Oedipus the King is often regarded as one of the best tragedies of Ancient Greece. As Cunningham and Reich (2010) mention “Oedipus the King has stood over since classical times as a symbol of Greek tragic drama”. (p. 61) There is a good reason for that as this tragedy is prominent not only due to the skillfully constructed plot and but due to the bright personality of the main character as well.
Oedipus is a brave man and a good warrior. At the beginning of the story he is a king of Thebes and feels rather proud of himself and satisfied with his situation in life. Indeed, despite he is still quite young he has already achieved a lot and all due to his own bravery and cleverness. He has freed the town of Thebes from a Sphinx, has become its king and is beloved by his people. He personally refers to himself as ”I Oedipus, your world-renowned king” (p.1).
However along with bravery he possesses such traits of character as irascibility and pride – features, which are usually not considered to be faults for a man and especially for a king but which turned out to be crucial for him when it came to fulfilling a prophesy. Instead of thinking before doing he immediately attacked the stranger who offended him, not even supposing that it might have been his father. He remembers that accident like that: “Jostled by the charioteer in wrath I struck him” (p.22)
Despite rashness which he possesses to a certain degree, Oedipus is a worthy man with high moral values. He courageously tried to avoid doing awful deeds that he had been destined by fate. His having blinded himself was a kind of protest, his own decision, a tragic event in his life which oracle in Delphi had not foreseen. He did not lost his morals and his spirit even after all the grim tragedies that had happened to him, deciding to live his city with words: “Never let my Thebes, the city of my sires, be doomed to bear the burden of my presence while I live”. (p. 38)
Cunningham, L. S., Reich, J. (2010) Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities. Boston,
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. The Internet Classic Archive. Retrieved from