Oedipus Rex follows the clear nature of a tragedy, in that it encompasses the common conventions of a Greek Tragedy, with ones life being controlled by fate and the gods. The gods inflict ate on Oedipus which leads to serious characteristic flaws including hubris, and the tragedy ends with a nemesis worse than death. The tragic nature of the play and the themes are conveyed not only through these features, but also through the role of the chorus and dramatic techniques including irony. .
Oedipus is seen as a tragic hero in the play, a principal character, in a position of social importance being the King of Thebes. His downfall is the result of incidents beyond his control, and is rather the result of fate. In Oedipus Rex, it is not so much a hamartia that leads to his downfall, but more the role played by fate and destiny. His characteristic flaws of pride and arrogance don't so much contribute to his downfall, but play more the role of hastening it. .
From birth, a prophecy existed that he would kill his father and marry his mother, and so his downfall seems inevitable. When Oedipus discovers his parents are not who they seem to be and later discovers the prophecy, in a similar way to which Laius tried to manipulate fate by sending Oedipus away, Oedipus also tries to change his destiny, by leaving Corinth "At this I fled away, putting the stars between me and Corinth, never to see home again." Ironically it is when he I sleaving Corinth that he meets Laius and murders him. This reflects the beliefs of the ancient Greeks that changing fate was futile and fraught with danger, and this is further exposed by comments the chorus make towards the end "and let no man be called happy until the day he carries his happiness to the grave in peace." .
The role of fate and destiny, and the impact of the prophecy is further seen when the reward for the person who destroys the pestilence brought on by the riddling sphinx is Jocasta, Laius's wife and Oedipus's mothers, hand in marriage.