The Making of a King

Assignment: Oedipus The King by Sophocles

Excerpt from 1957 Version of Oedipus Rex

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9sEzR1Abuc]

Oedipus Rex directed by Julie Taymor

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfb2iS4kapU]

19 thoughts on “January 15

  1. Cultural Survey Week 2 Response
    Oedipus Rex

    Oedipus- a story of a young man who fulfils his destiny to murder his father and subsequently wed and bed his mother, is one who’s overall premise has been referenced and parodied countless times since it was written around 430 BC. So, although this tale has been around for multiple millennia, in the year 2013, when someone hears about a story of a queen committing incest and family members killing one another, they’re more likely to think Game of Thrones than Oedipus the King.
    **spoiler alert**
    If you do not wish to have the above television program, Game of Thrones, ruined for you, stop reading this post right now.
    Thank you.
    In the story of Oedipus, our protagonist fears for his own fate- as a prophesy claims that he will one day murder his father, and marry his own mother. However, upon the death of Polybus, the man Oedipus believed to be his father, passes away of natural causes, making Oedipus believe he his safe from what he believed to be his fate.
    In the book serious Songs of Ice and Fire, which Game of Throne’s is based on, in the fourth book, you read of how a toad-faced woman read Cersei Lannister her future as a young girl- telling her that she would one day marry the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Delighted, the young future queen asked how many children they would have. The sorceress shook her head, informing Cersei the two would not conceive any children together, however she would still have 3 children, and the King something like 15. We know, having a good idea of the Queen and her now deceased husband, that she bore 3 of her twin brothers children, while Robert Beratheon bedded innumerable whores inside the fictitious Kings Landing and beyond, and the idea of him impregnating a handful of them or so is not horribly shocking.
    The prophecy went on to say that her rule would not last forever, as her grasp on the throne would soon be compromised by another Queen, younger and far more beautiful, and with a better claim to the throne. Cersei grows increasingly paranoid of the young girl Margery, who’s so far managed to be married to 3 individuals claiming themselves as King, while she apparently remaining a maiden. However, when Cersei convinces the high septon that Margery in fact committed incest with her brother forsaking the name of her husband, the King. Cersei thinks she has outsmarted the ugly old woman as well as her prophecy, however as you the reader are aware the whole time, Cersei is dismissing the
    Beggar Queen across the sea- who at that very moment was mustering up an army to reclaim her birthright- the Iron Throne of Westeros. Noted everywhere she goes for her cunning and radiance, Danerys Stormborn Targareon is never far from her three dragons. Although Robert Baratheon sack on Kings Landing resulted in the death of Aegon Targaryen, Daenerys father, and her subsequent exile. However the world of prophecies seems to be far nicer to the young queen with golden hair, As it was foretold that Daenerys would be the mother of the Stallion to mount the World. Although the stories of Sophocles and George RR Martin are not one in the same, it would seem these tales of incest and murder would share the overall theme that you cannot escape your fate, and like how Oedipus was destined to engage in adultery with his own mother, I believe Cersei is likely to meet a rude awakening by the Targaryen Queen.

  2. Oedipus becomes a prime commentary of humanity’s desperation to obtain a sense of control over life itself. From the moment we are born, we are trained and conditioned to make decisions, choose between the options, thus creating “a plan.” However, Oedipus reveals the flaw of man’s vanity in thinking humanity can ultimately control the sequence of events that occur. Fate becomes an inescapable means in which attempting to outsmart destiny becomes blasphemy and only ensues that fate.
    The characters throughout this play seek to escape the prophecy to come, and in doing so, struggle beneath the clutches of that inability. However, in time, it becomes apparent that the only true means of outsmarting the prophecies is through death. The characters that die throughout this play almost all die from suicide or through a self-inflicted means.
    Oedipus the King truly illuminates the fatal flaw of mankind: hubris. Man’s vanity becomes apparent through our attempts to manipulate our fate. We, as flawed human beings are unable to accept the harsh reality of truth, and constantly hide from a world in which we cannot escape.
    However, although seemingly pessimistic and incredibly dark, this play reveals a sense of hope and optimism for the remainder of humanity. Oedipus, in his unfortunate circumstance becomes a figure of realization and enlightenment. Because of the horrible events throughout his life, the audience feels a sense of compassion and gains the ability to feel better about their circumstance, because after all, they did not kill their own father, and sleep with their mother.

