Morality In Sophocles Oedipus The King

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Two people in a similar situation are likely to react differently based on their experience, morality and personality. How they carry themselves in this situation tells so much about their character. One’s actions will expose his nature, whether he is a good person with a good intention or not, something that words alone cannot prove. This essay will compare two different characters, Oedipus and Cinyras, in a similar situation. Oedipus is the titular character in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, a tragedy about a man who unintentionally kills his dad and marries his mom, just as his fate dictates. Cinyras is a character from “Myrrha and Cinyras,” an excerpt from Metamorphoses by Ovid. The excerpt is about a young girl named Myrrha and her…show more content…
Oedipus goes to a prophet to find out if he is adopted and who his real parents are, but learns about his curse instead. Frustrated and devastated, he leaves his adoptive parents whom he thinks are his real parents. On his journey, he bumps into an old man, who unbeknownst to him is his biological father. Describing the event, he says “The man out front and the old man himself began to crowd me off the road. The driver, who’s forcing me aside, I smash in anger.” (926-929) The phrase “I smash in anger” depicts the intensity of how Oedipus is not able to hold his composure when someone gets on his nerves the first time after his encounter with the prophet. He pours all his anger on the old man uncontrollably and eventually kills the old man. A rational Oedipus would not kill anyone for just “crowding him off the road.” If he had controlled his feelings in the first place, his father would still have been alive, preventing Oedipus from marrying his…show more content…
After sleeping with the maiden so many times, Cinyras is curious to find out who she is. He brings in a lamp to see the girl in the dark only to find out she is his daughter, Myrrha. His reaction to the discovery is described as “He tore out his sword from the scabbard; Myrrha sped off, and, thanks to night’s shadowy darkness, escaped from her death” (570-572). Feeling duped, he attempts to kill his own daughter to keep his transgression a secret. His anger takes over. He spares himself all the blame, letting his repressed desire and lack of judgment slide. The word “sword” is a symbol for power, the very thing he chose physically and metaphorically after his discovery. As the king, he represents the rule. If he acknowledges this transgression as his fault, he can no longer be the king people follow and look up to. Hence, by playing the role of the victim he can keep his power as a king, something he values more than
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