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Essay on Oedipus’s Downfall in Oedipus the King, by by Sophocles

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In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus’s downfall can be interpreted as brought about by his certainty of knowledge. The scholar Bernard Knox expresses that, “these attributes of divinity – knowledge, certainty, justice – are all qualities Oedipus thought he possessed – and that is why he was the perfect example of the inadequacy of human knowledge, certainty, and justice.” Oedipus is first held as the king of kings, and he believed himself to hold the knowledge he needed to act upon, yet this exact confidence led him to curse himself. Oedipus’s unending search for justice shows his commendable qualities, yet this becomes insufficient; as he found the truth, he found his ruin. Even the Messenger and the Herdsman see how Oedipus’s knowledge and certainty blind him from the truth. The attributes of knowledge, certainty, and justice, all of which Oedipus possessed, brought about his downfall by clouding the light of the truth.
As the sphinx plagues and terrors Thebes, Oedipus is held above men as a savior possessing the attributes of divinity. He too believed himself to be ...


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