Oedipus Rex Critical Lens Essay

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Critical Lens As said by Benjamin Disraeli in Contarini Fleming, “Circumstances are beyond the control of man; but his conduct is in his own power.” Although this quote originates from 1832, centuries before Oedipus the King was published, its logic can still be applied to Sophocles’ play. Disraeli is saying that no one can help the circumstances they are born in, but everyone has the capability to live how they want. At face-value, this may seem true; in the end everyone has the ability to make a decision. Yet, it is their circumstances that drive the choices people make. This is best shown in Oedipus, whose actions were based on the circumstances surrounding him. Oedipus lived his entire life avoiding the prophecy foretold by Delphi. His parents abandoned him at birth because of it, he left his adoptive family because of it, and ultimately, he was blinded because of it. The prophecy itself did not cause these outcomes, but Oedipus’ actions were driven by it. His parents chose to abandon him because of their fear of the oracle’s foresight, he chose to leave because of his caution of it and he blinded himself because he’d driven himself to find the truth of his parentage. Oedipus’ situation caused him to do all …show more content…

With all the hints given to him, it would be impossible for anyone in his position to repress their need to learn more. This is shown best when Oedipus says “Let the storm burst, my fixed resolve still holds, To learn my lineage, be it ne'er so low. It may be she with all a woman's pride Thinks scorn of my base parentage. But I Who rank myself as Fortune's favorite child, The giver of good gifts, shall not be shamed. She is my mother and the changing moons My brethren, and with them I wax and wane.” (1077-1086). Oedipus is so prideful because he grew up as a Prince, more evidence that it is your circumstances that decide your outcomes

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