Oedipus Is Selfish

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Who is Oedipus? Ignorance is bliss. However, in Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, Oedipus is a complex character that seeks the truth but not the truth about himself. Throughout the story, his character’s behavior brings many conflicts and struggles between the characters. Each time the King is confronted by a challenge, his choice in behavior causes him more problems than it resolves. Instead of stepping back and evaluating the situation and getting all the facts, Oedipus jumps to wild conclusions and unjustly accuses others of conspiring against him. While all along deep inside of him he has a feeling in his gut that there is some truth to what he is being told. He is very arrogant, quick to anger and ready to blame others before…show more content…
This is first shown without Oedipus even being aware, when he kills Laius on the crossroads. He realizes later discussing the murder of Laius with Jocasta. Oedipus remembers, “I became angry and struck the coachman who was pushing me…and then I killed them all” (Sophocles 454). It did not take much to anger Oedipus into murder. Another instance of anger is when Tiresias confronts Oedipus as Laius’s killer. Tiresias states to Oedipus, “You blame my temper but you do not see your own that lives within you” (Sophocles 439). After more arguing, Oedipus speaks back, “Not twice you shall say calumnies like this and stay unpunished” (Sophocles 440). Right away, Oedipus is quick to retaliate and be on the defensive. A final example of Oedipus’s short temper is when he argues with Creon about being the killer of Laius. The argument heats up and Oedipus loses his temper and threatens to banish or kill Creon. Creon goes to Jocasta and states, “Sister, Oedipus your husband, thinks he has the right to do terrible wrongs-he has but to choose between two terrors: banishing or killing me” (Sophocles 448). Again, Oedipus must defeat those who seem to be against him even though they are not his enemy. It is his anger that causes Oedipus to lash out and act…show more content…
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

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