  3. This is my 4th time reading Oedipus the king, I stopped reading everything entirely around the third time. But as I’ve always realized that symbolism and imagery are crucial elements with in the story, For an example Sophocles certainly wasn’t hiding the motif of sight v.s blindness If you’ve got way too much time to kill go through the reading and highlight words like “See” “Sight” and “blind” and since its used as a motif for knowledge you can throw “truth” “oracle” and “apollo” in there too.
    Though this motif of seeing and not seeing is consistent throughout the beginning of the reading, it first becomes crystal clear when the prophet Teiresias enters the story. Oh the irony, Teiresias is blind, but he can see clearly into the wretched horror that is held in Oedipus’s past, present, and future. and would you look at that Oedipus’s eyes work just fine, but unfortunately he’s completely blind to what life holds in store for him.

  4. Sarah Scafidi

    I heard this joke in my Genetics class so I thought this would be fun to add here.
    A teacher tells a parent to have their child examined by a psychologist.
    The psychologist checked out the boy and speaks with the parent alone, “Your son is okay but he has a bit of an Oedipus complex”
    The mother replies, “I don’t care what he has as long as he loves his mom!”

    This play has been done so many times and still the idea is still fresh in the minds of many. There are many morals and ideas in this play that keeps it running. A few of them would be hubris and fate. Fate is something that one can;t go against or at least that is what many believe. It appears the more one is trying to stray from their destiny, the misfortune slips into their path. Oedipus believes he is the closest to the gods or even better then them. His ego blinds him to the truth before him that he has been in the same bed as his own mother. Could one blame him? Do we dam everyone would have something like this to them?

    I found it interested that he ended up blinding himself because Oedipus was already blind from the beginning when he slept with his own mother.

    All kings and queens have a flaw with them. King Henry the 8th had his inability to produce a male heir, King George the the 6th with his stammer, Louis the Sun king with his vanity. For Oedipus was his own ego, he was the king therefore anyone speaking against his will was inferior. He didn’t listen to others would have a gift, the seer that he didn’t have. He thought of himself having the only idea of what is wrong.

  5. This play is a story I have read many times over the past years. And no matter how much I read it, I can still walk way with something. Being a tale about fate, we all know things happen for a reason. May they be known or not, the events we go through push us towards our “fate”. In Oedipus’ case, his parents feared for what was to come. They believed that they could change the events that were casted onto them by throwing their child away. But as the Oracle has stated there was no way to change the outcome that was to fall over them. It is only natural for humans to fear the unknown.
    When Oedipus is taken in, and becomes Prince, and unknowingly crosses his father on a path, he slays his father and his party. Continuing on to Thebes solves the Sphinx’s riddle and saves the city. Little does anyone know that he was the son of the their queen.
    He has great capabilities in being king, Though he may prove himself to be several steps ahead of his people and cares for them deeply, the act of his rash nature is memory to his father’s death.
    Just like his parents, refuses to believe the oracles and their prophecies. This causes problems among him and his family. Crushed after hearing how is father died, him and his mother now know that their fates have come true, they take it upon themselves to harm their bodies in turn of the news. Such events tore apart his family. Oedipus knows that his actions no longer allow him to lead and he has no ability to.
    With the current state of society, Oedipus was well aware that in his current state he would be unable to help his daughters, thus entrusting Creon to take care of them. But even so, they too felt the pressures under him.

  6. Camille Chan

    Oedipus gives humanity the greatest gift of all, the gift of redemption. By committing the most horrible crimes Oedipus has exempted us of all culpability. It speaks to our innermost guilt and our desire to find someone who is worst. The odds of any one person taking both these actions, murdering one parent and sleeping with the other, are very slim, so there’s little chance of being more condemned.

    Oedipus Rex also redeems the population in another way. It is the perfect example of the gods’ hand in human affairs and the lack of choice or alternative. Since there is no individual will, no one can really hold himself or herself responsible for whatever pain or ills they inflicted upon others. All that happens is the will of the gods.

