Each person will play a role in your life which could lead to a positive or a negative impact on your life. Oedipus Rex was written around 429 BCE by Sophocles and is the second play of the trilogy, The Three Theban Plays. This play consists of a prologue, parados as well as an exados and four acts and odes. The setting of the play takes place mostly in Thebes with side notes about previous pasts in other areas, like Corinth. Oedipus is the main character, who, in his best, tries to help the city of Thebes and reveal the killer of the King.
As the play progresses, he begins to realize that he is the man whom he seeks as the murder of the King, which is known to be his ultimate downfall. There are several different characters that influence Oedipus’s life as well as how he changes and who he becomes as the play progresses. Oedipus Rex downfall was caused by different characters that ultimately lead him to his fate in the end of the play. The drunken man, Jocasta, Tiresias, and Oedipus himself all caused him to his downfall and realization.
The first character that leads Oedipus to his downfall is the drunken man. Although there is not much information or discussion about the drunken man, he is the one character that starts Oedipus on a rage. Oedipus states: “Some man at a banquet who had drunk too much/ shouted out- he was far gone, mind you -/ that I am not my father’s son” (858-860). This accusation and statement causes trouble and confusion to Oedipus. One characteristic that stands out about Oedipus, is that he is relentless when it comes to accusations.
Oedipus even points out that the man was drunk and “far gone” but he refuses to let that stop him from pursuing more to make sure that the drunken man was not true. He believes the drunken man. If Oedipus would have been slower to anger, he may not have gone on the journey to seek out the truth. Oedipus later states: “.. but this thing kept gnawing at me/ the slander spread- Thad to make my move” (866-867). Oedipus says that the “slander spread” which means that many people knew of what had happened at the banquet and what words were spoken from the drunken man.
The drunken man plays more of a role in the play than it he is believed to. He is the character that causes a series of chain reactions to the downfall of Oedipus. Also, Jocasta during the time of the play affected Oedipus. Before Oedipus was even born, there was an oracle sent by Apollo to King Laius and Jocasta, and she recalls that moment saying: “An oracle came to Laius one fine day… / and it declared that doom would strike him down at the hands of a son,/ our son” (783-786). She goes on later to state that the baby had it’s ankles fastened and was left in the mountains.
At this point Oedipus tells his side of the story and details start to match up with her. Oedipus asks a series of questions to Jocasta about the murder but refuses to say anymore than she has to, but little does she know, Oedipus is beginning to realize more than he lets on. Oedipus states to Jocasta: “Listen to you? No More. I must know it all,7 must see the truth at last” (1171-1172). Oedipus knows that something is up and Jocasta refuses to say anything and acts as though she does not want Oedipus to learn the real truth that she had discovered.
Her refusal to say anything to Oedipus and tell him the truth causes him to spiral into a downfall. Another character that causes Oedipus to realize his fate is Tiresias. Oedipus is told about a blind prophet, Tiresias, who could be the ultimate person to reveal the truths of the murder of the king, Oedipus sends for him. When Tiresias arrives it is obvious that he is very knowledgeable. Right at the beginning Oedipus begins to question him and he is reluctant to respond to Oedipus. Oedipus gets under Tiresias skin, forcing truths out of him.
While infuriated Tiresias responds to Oedipus saying: “Listen to me closely: / the man you’ve sought so long, proclaiming, / cursing up and down, the murderer of Laius — /he is here. A stranger” (510-513). Oedipus is angered even further with this allegation made to him. This whole argument happens in front of the people which also is another humiliating factor. Tiresias reveals information that could lead to finding the murderer, and everything seems to be pointing at Oedipus. The last character that leads Oedipus to the downfall is himself. Oedipus lets himself get in the way.
He goes after several different characters throughout the play accusing them of murdering king the King. Oedipus character brings him to his downfall. He will not stop pursuing the truth until he knows the truth. He is given several warnings but neglects to listen to all of them. One warning comes from the Tiresias: “Just send me home. You bear your burdens, / I’ll bear mine. It’s better that way, / please believe me” (363-366) If Oedipus would not of let what people thought of him and his own pride get in the way he could have avoided own downfall leading to his ultimate fate.
To conclude, there were several different elements, factors, and events that caused Oedipus to his downfall as the leader of Thebes. These characters, the drunken man, Jocasta, Tiresias, and Oedipus himself, each in their own individual way caused Oedipus to his downfall and ultimately were the reasons he was the man that he was at the end of the play. Oedipus realizes how each character has impacted him when it is too late, because his fate and downfall had already come reality.