Last Updated 21 Jul 2021

Essay About Character Oedipus in Oedipus The King

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The Greeks believed that man can be portrayed with exaggerated fables that can be taught to people of all ages, young and old. One of these stories tells a tale of a tragic hero known as King Oedipus, he is well known for saving Thebes from a powerful Sphinx. Sophocles gives the reader a twisted, but a well-bound story of a man trying to outrun his own destiny, as a reader we see what can happen when you test fate and disrespect the 'Gods'.

Oedipus throughout his journey one thing is always repeated time and time again his arrogance and the fact he is an egoistic ruler. Thus, the overall hamartia demonstrated by King Oedipus is his self-absorbent nature, in which Sophocles provides the reader with the theme that when one concerns excessively with oneself; seeking to take advantage of the well-being of others for self-gain will only lose everything that is precious to them. King Oedipus' first interacting with Teiresias, foreshadows that Oedipus cannot take the truth and often blames others for his action, which creates more harm than good. A prime example is when he accuses Creon and Teiresias of trying to plot against him to take control of a falling kingdom, Oedipus says “I tell you I do believe you had a hand in plotting and all but daring this very act,” (KO 38). Many things can be clarified from this quote, but one that can stick with many is when Oedipus imputes Creon and Tiresias for plotted against him. For the reader, this can signify him blaming others, which is reoccurring throughout the story. As an audience, the reader is introduced to Oedipus’ stubbornness early in the book this also shows Oedipus’ pride and ignorance toward the truth. When this is said this the congregation follows the mood that is set after proclaiming this.

Throughout King Oedipus, his actions portray his distaste toward people belittling him, Oedipus says “By no means. I would have you dead, not banished,” (KO 43). With this passage, the reader analyzes that Oedipus is serious and in trying to resolve the problem as quickly as he can. Examining this section, Creon and Teiresias can get a good idea of how disillusioned Oedipus is. After the confrontation with Creon, Jocasta must come in to break up the tension in the room which if this had not happened the story could have turned out differently, As Jocasta comes, she says “What is the meaning of this loud argument, you quarrelsome men? I wonder you are not ashamed, in this time of distress to air your private troubles. Come in my husband; and Creon, you go home. You are making much of some unimportant grievance,” (KO 43). Thanks to this encounter the reader can conclude that the “in the most depressing manner, all that was worst in a ruthless society”. (Gale, Thomas Bernhard 137). is a quote which can convey this story if Creon and Teiresias were to really try to overthrow Oedipus they would have done so without him knowing, this also shows, that though a king, you still cannot jump to conclusions and when you find out the truth it will hit you the hardest. Oedipus lashes out at the people of Thebes, proclaiming that whoever is found to be poisoning Thebes will be exiled or killed, blinded by the fact he is accusing other rather than looking at himself or his past. With Oedipus, still residing in Thebes the corruption is spreading until it has wiped Thebes out of existence.

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Oedipus displayed his faulty character throughout the play by showing how he is filled with ill-temper and pride, but they knew Oedipus' action may lead to devastating effects by saying “He comes to find the answer (to his cost)” (KO 38). With this, the reader can interpret the events that lead to the fallout with his wife Queen Jocasta as the reader progresses through the book. As this characterizes King Oedipus as an insightful a self-sufficient King prone to getting himself into trouble. One other instance of someone telling King Oedipus that he was too full of himself is when Jocasta, finally understanding the urgency and disgust in the truth, of Oedipus being her actual son tries to intervene and get Oedipus to give up his quest to find the truth of his birth. After trying her best to stop him, shamed from the sins she has committed blurts her final word before ending her life saying, “Doomed man o never to learn the truth, this is my last words to you” (KO 55). As these chilling last words sink into the audience, the reader can finally interpret King Oedipus as prejudiced, ignorant, biased, uninterested by show the reader these characteristics throughout the book. No matter, Jocasta was unsuccessful from stopping King Oedipus by ending her life devastated from the still body and pool of blood unable to hold back his guilt grabs his dead mother/wife golden brooches and repeatedly stabs his eyes.

The Attendant witnessing this, informs the reader by saying, 'Her dress was pinned with golden brooches, which the king snatched out and thrust, from full arm's length, into his eyes/Henceforth seeing nothing but night... to his wild tune he pierced his eyeballs time and time again, till bloody tears ran down his eyeballs” (KO 61). This action is when Oedipus has realized his mistake and finds what he has sought only to find his mother/lover dead. Sometimes the truth is not worth searching. In retrospect, Oedipus’ demonstrates his hamartia of self-driven ethic, for the duration of the anecdote. You can imply a greater tragedy than the one inflicting Thebes. As the assemblage, we see Oedipus’ hubris even with his first interactions with Teiresias. Only Oedipus’ self-absorbent nature had brought the fall and corruption to Thebes.

Oedipus being the arrogant king he is, fails to acknowledge that no one, not even himself, can escape the prophecy set by the gods. Blinded he soon comes to his senses and understand that his physical sight was only blinding him from himself and was he was impaired he finally understands what he was lacking for so long. This goes along with the theme that when one concerns excessively with oneself; seeking to take advantage of the well-being of others for self-gain will only lose everything that is precious to them.

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