    I imagine that this play was a real people-pleaser in its time. Having never read the play, but knowing the basics of the story, I imagined the audience yelling at the actors, telling Oedipus of his folly. Although it is tragic and I felt sympathy for Oedipus, who knew nothing of his crimes, I can imagine many in the audience feeling just a bit better about their lives and leaving with a lighter heart.

    In the end, Oedipus plays the role of savior. He saved Thebes twice, first from Sphinx and then from himself, speaking to the ideal of what a ruler should have been; one who strives for the welfare of his people, even at the cost of his place on the throne.

  7. Although I was familiar with the story of Oedipus Rex, I had never actually sat down and read the play. The basic themes of the story however, were made much more clear to me through reading the play. It is easy to see that one such theme is ‘truth’. While questioning Tiresias, It is sad to see, that although Oedipus trusts that the prophet knows who killed Laius, he does not trust his judgement as to not say who has done it. Oedipus himself calls Tiresias the “Master of all the mysteries of our life”, but in his blind rage and determination to get to the root of the problem, he proves that this is pure flattery. As Tiresias dances around the answers to Oedipus’ questions, he tries with all his might to shield the king from the ‘inconvenient truth’. As soon as Oedipus pries it out of him however, the king’s mood changes (just as Tiresias had feared). Suddenly, his trusted prophet is a lying traitor. Oedipus, like any normal person who does not want to accept the truth, blames Creon, he blames Tiresias, anyone he can find. This quest for truth continues through the play, as Oedipus sets off to prove to himself that he is not the monster he was told.

    Kings and queens of the past and present are constantly tricked and have little reason to trust in the people around them. In this respect, it is reasonable that Oedipus was so determined to find the traitors in his kingdom (not only to keep it safe, but to keep his own conscience clean).
    Just a little while ago, a radio group called into the hospital that Kate Middleton was staying at for morning sickness. The radio hosts pretended to be the Queen and succeeded in getting onto the phone with Kate’s head nurse. This silly joke soon turned tragedy, when the nurse who put the hosts through to the head nurse killed herself.

    I am not a believer in fate, but one does not have to be in order to understand the themes of ‘Oedipus the King’. Themes like truth, pride, power, and other such aspects of human nature that entwine themselves into this story.

  8. I remember reading Oedipus in my sophomore year in high school and thought how ridiculous and “crazy” this story was from long ago because of the whole “killing your father and marrying your mother”. But now I realized how meaningful and how much of a tragedy this story really is. Not to mention, its themes which may resonate with the people of modern day.

    So many people including myself have questioned the word and the meaning of “fate”. And with Oedipus hearing upon what the future had for him, decided that he didn’t want that can decided to change it for him. But for Oedipus, he by consciously thinking of not wanting to fall into the loop of his fate – ended up following it. And that made me wonder: people often mention how one can determine their own fate; no one else can do it. But if that is the case, then if we try to prevent those things from happening, would we also end up like Oedipus and end up running into it despite all the time and effort spent to not end up like that? It’s interesting…

    Also when Oedipus felt like all of his hard work in doing what he’s been doing for himself and his people perhaps resonates with those who were just like him and did spend all this time, effort, maybe money, and conflicts just to end up where they didn’t want to end up in the first place. It can be a frustrating feeling and I feel that is one of the frustrating aspects about “fate” or wanting to change it.

  9. Oedipus has a disturbing story with a lot of cynical messages, apparently you cant change your fate, and the people that cling to you for greatness will turn on you in your darkest hour. i don’t believe in any kind of fate, only cause and effect but suspending my beliefs for a moment, i feel it’s possible it was more Oedipus’s fault than his fate. he has the uncontrollable rage that all Greek “heros” seem to have, he attacks his father and their companions and murders them all. a bit excessive i feel, as for his mother, i cant say i know how old she was when she gave birth to him, but i would just steer clear of any woman that reaches 14 to 15 years older than me. after all he is a king and he could have any woman he wants,he should stick to peoples daughters not their mothers. still though because i feel Oedipus had a little more control than most dosent mean i don’t pity or relate with him. everyone’s had something they could have avoided if they bothered to use their head, but we walk into these pit falls anyway and no matter if you see it coming or not, the fall is still Agony.

