The Oedipus Tragedy

July 14, 2019 by Essay Writer

Sophocles’ epic poem, Oedipus the King, is a classic elegy that explores how irony can affect ones life and how “fate works more closely” then one would expect. It is due to this that many argue over how to react to the character of “King Oedipus, the sovereign of” Thebes (13). Though at times arrogant and overly assertive, one must look more closely at the life of Oedipus. He is a man whose leadership demanded such qualities to overcome the Sphinx and other challenges along his road to becoming king. From this we must become sympathetic, and understand how a man so determined and admirable to do good for his people, could possibly have the same qualities as an arrogant person.A man running from a prophesy of his fate, the story opens with Oedipus king of the Thebes with a population dying of a plague. Wanting to help his people, Oedipus opens his heart to his public saying, “Here I am myself-/you all know me, the world knows my fame:/I am Oedipus” (lines 7-9). By declaring this, he is declaring that he is on the problem of city, deliberating what to do. When asked by the old priest what Oedipus plans to do, Oedipus quickly replies that “after a painful search [he] found one cure:/[he] acted at once. [He] sent Creon,/[his] wife’s brother, to Delphi-/Apollo the Prophet’s oracle – to learn/what [he] must do or say to save [the] city” (lines 80-84). Such decisiveness showed how much Oedipus cared for his people and what bothered them. He later said that the plague “torments” him and that the city “now have [him] to fight” for them (lines 86+153).This determination to solve the problems of his people and help them is shown throughout the poem. Even after Jocasta, his wife, urged him to just let it past as it always did and to forget about the curses he brought down on himself, he could not. He defies his wife when he declares, “What-give up nowŠ?/Fail to solve the mystery of my birth? Not for all the world!” (lines 1160-1162). Though unwavering, he has good reason. By solving out his birth, he might possibly solve the riddle from Apollo and thus find out who is the real killer. Doing this he would save his people and his kingdom.However, as Oedipus continued in his admirable quest, he became impious to the Gods thinking that he could out run their prophecy. Probing deeper into his past he realized that he was the actual killer, something that he could not believe. It was after seeing his wife (who was his mother) kill herself that Oedipus understood how everything connected. Crying, Oedipus screamed with disgruntlement, “You,/you’ll see no more pain I suffered, all the pain I caused!/Too long you looked on the ones you never should of seen, blind to the ones you longed to see, to know! Blind/from this hour on!” (lines 1405-1409). With that, the now humble Oedipus gouged out his eyes and became blind. Even the mocking chorus leader felt pity for him, as he said “Oh poor man, the misery-/has he any rest from pain now?” (lines 1422-1423).The anguish of the pitiful Oedipus continued into the end of the poem as Creon, the one that Oedipus accused of treason, wreck more havoc into the gloomy life of Oedipus. Creon now in power, toys with the once proud Oedipus and his final wishes. Oedipus, lowering himself, pleading with Creon says, “I command you-I beg youŠ” (line 1583). Creon wishing to exploit his power, teases Oedipus by letting him see his children again, making him think they will go with him. It is only after this that Creon strips them away saying, “Still the king, the master of all things?/No more: here your power ends./None of your power follows you through life” (lines 1675-1677). Just another example of how Oedipus was manipulated by the Gods and forced into a life of misery.It was such distress of Oedipus that one must see. “He solved the famous riddle with his brilliance,/he rose to power, a man beyond all power” (lines 1678-1679). A man that each and every citizen of Thebes looked to for the answers, and he eventually gave them all, sacrificing himself in the end for the greater good of his people. A people that was no longer gratified by him said themselves, “Now as we keep our watch and wait the final day,/count no mane happy until [Oedipus] dies, free of pain at last” (lines 1683-1684). A leader of a greedy people for which he gave everything and even that was not enough.

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