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Sophocles demonstrates in the play Oedipus the King that a human being, not a God, ultimately determines destiny. That is, people get what they deserve. In this play, one poorly-made judgment results in tragic and inescapable density. Oedipus fights and kills Laius without knowing Laius is his father. Then, Oedipus's pitiless murdering causes several subsequent tragedies such as the incestuous marriage of Oedipus gets into the flight with Laius. However, Oedipus's characteristics after Laius's death imply that Oedipus could avoid the fight as well as the murder of his father, but did not. Ultimately, Oedipus gets what he deserves due to his own characteristics that lead him to murder Laius: impatience, delusion, and arrogance.
One characteristic that leads Oedipus to flight his father is impatience. Oedipus?s impatience is obvious when Creon reports news from Apollo. After Creon says only two sentences, Oedipus cuts him off by saying, ?but what were the god?s words? There is no hope / and nothing to fear in fear in what you?ve said so far? (1302). Oedipus is too important to listen to even three sentences from Creon. Oedipus also shows his impatience during a conversation with Tiresias. Oedipus blames Tiresias, who is reluctant to tell Oedipus that Oedipus himself is the murderer. Looking at the impatience behavior it explains how Oedipus comes to flight Laius on the road out Corinth. Oedipus rushes into the flight without thinking whether it is necessary when Laius?s men ?shoulder [Oedipus] off the road.? It can be that Laius?s men think Oedipus as a common person, not royal because Oedipus is walking alone, or that the group is simply in a rush for some reason. However, Oedipus ?strike[s] [Laius?s man] in anger,? (1321) without thinking why Laius?s group acts against him. Oedipus acts like a modern day outlaw ? shoot first and ask questions later. In this way, Oedipus starts the fight without patience and as a result fulfills Apollo?s prophecy perfectly.
Not only impatience but also delusion is a characteristic that leads Oedipus to fight his father. After listening to Laius?s assassin, Oedipus?s delusion is noticeable through his statement, ?Whoever killed the king might decide to kill me too, / with the same violent hand- by avenging Laius / I defend myself? (1304). Without any evidence to link Laius?s assassin to Oedipus, Oedipus believes the murderer who killed him. Another example of Oedipus?
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As well as impatience and delusion, arrogance is a characteristic that leads Oedipus to murder his father. Oedipus regards himself as powerful as a god. Even though Oedipus is neither a god nor a priest, he says he will accept the prayers as if he has the godly power to fulfill people?s prayers. When the people of Thebes are praying, Oedipus says, You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers? (1306). This statement implies that Oedipus does not care for people praying to the gods because he believes he can answer their prayers. Oedipus promises to seize the murderer even though he does not have ant clear understanding of the crime. As seen, these arrogant attitudes explain how Oedipus gets into a fight with Laius and kills him. Oedipus is probably arrogant when he meets Laius on a road because is a Prince of Corinth. For this reason, Oedipus does not show any respect to the older man, Laius, as common people do. Regardless of Oedipus?s stature, Oedipus is supposed to respect an older man. If he had some respect for Laius, he would have given up the road for the older man and could have avoided the fight with Laius and subsequent murders. Oedipus?s arrogance also deprives himself of sympathy. Oedipus says, ?I paid him [Laius] back with interest! / Short work, by god-with one blow of the staff / in this right hand I knock him out of his seat? (1321). As Oedipus?s statement implies, Laius is weak, so Oedipus can ?knock him off with one blow.? Nevertheless, Oedipus kills the weak and older man.
In conclusion, Oedipus?s characteristic of impatience, delusion, and arrogance, following the death of his father, provide insight into the reason Oedipus commits murder. Indeed, Oedipus?s personal characteristics cause a quarrel with Laius. In turn, the quarrel leads Oedipus to the tragic destiny of killing his father, marrying his mother, and then having four children with her. Even though Apollo predicts Oedipus?s future, if Oedipus were a sincere and respectful person, he would not have fulfilled Apollo?s prophecy. Oedipus makes poor decisions based on his personal characteristics, and these decisions lead to tragic consequences. Oedipus is not a victim of fate, only a victim of poorly-made decisions.