  10. All i could really think about was how strangely i kept playing in my mind Hercules, the Disney version. The fates tell hades in the beginning if Hercules lives he will ruin his plan for taking over Mt. Olympus and will fail so Hades has his servants Pain & Panic steal him from Zues and Heras palace and bring him far away to poison him. But in their attempt to have Hercules drink every drop to turn him human and kill him they are interrupted by a traveling couple nearby. They take him in as their own son and do not tell him that he is not biologically theirs and he later on realizes that he need to find where he really belongs.Later, as Hercules trains to prove to Zues that he can truly earn his place among the gods his first task is to go to Thebes and help rid the people who are shaken by the plagues of their misery.
    (sadly this i believe is in Itillian but it is the EXACT scene in Thebes where the village people are pretty much speaking around the water fountain about their traumas)

    Aside from that, i personally feel that this is such a tragedy, being born into such a prestigious life and having it taken from you before you can even speak for yourself. I find that terribly sad and how he does follow fates footsteps when deliberately trying not to. It’s just a novel of cringing to read what comes true. Accidentally killing his father, marrying his mother and being “intimate” with her then she ends up killing herself and he blinds himself out of grief WITH PINS!?

    This is definitely a tale where “ignorance is bliss”, because this story entails a lot of ugly truths.

  11. Oedipus the King is an very shocking story as well as a tragedy story. I don’t think Oedipus really expected to be the cause of the plague that infested the city of Thebes. You can understand why he didn’t want believe what the priest was telling him. A king, after all, is suppose to lead his people into better times. Not death.

    What is even more surprising is the prophecy, which says that Oedipus would one day murder his father and sleep with his mother. When Polybus, Oedipus’ father, dies of natural causes, Oedipus is happy because that part of the prophecy did not come true. As turns out, Polybus was Oedipus’ adoptive father and Laius, who Oedipus had killed on his way to Thebes, was his actual father. Of course, he had no way of knowing who he was or who his real father was, but this news now meant that the other part of the prophecy must be true. He married, slept and had children with hie mother. She didn’t know Oedipus was her son, but she was just as shocked.

    I’ve read the the story twice now. Both times, I have been horrified by how everything unravels. Meaning, how the truth comes out. Certain parts of the ending were, for me, too dramatic. For example, Oedipus taking the pins from Jocasta’s robes and stabbing his eyes. In my opinion, that was over the top. I understand that he didn’t want to see the world now that he’s learned the truth. But you don’t stab your eyes out. There are other ways.

    Aside from the ending, Oedipus the King is a good story. A good tragedy story.

  12. Oedipus Rex seems to be every high school student’s standard reading material, myself included. Definitely this time while reading it, I’ve picked up a few things that I didn’t notice back then when I read it a few years ago, such as the meaning of the Chorus’ presence. I always thought they were just some sort of background accessory because it is, after all a play. It’s so interesting to think that the Chorus represents society and Oedipus represents a figure that society clings onto. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is seen almost like a sovereign. But once he discovers that he cannot escape destiny and that he really has unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy of murdering his father and marrying his mother, he becomes the fallen king. His kingdom, the Chorus almost instantly has gone from worshiping him to hating him.

    On page 242 and 251, is where the Chorus makes such drastic change in their views of Oedipus:

    “How can I say you’ve chosen for the best?
    Better to die than to be alive and blind.”

    “People of Thebes, my countrymen, look on Oedipus,
    He solved the famous riddle with his brilliance,
    He rose to power, a man beyond power…
    …Now as we keep our watch and wait the final day,
    Count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last.”

    When we think about modern-day kings and queens, such as President Obama or celebrities, we are always watching out for their smallest faults to pick on. In modern-day terms, it’s like how society reacts to the economic situation or Britney Spear’s affairs and we treat them how the Chorus treats Oedipus in the play.

