Oedipus is characterized by Sophocles throughout the play as someone who is constantly wanting to seek the truth. This characterization is evident in Scene I as the author creates a heated dialogue between
Oedipus Rex was born with the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother. His parents try and get around the prophecy by giving away their son. Oedipus grows up not knowing not knowing anything about this he has his big prophecy over his head. and h He travels back to the city of Thebes where he then soon fulfills the prophecy. While he becomes the King of Thebes, he starts the long his journey unraveling the truth. He is a very blind man at first but he changes throughout the play. In the end, Oedipus opens his eyes and turns out to be an accepting man.
Oedipus’ inner blindness causes his status to become a static character and make him have his downfall because of his character flaws. Since he is a static character, meaning he doesn’t change his personality throughout the whole story, he has the same flaws during the beginning to the end of the story. These many flaws range from Oedipus’s arrogance to his selfishness. Oedipus’s flaws don’t just cause his downfall, but also many other conflicts in the story as well.
In response to learning that he is the killer of Laius, he takes Jocastas brooches and sticks them in his eyes, blinding himself. He cries out, “Why should I see whose vision showed me nothing sweet to see” (Sophocles 476). Oedipus feels he must suffer due to his horrible crimes. He also asks Creon to have him exiled just as he once was going to exile him. He also requests to be left alone, “Leave me live in the mountains where Cithaeron is, that’s called my mountain, which my mother and my father while they were living would have made my tomb” (Sophocles 480). So by suffering, Oedipus still feels like a King fulfilling his duty. Thomas Gould author of The Innocence of Oedipus: The Philosophers on Oedipus the King, Part III, discusses the idea of whether Oedipus has control over his fate or not. Gould states, “Oedupus’ intentions were good, but the results of his actions were bad; and the explanation for this is that he did not have certain important pieces of information” (Gould 32). In the end, when Oedipus learns he is Laius killer, he must make the ultimate sacrifice for his crimes. The truth was right in front of him all along but he either ignored it or refused to accept it because it was not all together at once. His final fate, however, is his to choose and he chooses to
Tragedies often trigger emotional responses to audiences. It allows an individual to perceive the situation and emotionally respond to it. Sophocles uses the relationships of individuals with one another that incorporate compromise and division between the clashes of stubborn heroism and defeat. In tragedies, one many often feel pity, which can be very relatable to the reader and audiences. This can be evident in “Oedipus the King.” Oedipus is human, regardless of his pride, his intelligence, or his stubbornness and we can recognize this in his reaction to his wrongdoings. With this, the audience is affected to feel both pity and fear. There is pity for this broken man and fear that his tragedy could be our own, as well.
When he does not believe the truth, the consequence later in the play is that he punishes himself as he promised the townspeople. He promises everyone that he will punish the murderer so he can save the town. They will also wear “the badge of shame, the brand of infamy on the very skin” (Episode 1). This is another way that Oedipus promises to punish the killer (himself) and he did this by blinding himself before going to the mountains to punish himself.
After Oedipus realizes that he fulfilled his fate of killing his father and marrying his mother, Oedipus declares,”I have been saved for something great and terrible, something strange. Well let destiny come and take me on its way”(323). Then Oedipus gouges out his own eyes so that he cannot look upon his parents in the underworld, his children, or the city he once ruled. He then asks Creon to return him to the place he should have died as a young child, the mountain.The statement reveals that Oedipus fulfilled his fate and that Oedipus truly believes destiny set him on the path of destruction. With the realization of his demise, Oedipus tries to protect himself from punishment and shame by gouging out his own eyes and exiling himself out to die in the place destiny prevented him from dying originally. After many years of luxurious living, Oedipus’s predestined fate tears his life apart and returns him to the place he should have died as an infant, the mountain.
