Examples Of Guilty In Oedipus Rex

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Oedipus Rex: Guilty or…Guilty?

Imagine the exact moment you realize your whole life has been a lie. Imagine the churning of your stomach as you discover you have done the unforgivable. Imagine realizing all the signs you ignored, all the clues you let pass by. Imagine when you realize it was all your fault. In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus, king of Thebes, is guilty of murdering the late king Laïos, despite the fact that he did not know he was his father. Oedipus was under a prophecy that said he would kill his father and sleep with his mother. Both came true, and he payed the price for it. He was banished from Thebes. Many have wondered if he really deserved this fate. Many say he is not guilty of killing his father, for he
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But he still carelessly killed a stranger that could have easily been his father. Oedipus made the choice to kill Laïos, who to him was only a stranger, that day. It wasn’t because of his fate or the prophecy, as many have argued. With the little bit of control he had over his life he chose to commit this crime. It is known that Oedipus had suspicions about whether Polybos was his true father from this quote. “At a feast, a drunken man maundering in his cups/Cries out I am not my father’s son!.../the suspicion/Remained always aching in my mind,” (page 42). It was even more clear that he was suspicious when he told them he went to Delphi to ask God who his real father was. “I knew there was talk; I could not rest;/ And finally, saying nothing to my parents/I went to a shrine at Delphi.” But, “The god dismissed my question without reply;/He spoke of other things…/As, that I should lie with my mother… /And that I should be my father’s murderer” (page 42), Oedipus went on to say. So now it’s clear that Oedipus knew exactly what the prophecy was and that there was a risk that any random person could be his father, yet he killed a stranger soon after that! This was Oedipus’s choice, and a terrible one at that. Creon states this towards the end of the book when Oedipus tries to make commands again after being disgraced. “Think no…show more content…
Going back to the quote from earlier when he was confessing that he committed murder near the scene of Laïos’s murder to Iocaste, he said, “The groom leading these horses/ Forced me off the road at his lord’s command;/ But as this chariot lurched over towards me/ I struck him in my rage” (page 43). Forcing someone off the road is not a life threatening action, but striking someone is. He uses the word ‘struck’, a violent verb. He attacked them first, which means he has no grounds to claim self defense. One could claim that it was self defense because Oedipus later explains that Laios attacked him as well. “The old man saw me/And brought his double goad down upon my head/As I came abreast” (page 43). But it doesn’t matter that Laios fought back, because Oedipus struck
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