Morally Wrong Decisions In Oedipus The King

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In the play Oedipus Rex, a prophecy about the main character, Oedipus, says that he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother, which causes his parents to attempt to kill him as a baby. However, Oedipus survives, and he and his parents end up fulfilling the prophecy even when they were actively trying to stop it. Oedipus makes morally wrong decisions and indirectly causes the plague when he gives in to his anger, but makes morally correct decisions when he tries to help the people of Thebes cure the plague. This supports Sophocles' theme that all actions have consequences, regardless of if these consequences come immediately or in the future.

Oedipus shows that he can be a morally correct character by trying to help save …show more content…

One such fit of his occurs when he is trying to get Teiresias to tell him who murdered Laios. After Oedipus lashes out at Teiresias for accusing him of murdering Laios, a leader of Thebes tries to break up their argument, saying it was unproductive and that everyone should focus on fixing the crisis. The leader said, "Oedipus, both of you spoke in anger./Anger is not what we need./We need all our wits, all our energy, to interpret Apollo's words./Then we will know what to do" (Sophocles; p. 42, lines 548-551). By giving in to rage and other bad emotions, Oedipus shows that he can be a morally evil character since only a character without morals would throw a fit of rage and accuse his wife's brother, who is a ruler of Thebes, and a respected prophet of conspiring against him without any evidence. While it is true that any character would have the right to be somewhat angered after being accused of murder, Oedipus was extremely rude to Teiresias in the moments leading up to the accusation, provoking Teiresias into telling the truth about the murder. A morally good character would keep calm and respect the word of a renowned prophet. Even if accused of murder, such a character would respond reasonably and ask why they were accused, and defend their case in a respectful and logical manner if they felt that they were innocent. Oedipus did none …show more content…

When Kreon returns from his visit to the oracle, he said that the only way to stop the plague would be to bring justice to the murder of Laios. He proclaims that "Apollo commands us:/Cleanse the city of Thebes, cleanse the plague from that city,/destroy the black stain spreading everywhere, spreading,/poisoning the earth, touching each house, each citizen,/sickening the hearts of the people of Thebes!" (Sophocles; pg. 27, lines 114-118). Since the city of Thebes didn't properly investigate the murder, which was an action, or a lack thereof, Sophocles is showing the gods punishing the people for what they failed to do, showing that actions have consequences. In addition, the murderer, which the people of Thebes later figure out was Oedipus, receives the punishment of exile for killing Laios, further illustrating the concept that actions have consequences. Another scene where Sophocles shows that actions have consequences is when a servant recounts the events that happened in the palace, which include Jocasta hanging herself and Oedipus stabbing his eyes out. The servant announces, "The horrors you will hear, the horrors you will see, will shake/your hearts and shatter you with grief beyond enduring./Not even the waters of those great rivers Ister and Phasis/could wash away the blood/that now darkens every stone of this shining

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