September 29th, 2011
Overconfidence Killed the King
Many of the characters throughout Sophocles’ Oedipus the King face their ups and downs. Some characters lose the trust of the audience only to gain it afterwards. However many of the characters coincide in one thing, most of the mistakes that are committed throughout the story are caused by overconfidence from the characters. This seems to correlate with real life. Humans in their daily life make many mistakes that are attributed to ego and overconfidence.
Throughout the play, overconfidence is a factor that causes the downfall of many of the characters. When Creon arrives with news from the Oracle, Oedipus is very confident that it is better that the news are heard by everyone in Thebes. Oedipus doesn’t realize, however, that this action causes the beginning of his demise. Oedipus’s ego ...view middle of the document...
Mamassian’s study shows that although it may seem that overconfidence comes from ego and someone’s ability at something, it really comes from general decision-making.
Mamassian mentions that “overconfidence is believe to have dramatic consequences… in warfare.” (Mamassian, 601) Sophocles shows this to be true in his character Oedipus. Overconfidence was the factor that helped Oedipus defeat the sphinx, therefore gaining the throne of Thebes. It was overconfidence too that lead Oedipus to his downfall and making him lose everything that had and loved.
Overconfidence could be considered a double-edged sword. While it appears in the story that this is the cause of the downfall of some characters, it sometimes helps them in situations. When Tiresias goes to Oedipus to reveal who is the murderer, the Chorus does not believe right away that Tiresias is telling the truth. They prefer to wait until they are shown proof that what he says is true. Instead, they decide to believe and overconfident Oedipus. This part of the story is parallel to politics in real life. When politicians say something with a firm and confident voice, the audience is ready to believe what he says, sometimes without even questioning him. If it was a regular person who said whatever a politician said, it would be hard for people to agree with what was said.
Although confidence is a great thing that makes someone forget about his doubts, having a little too much can cause problems. For instance, many students have the same problem as Oedipus. A student may be overconfident when he has exams. He may believe that a test will be very easy and leave studying to the end. When the test day comes, however, the student ends up getting a bad grade. Being overconfident about the situation makes one think that the task is not worth taking time on and will require a minimal effort.