  13. Oedipus the king is the cornerstone of Greek tragedy. It contains every aspect of unconscious fate, the desire to find truth in order to alleviate crisis ends up as the near fatal end of the one who seeks it. Out of all of the three Theban plays I do believe that Oedipus the King holds true to the expected format of a true Greek tragedy. To the day the story still holds value as a life lesson as well as a defining piece of successful literature.Oedipus is a character blinded by ambition and pride, he is a great leader who is bound by his past and the eventual epic realization of incestual behaviors and a doomed past will lead to his exile and strip him of his once undefeatable attitude as the ruler of Thebes. Oedipus’ behaviors are not unlike many modern cases of one’s own defeat. I think one of the reasons this story still endures in modern society is due to the fact that it is so relatable in aspects of the undying quest for truth and the upholding of power. Many leaders have been denied their power due to the fact they delve into the abscess of the easiest ways to absolve issues that they are constantly confronted with. In Oedipus’ case, he has been living a lie ever since his return to Thebes and the murder of Liaus and the unknowing marriage to his own mother. The immediate realization of this truth would be enough to drive anyone to madness. All of these aspects create an amazing story that endures in modern society. The unraveling of power could be the main reason to this stories success. It is in human nature to observe the collapse of others in comparison to one’s own life, and breathe a sigh of relief, and perhaps ponder the consequences.

  14. ***Oedipus Presentation*** (Lichen, Wilson Tanner)

    (Thebes is suffering from a plague and the people are looking to their king for improvement and change. Creon reports back with an answer from Apollo that the solution is to reveal the truth of the murder of the previous King Laius and drive the killer out of Thebes.
    Oedipus asks the citizens for clues and calls for the prophet Tiresias for answers. Oedipus becomes frustrated with the prophet’s riddles and accusations and in fiery, suspects Creon of scheming to take the crown.
    Talking with his wife Jocasta, she reveals a prophesy that claimed Laius would be killed by his son and her story vaguely parallels Oedipus’ past killing and his prophesy of killing his father and marrying his mother.
    Now fearful and curious of his past, Oedipus looks for answers from a messenger from Corinth and a Shepard who worked for Laius and escaped the murder. Oedipus discovers that he was saved as a baby and that the prophesy had come true. Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus in agony takes her gold pins and pierces his eyes making himself blind. Creon becomes king and allows Oedipus to go into exile.)
    (Oedipus the King was written around 430 BC. The three plays were written years apart from one another and is meant to be separate plays based on interpretations of myths rather than a series. The Oedipus myth goes back as far as Homer and was known by all the Greek people.
    “The city of Thebes was founded by a man named Cadmus, who slew a dragon and was instructed to sow the dragon’s teeth in order to give birth to a city. From these teeth sprang a race of giants who were fully armed and angry; they fought each other until only five were left, and these five became the fathers of Thebes.”
    Sophocles like many writers used existing material and offered a new story based on a familiar plot.
    The setting of Oedipus takes place before the Trojan war. King Laius receives the prophesy and to avoid it coming true, abandons his son to die. Oedipus is saved and is taken care of by the King and Queen of Corinth. Not knowing his real father, Oedipus kills Laius along a path of his journey. At the time, the Sphinx was terrorizing Thebes but Oedipus answers the Sphinx’s riddles correctly ,saves the people, marries the widowed queen, and becomes King.)
    (He was born in 496 BC in the town of Colonus just outside of Athens.
    His father was a wealthy businessman manufacturing armor and Sophocles lived a privileged life and was sent to Athens to study.
    Sophocles was well educated in the arts including poetry, dance, math, philosophy, music, astronomy, law, military tactics.
    He was recognized for his singing and performing skills as a young teenager and was invited to perform at various celebrations.
    His first award and recognition was in 468 BC at a competition in Dionysia where his piece was celebrated for being young and fresh.
    His writing triumphed over another famous competitor, Aeschylus.
    He was married twice and had at least 2 sons.
    His other jobs included being treasurer of Athena and a military general. Sophocles was also religious and his focus was to the gods of healing and health.)
    —Themes and Keywords—
    Humans versus the Gods
    Fate/prophesy/truth and controlling ones future
    Truth vs denial/suspicion
    Man vs self
    Man vs world
    Seeing/sight vs physical blindness/ignorance
    Apollo: God of light, sun, truth, prophecy
    Decisions made at crossroads (three roads meet)
    Self interest vs benevolence

    —Kings and Queens—
    Every king and queen overcomes struggles and obstacles.
    King’s Speech- Struggles to overcome childhood traumas in order to be become a proper king.
    Oedipus must overcome his own fate, or at least come to terms with his misfortunes.
    —Your King or Queen—
    -“It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves” –Edmund Hillary
    -Joan of Arc is faithful to God and becomes a messenger to carry out His will. (The power of divinity)
    *********How does your King’s/Queen’s struggle relate to Oedipus?************
    —Past Readings—
    -King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
    ***********What other examples from previous readings relates to Oedipus?
    -Is the downfall Oedipus the result of too much pride from society’s admiration and believing himself capable of defying the Gods?

