, this can be altenately view in the way of a tragedy, where the hero makes a mistake that casues his downfall.

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