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Latisha Chateman Professor: Dr. Lancaster ENG230 11/25/2010 Oedipus the King Character Analysis Oedipus the King had accomplished many great things during his reign of Thebes and in his life time. Oedipus found out during his reign in Thebes that the Gods who loved him also knew his devastating fate. As a young man when Oedipus answered the riddle the Sphinx he soon found his self having everything want and need. He earned his spot as the new King of Thebes, he had a great wife and lovely set of children and last but not least a widely known name and fame that traveled way throughout the lands.
Oedipus life was wonderful until the plague hit Thebes and there forth the cookie crumbled. “The point of many of our tragedies seems to be that, since the character cannot escape his or her fate, that each of us, given a set of circumstances, would do the same thing. ”( Jon Blackstock ) I believed should have sympathy because were many pieces in the story that he did not know but his character of anger, overreacting, teasing Tiresias, and fate is what brought Oedipus down to an ugly fate. Oedipus themes and ideas of irony and fate happened over and over numerous times throughout the play.
He believed in fate like the entire Greeks society does but he mostly believes in his own capital ability and action to seek out and determination of his future. Irony can have so many forms it is evident that irony is situational, verbal and dramatic. In the story of Oedipus on relies on really himself because he believes in his own mind first to support his decision of wisdom making were made by his analyzed thoughts. Sophocles was always a very strong believer of destiny, but in the story of Oedipus the King he had different alternatives.
In Oedipus, Sophocles made Oedipus believe in himself more than which he proves many times throughout the play. In Thebes the priest go to Oedipus to see about stopping the plague that is killing and destroying Thebes. When the priest go to Oedipus for knowledge, since Oedipus solved the Sphinx riddle years ago before he took the title as King. As the story Introduces Oedipus he is very calm trying to find out who killed the previous King of Thebes which was Laius who we know as readers is Oedipus father. “What we see instead of desires to kill one’s father and marry ne’s mother are the twin facts of killing and marrying. Desire may or may not be there, but the deeds were done. Killing one’s father, the head of the oikos, is a most serious crime in Athens. ” (N. S. Gill) Being the reader we are already familiar about the man who did really great things. Oedipus finds out from Creon who is his brother in law that he sent to Delphi for information, that Apollo was the God who put the plague the Thebes until they “Drives the corruption frame the land, don’t harbor it any longer, past all cure, don’t nurse it in your soil-root it out! -( Oedipus The King pg:576, line: 107-111)Oedipus says this as an oath before the chorus and the priest that the murder would be found and banished from the land. During this is one of the time you can really feel Oedipus anger rising. Oedipus decline from his status is not really an accident but a fate he could not really prevent. This is why I believe Oedipus deserved sympathy. Oedipus has a lot of character traits like anger, haste and truthfulness are really shown during his down fall as a man who knows nothing but later realizes he is the cause of the plague on Thebes by the end of the play.
While the onion layer of the harmartia start to unfold Oedipus anger to really come full force and start to call everybody to palace to discover the truth. Sophocles in generally express concern through protagonist in Oedipus the King. Oedipus anger and arrogance leads him to a lot of red flag and more. Which cause dissatisfaction in all men such as Creon in the chorus. In the begging Oedipus tries to pin Creon as his enemy and for trying to devise a plan to overthrow Oedipus thrown.
He tries to demand for his right hand official Creon to be killed as you can see this is where Oedipus judgment is really clouded. You can also really can see the emotional response of a lot of dissatisfaction as the result of anger that shows his inability to be patient, listen, or reason. Tiresias had many roles in the Oedipus play. He was like a father figure , wise old man, and a oracle in the Greek tragedies. Tiresias is the oracle that reveals the truth to Laius and Oedipus. “Tiresias also acts as a foil to Oedipus, revealing characteristics about him that we would not see otherwise by (Uthinker).
In they play Tiresias serve like a father fiquere to Oedipus. But Oedipus being so overreacting shows a lot of hostility towards him and ofcoarse accused him like he did Creon for being a traitor and being influenced by Creon and also teasing and making fun of his blind vision. Oedipus should have never showed animosity towards Tiresias who was the truth oracle and also a person in authoritative position. Tiresias was a truth blind prophet who saw into the future from the divination from the Gods.
Oedipus teasing Tiresias for being blind and when he does this cause a serious downfall and truth comes out spiraling out of control. “And Oedipus’ jealousy towards Tiresias serves as a reminder that Oedipus is not the king that he pretends to be. He is merely a child in an adult’s body. He has never grown up and cannot possibly hope to keep the title of king. (Uthinker)” When Tiresias tries Oedipus patients Oedipus tease him about being blind. Tiresias tells Oedipus that he can see quite clearly but Oedipus is the one who is very much blinded about the truth of his own life situation.
An Tiresias was right when Oedipus finally accepted the truth he ended up stabbing his own eyes out some say that maybe blinding his own self Oedipus thought it will gain him wisdom of foretelling the future sight that Tiresias had. To conclude Oedipus dopes deserve sympathy because were many pieces in the story that he did not know but his character of anger, overreacting, teasing Tiresias, and fate is what brought Oedipus down to an ugly fate. His anger and arrogance was the big red flag that made Oedipus go spiraling downhill. For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. ”(Ralph Waldo Emerson) I strongly believe in this quote because in a matter of hours Oedipus lost everything he dearly loved. His throne, wife, sight, and all he had left was his children but he had to leave and go off to banishment. If Oedipus what have just listened to the truth his life would have not been so bad he could keep his family and took over another kingdom but as you can see when you are overreacting everything goes for the worse.
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Work Cited Blackstock, Jon. “Oedipus the King . ” Suite 101. Suite 101, 09/16/1999. Web. 25 Nov 2010. ;http://www. suite101. com/article. cfm/teaching_theatre/25730 Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Quotation. ” Think Exist. N. p. , 1853. Web. 25 Nov 2010. ;http://thinkexist. com/quotation/for_every_minute_you_are_angry_you_lose_sixty/14504. html The Norton Anthlogy:World Literature-Oedipus The King. 2nd. First. New York: W. W. Norton ; Company, 2009. 576. Print.
Author: Eva Dockery
Oedipus the King Character Analysis
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Oedipus, in Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex, is by definition, a tragic hero. King Laios of Thebes was given a prophecy from the oracle that he would be murdered by his son’s hand, and that his son would marry his wife, Queen Iocaste. When Oedipus was born, King Laios had him taken to Mt. Cithaeron to die, however, the servant who was instructed to take him to the mountain felt pity for the baby and turned him over to a shepherd from Corinth. Once in Corinth, he was raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope, and the prophecy slowly became a reality. Oedipus grew up, believing that he was indeed the son of Polybus and Merope, when a drunken man informed him that he was not his father’s son.
In search of the truth, he went to the shrine at Delphi, where he was told of the same prophecy his birth parents already knew, and fled to Thebes, believing the prophecy pertained to King Polybus and Queen Merope. In going to Thebes, he finds that King Laios was murdered in the same area that he had recently murdered a man in. He tells Iocasta of this event, exclaiming that he had “killed him. [He] killed them all.” (Scene II, ll. 288-289) His curiosity gets the best of him, and he orders – as the new king of Thebes – that the people find out who murdered Laios, and that they report it to him immediately.
When a messenger brings the shepherd to the palace, he is told that he was Laios’ son. Oedipus realizes that he has killed his own father, saying, “Ah God! It was true! All the prophecies!” (Scene IV, ll. 68-70) Iocaste is horrified by this, and flees to her room, where she is later found “hanging, her body swaying from the cruel cord she had noosed about her neck.” (Exodus, II. 38-39) Oedipus finds her lifeless body, and breaks down, completely hysterical, “[striking] his eyes – not once, but many times.” (Exodus, l. 52)
His entire lifespan is completely full of tragedy. His nobility, his curiosity, his bad choices, the realization of a foretold prophecy coming to life, the death of Iocaste, and the blinding by his own hand, all contribute to the theory of him being a tragic hero. He was born the son of a king, and lived his life king of both Corinth and Thebes – responsible for the people of his land. His curiosity is his biggest flaw, because he can’t leave well enough alone, and goes to great lengths to find out the truth.
His choice to kill the man on the road instead of just letting the confrontation go decided his fate. Realizing that he’s murdered Laios even though he’d tried so hard to prevent the prophecy from becoming a reality was unbearable. Finding Iocasta dead in her room by her own hand was his suffering. Finally, gouging out his own eyes in a hysterical attempt to punish himself was a punishment far beyond the crimes he had committed. These factors alone do not define a tragic hero, but when brought together the way they do in Sophocles’ play, they make Oedipus a tragic hero.