He blinded himself as a punishment for what he had done in his life. It is ironic that he blinded himself to hide acts of violence before him when he himself committed horrific acts of violence within his own life (Haque and Kabirchowdhury 117). Oedipus’s self-harm came from his failure to recognize the truth of his own existence. His constant denial of everything that he could not physically see was due to his hubris. When Oedipus was figuratively blind, he could not accept his fate. When he became physically blind, he was able to learn to live with the truth of the prophecy (Haque and Kabirchowdhury 118). Oedipus demonstrates his final acceptance of his fate given by the gods in his final conversation with Kreon- “Give me what I ask for...drive me out of this country as quickly as may be to a place where no human voice can ever greet me” (Sophocles 1268). Oedipus lost his ability to see, and along with it his hubris. All he was left with was a forced exodus and a complete reliance on the gods. The figurative blindness led him to the truth and the literal blindness compelled him into a total spiritual
Oedipus certainly deserved his fate. Oedipus and his actions are clearly disrespect to the gods , he faces the fate he deserves. He was doing things that would eventually lead up to the unfortunate event of his death , he was even warned by the great and wise Teiresias , but he being himself was to stubborn and did not listen. All the things Teiresias said would happen became the truth. He killed his father, married his mother, yet he tempted his fate , he deserved everything that came his way . He did not want to believe any of it he didn't listen , he thought he knew what was correct , and being the way he was , got the worst part.
When Teiresias refuses to name the murderer, however, we see the other side of Oedipus, a hot-tempered man who cannot bear to be denied what he wants. He taunts Teiresias with his blindness and makes irrational accusations against both Teiresias and Creon. Later, when the old servant also tries to avoid answering Oedipus' questions, Oedipus threatens him with torture."Oedipus went so far as to accuse him of keeping silence because he himself taken part in the murder"(Hamilton271).Thats when Oedipus tells Jocasta that, on his way to Thebes, he killed a man who struck at him in the road. So it's clear what his tragic flaw is, and his impulsive,violent temper can even be seen as an
Having been given many hints in his life, Oedipus cannot detect and know the truth. He is blind, to the extent that he could not even understand his life and does not even want to accept his origin. In this way, we get to know the contrast between eyesight and insight (Calame, 1996). After Oedipus realizing and coming to know the truth, he gets out his eyes so as to have the vision (Calame, 1996). He removes his eyes so as not to see his children and siblings who would remind him of his actions. He claims that there is no pleasure in seeing when it’s all pain that one has to
To release himself of his prideful ways, Oedipus took it upon himself to discard the eyes that failed to see the truth. To amend the situation he, “raised [the ornament] down straight into his eyeballs.” University of Pennsylvania Professor, Peter T. Struck, established a literary commentary in which he wrote, “by blinding himself, as opposed to committing suicide, Oedipus achieves a kind of surrogate death that intensifies his suffering.” Struck agrees that by committing this self-inflicted retribution, Oedipus is redeeming himself for his sins in a way that death would not allow him to do. Now that Oedipus is finally able to see the truth, he recognizes his mistakes and exclaims, “I don’t deserve to live among you…send me from Thebes”(p.80). He is taking responsibility for his actions and will endure this punishment to redeem himself. Struck states, ”Oedipus is dead, for he receives none of the benefits of the living; at the same time, he is not dead by definition and so his suffering cannot end.” Struck writes this to emphasize how Oedipus’ departure is a fitting punishment for his crimes. Through his self-exile, Oedipus reinforces Sophocles’ didactic purpose: our physical eyes can be blind towards the
Oedipus’s pride also was a large contribution to his downfall. He had so much that he became blind to things around around him and the things he was doing to himself and others. Everything that happens to him is brought onto him by him. He killed his father, he also married his mother. He chooses to ignore the warnings from Jocasta, he searches and searches for the killer, to soon find out it was himself.
Another tragedy of Oedipus as a tragic hero was that he was a proud man, who thinks he knew it all and would not listen to anyone. One of his greatest acts of hubris was that he denies his fate of the oracle and defy the prophecies of the gods that later came to reality, and despite his growing up in Corinth he was a son of the land of Thebes. Likewise, the prophecy was still to come into existence since he did not only overlooked his fate; he did whatever he wants to as the king of the
So in the end, Oedipus no longer thinks of himself. Thinking of his children 's impending marriage, Oedipus begs for his children and no longer can think of himself as anything more than a creature that embodies what it means to be pathetic: