Oedipus The King: Sophocles Interpretation Of Justice?

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PROMPT 4: What is Sophocles’ interpretation of justice? In three of his most famous plays, Sophocles follows in the footsteps of generations before him in attempting to answer a question which has plagued every government and civilization in recorded history: what is justice? Sophocles’ answer reflects humanity itself - justice is inconsistent, wavering, and flaky. In Oedipus, a well-intentioned, if arrogant king is punished by receiving the worst news of his life, essentially ruining him permanently. In Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus gains a small choice of his own back (choosing where to die), but the arrogant and tyrannical Creon remains a powerful king. In Antigone, both Antigone and Creon act on behalf of their own interpretations of justice, and both are destroyed. Thus, Sophocles’ notion is that justice is an ultimately confused and chaotic force that is not bound by any reason, ration, or…show more content…
Oedipus Rex is without a doubt a masterful tragedy. While it would take an entire other essay to discuss why Oedipus Rex is such a good tragedy, the overarching reason why is that Oedipus is ultimately a well-intentioned ruler and good person. For example, when Oedipus first hears about the plague, he quickly demands a solution, stating that “The grief that burdens me/concerns these men more than it does my life” (1308). Oedipus was no tyrant who wished to mercilessly subjugate the people of Thebes. Rather, he was a ruler who always had the best interest of his citizens in mind, and who had already saved the people of Thebes by solving the riddle of the Sphinx and was ready to save the Thebans again, this time by stopping the plague. This isn’t to say Oedipus was a flawless ruler - he was arrogant, as demonstrated by him calling Tiresias a “vile traitor” who could “provoke a stone to anger” (1314). However, this

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