Study Guide

Oedipus the King Determination

By Sophocles


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If at first you don't succeed—try, try again. Or, in Oedipus' case: If at first you don't succeed—try, try again, try even when people are telling you not to try, and then stab your eyes out.

Determination is one of Oedipus' and his mother's primary character traits. Despite the important role of fate in the lives of the characters, Oedipus and Jocasta are all driven, at times stubbornly, to pursue their goals. Determination in Oedipus the King is linked to hubris and proves less an asset than a flaw to the characters who possess it.

Questions About Determination

  1. To what extent is determination an asset to characters in the Oedipus the King?
  2. Is determination a hindrance in the play?
  3. What, if any, correlation exists between determination and self-deception the play?

Chew on This

Determination to seek, to know, and to pursue principle is depicted as tantamount to self-injury Oedipus the King.