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Oedipus Identity Analysis

Better Essays
The Destruction of Identity and Its Disastrous Outcomes
May Tun

The three texts, Oedipus The King, Aias, and Philoktetes, define a person’s identity as the uniqueness of their character, such as their strength and skills, their demonstration of their character to other people, and their true heritage. However, the identity a person spends his lifetime to build can fall apart within a second due to illnesses, actions, or sudden revelations about the truths and falsehoods of who they actually are. Aias, Oedipus, and Philoktetes’ carelessness in choosing to identify with their reputations and actions leads to their perceived individualities being completely shattered and changed. When these three individuals are forced to undergo the destruction
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Oedipus The King introduces Oedipus as a wise king who greatly cares about the well-being of the people as he solved the Sphinx riddle and saved the country. He receives praised as “a bird from the god, [he] brought good luck the day [he] rescued [the people]” (Oedipus The King. 61-62). He identifies himself as being a good king, the son of Polybos and Merope. However, during his investigation into Laius’ murderer, he uncovers that he is in fact the culprit; “All! All! It has all happened! / It was all true. O Light! Let this / be the last time I look on you. / You see now who I am- / the child who must not be born! / I loved where I must not love! / I killed where I must not kill!” (Oedipus The King. 1336.1342). His understanding of his identity is completely shattered when he learns this truth. With the sudden shift from his newfound knowledge, the life he lived seems like a lie, and he becomes confused about his own identity. Oedipus covets his previously unquestioned identity as a good king, so the discovery of his new and shameful identity causes immense emotional
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