    -Did Apollo’s prophecy cause more trouble than it was worth? Should Gods be ignored and let the people resolve problems? To what extent are Gods also considered as kings/queens?

    -Consider Jocasta never once suspected Oedipus as her son, despite being aware of the prophecy that she would one day marry her son. In what ways does pride\conviction make us blind to the truth?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS9KJ_bAJLE –>(7:10)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5laTMLhsZI –>(1:40)

  15. Demi Elisson

    The story of Oedipus begins in the city of Thebes. The king, Oedipus is approached with a group of unhappy citizens. When he asks them what is wrong they reply that the city has been stuck by a plague. As their ruler Oedipus is of course concerned and takes steps to resolve this setback. He sends his brother in law Creon to the Delphic Oracle to find out how to stop the plague. The only way to stop it is to kill the person who killed Laios, the former king of Thebes.
    The elders suggest that Oedipus speak to Tiresias, a blind prophet, to aid and advise him. Oedipus forces Tiresias to reveal what he knows about the murderer. Tiresias reveals that Oedipus killed his father and sleeps with his mother. He accuses the blind prophet of lying on Creon’s behalf so that Creon can kill Oedipus and take over his thrown. He also accuses him that he killed Laios. Still furious Oedipus asks the prophet more questions and is only answered in riddles. Tiresias riddles by saying that the murderer of Laius will turn out to be both brother and father to his children, both son and husband to his mother. The people will not believe these accusations against Oedipus unless they are shown proof.
    The King becomes furious with Creon and accuses him of trying to overthrow him. Oedipus says that he wants Creon murdered. Creon and the leader of the chorus try to make Oedipus understand that he is only making lies but he still does not believe them.
    Oedipus’s wife Jocasta enters and reassures him that the prophet’s sayings are completely false. Jocasta tells him that Laios was murdered in a three-way crossroad before Oedipus arrived in Thebes. Stunned, he tells his wife that he may have murdered him. Long ago, when he was the prince of Corinth, Oedipus heard at a banquet that his parents were not the king and queen. He went to the oracle of Delphi, which did not answer him but did tell him he would murder his father and sleep with his mother. Hearing this, Oedipus fled from home, never to return. On his journey that would take him to Thebes, Oedipus was confronted and harassed by a group of travelers, whom he killed in self-defense, at the very crossroads where Laius was killed. The only man to survive the attack was a shepard whom he sends for.
    A messenger from Corinth enters telling Jocasta that Oedipus’s father, Polybus, is dead, and that Corinth wants Oedipus to come and rule there. Jocasta finds Oedipus and tells him the news. He is relieved to know that one prophecy is false but the other about sleeping with his mother may be true. This bothers him greatly. He later finds out that his parents were not his actual birth parents. The messenger explains to him that he used to be a shepherd many years ago and that one day he had found a baby on Mount Cithaeron, which is close by to Thebes. The baby’s ankles were pinned together. The former shepherd set him free. The baby was Oedipus, who still walks with a limp due to the injury to his ankles years ago. When Oedipus asks him who abandoned him on the mountain, the messenger replies that another shepherd, Laius’s servant, gave him baby Oedipus. At this, Jocasta comes into a realization that would ruin him.
    Oedipus unknowingly murdered his father and married his mother. Another messenger enters to tell the king that his wife, Jocasta had killed herself. With fury and disbelief he rushes to her bedroom to find her hanging. He couldn’t stand the sight of his wife/mother’s dead body so he took the pins, which held her robes together and stabbed him in the eyes crying that he could not bear to see the world now that he had learned the truth. He asked to be banished from Thebes and that Creon would restore order. Creon agrees to exile him and his children from Thebes, but tells him that he will only do so if the gods approve it.
    Oedipus was supposedly a great man and leader but it is so ironic that his story would end misery. He killed his father and marries his mother. It must be a terrible feeling to just have your world crumble and collapse around you. To once be a great king and then become a criminal and a murderer. He is caught in between being a hero and a villain because he cared for his people but his questionable past had come back to haunt him. His past had driven him into such an unhealthy state of mind that he loses his power and is exiled from his once ruled city.

