Oedipus The King Oedipus the King: Appetite for Destruction Of all the tragedies that Greek playwright Sophocles created in his illustrious career, the one that stands out as his masterpiece, and quite possibly one of the greatest of all the Greek tragedies is Oedipus the King. The tragedy focuses on the life and downfall of the unfortunate King Oedipus, who was condemned by the oracle at an early age to murder his father and marry his mother. Despite the oracles grim prediction, Oedipus was responsible for his own downfall due to his overly proud and impetuous attitude, and his own intellect and diligence. In the polis of Thebes, Oedipus was the not only the king but he was also the hero of the community. The security and health of the community depended on him and he was expected to meet every urgent crisis with a plausible solution. He was celebrated for acting decisively and making decisions and then acting on them.
With all his past accomplishments and achievements, Oedipus developed a strong sense of confidence, which fueled his over inflated ego. Unfortunately, when circumstances did not turn out in his favor, such as in his conflict with Tiresias the blind prophet, Oedipus became rigid and refused to see the problem on any one elses terms except his own. Oedipus only wanted things to go the way he thought they should go. Whatever stood in his way he tried to overcome publicly and without any compromise from the opposing party, which was illustrated in his argument in front of the palace with Creon over the murder of the former King Laius. Ultimately his attitude of confidence with no compromises contributed to his disastrous and sad end. In most cases, intelligence and diligence are valuable traits to possess, but for Oedipus they contributed to his eventual downfall.
Oedipus was known for being extremely intelligent and was very talented at solving riddles. To earn the right to be King of Thebes, Oedipus solved a riddle, which as a result removed a plague from the land. In the play, Oedipus is again faced with another plague in his kingdom and this time the riddle was to discover who murdered King Laius. Using his intelligence, he again solves the riddle, but tragically for Oedipus he discovers that he is the murderer and he ultimately has to punish himself for the crime. Throughout his search all the people around him were urging him to use caution in his search, and even his wife Jocasta ordered him to abandon his quest, citing that the oracle was mistaken and was a hoax. Tragically, Oedipus would not compromise and he continued his search until finally his diligence in his quest led to his downfall. Oedipus was a confident and intelligent king who worked hard for the people and would stop at nothing to save his beloved Thebes and the people who resided there. Ironically, it was those respectable traits that ultimately contributed to Oedipus bringing his downfall upon himself.