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Arrogance In Oedipus And The Sphinx

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The 1864 painting, “Oedipus and the Sphinx,” by Gustave Moreau, best captures Oedipus’s character because it displays his great arrogance. One of the most noticeable details that represents this is Oedipus’s position above the Sphinx in the painting, and that he is looking down at her. Oedipus looking down at the Sphinx is symbolic of how he feels that he is above all those around him, even this creature that has bested so many men. This detail in the painting reveals an arrogant way of thinking. Additionally, in Moreau’s depiction of Oedipus, he is shown leaning against a cliff with one leg bent in a relaxed pose. Oedipus is currently in a situation which should be perceived as very dangerous, as many men have already tried to solve the riddle of the Sphinx, and instead been eaten. …show more content…
It would seem that he is overly confident in himself and his ability to solve the riddle because of his pride and arrogance. In fact, in the play, Oedipus Rex, which is set years later, Oedipus is still boasting about solving the riddle, like when he says to a blind prophet, Teiresias, “Oedipus, the simple man who knows nothing - I thought it out for myself, no birds helped me!” (13). Here, Oedipus brags in order to remind everyone that he solved the riddle, and he brings up that he was just a “simple man” to highlight the impressiveness of the accomplishment. All the people in the room with him are aware of what he did, yet he still boasts. When he says “no birds helped me,” he is putting himself above Teiresias, who is a widely respected prophet, by implying that Teiresias is not as wise on his own as Oedipus is. In this same conversation, he brags that he has “wealth, power, craft of

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