Essay On Oedipus Responsibility

382 Words2 Pages
With the evaluation of all three major character influences, the question of Oedipus’s ignorance is answered, but what of his responsibility? Is a man relieved of responsibility because he did not know? Oedipus blames the God, Jocasta, and even the herdsman for his crimes, but what is the cause and consequences of his own actions? Bernard Knox and his book, Oedipus at Thebes, explains the free will of the character, and therefore his responsibility for the actions he takes.23 Knox comments, “The catastrophe of Oedipus is that he discovers his own identity; and for this discover he is the first and last responsible.”24 This comment is particularly interesting to me because it proposes that the murder, incest, suicide, and treasonous suggestions do not make up the worst in the…show more content…
I have also observed that whether the murder and incest is the primary cause of Oedipus’s fall or not, he was entirely aware of his actions to the reader’s knowledge for no suggestion of mental impairment is mentioned. If no influence causes Oedipus to commit the acts he did, What denial can Oedipus claim in his own responsibility? Beginning back with Tiresias, Oedipus forced him to speak, Knox states, “Tiresias delivers [the prophecy] only as a result of Oedipus’ actions in the first place.”25 Much is the same with Oedipus’s insistence that the surviving witness comes, even when again advised against it, and even, “When Creon returns and asks if Oedipus wishes to hear the oracle’s reply in public or in private, Oedipus tells his to speak before all of them,” as Knox includes.26 I am left with certainty that the events of the play are entirely and consequently to the effect of Oedipus’s actions and none others, with the inclusion of Jocasta’s own involvement and guilt in the incestuous
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