    • Great recap, Demi! For future posts, you don’t have to summarize the text, rather you can write 2-3 paragraphs of you thoughts/ideas/questions/reflections, etc on the reading. Happy reading! 🙂

  16. Oedipus is a compelling story that unfortunately provides the reader with a lesson that certain truths are hurtful and should be hidden at all costs. Although it is true in Oedipus’ case, it was aggravating to see Oedipus so determined to seek out the answers to his questions only to be rewarded with cryptic riddles and told to not seek out more information (notably from Tiresias and Jocasta.) If the whole realization that ties the story together is that Oedipus unknowingly murdered his own father and the true identity of his parents was covered up from him, then why is it his responsibility to solve the Laius murder mystery? Oedipus is merely a man who vows to protect the city of Thebes, just like any great leader should. His quick ability to lay out accusations (which are somewhat comical) is just proof that he will do anything he can to solve the case that will ward off any harm possible to the people of Thebes. It is sad to see Oedipus go through such emotional trouble to only find out that he was unwillingly the cause of the problem. In the end he does what any heroic figure would do and banishes himself for the greater good.
    Despite the sad irony and messed up family tree, it was interesting how blindness played a role in the story. The fact that Tiresias was blind yet saw more than Oedipus made me appreciate him as a character. Oedipus had remained naive and disregarded his advice to stay clear of the truth, only to eventually stab out his own eyeballs and gain new sight of the world and its flaws. That is irony I can appreciate.

  17. Oedipus is a work that can be analysed continuously. I know this because I’ve read through and studied various Oedipus works many times throughout various literature classes. It’s always kind of annoyed me how blind (zing) Oedipus and his wife/mother acted throughout most of the play. He is in absolute disbelief that the prophecy about him is true, even though there are frequent rumors about him not being related to his foster parents. Also, why the ongoing search for the truth behind the prophecy on Oedipus’ part? Being such an honorable and faithful ruler, one would think that as soon as he realized he killed Laius he would automatically banish himself from Thebes. It really is one of those stories where it would probably just be better if everybody was ignorant to the truth. I mean its a good thing that Oedipus is banished from Thebes so they can be cured of the plague, but everything else should have gone unsaid.

    either way, aside from all of these annoying nitpicks, I do love the irony that Tiresias the prophet is pretty much all seeing and all knowing despite being literally blind, whilst Oedipus is figuratively blind to the truth until he stabs his eyes out in the end of the play. Its quite sick how many foreshadowing descriptions of site and blindness are used throughout the play. Its a constant tease that I have learned to appreciate.

    either way, its sad to see such a strong character and such a strong king lose his way just because he wishes to seek a greater truth that he was probably better off not knowing. Its pretty much an ongoing downward spiral, even when he is able to reassemble his calm composure once he learns that he was the one who killed Laius and that his earlier rants were unjustifiable. A Greek tragedy in every way.

  18. Paulo D. Campos

    Oedipus is a caring king, that is suffering alongside his dying city.
    Oedipus shows complete visibility when Creon arrives from his travels which involved meeting with the Delphic Oracle. Creon wants to tell Oedipus what he has learned in private, however Oedipus says that his people are suffering the same as he and so should also be in the loop. It shows Oedipus’s ability to sympathize with his people, and you get to see Oedipus from a very human perspective, unattached from his pride, power, and privileges (which we witness in the end). After Oedipus finds out that in order for the curse on Thebes to be broken he must find out who killed Oedipus, Oedipus’s level of resolve was so great, that even if it were his own family member, they would be punished the same as anyone else.
    Like other Kings and Queens, when a prophet Tiresias makes some accusations and statements that bothers Oedipus, Oedipus wants Creon and the prophet dead, because he believes that they must be trying to overthrow him/take his power away.
    Oedipus’s last attempt at power is at the end when he asks Creon to banish him and to take care of his daughters. Creon at that point makes it clear to him that he (Oedipus) no longer has any sort of power or control over anyone.

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