Oedipus The King: Role Of Gods

Better Essays
“Gods can be evil sometimes.” In the play “Oedipus the King”, Sophocles defamed the gods’ reputation, and lowered their status by making them look harmful and evil. It is known that all gods should be perfect and infallible, and should represent justice and equity, but with Oedipus, the gods decided to destroy him and his family for no reason. It might be hard to believe that gods can have humanistic traits, but in fact they do. The gods, especially Apollo, are considered evil by the reader because they destroyed an innocent man’s life and his family. They destroyed Oedipus by controlling his fate, granting people the power of prophecy, telling Oedipus about his fate through the oracle of Apollo, and finally afflicting the people of Thebes with a dreadful plague. Fundamentally, by utilizing fate, prophecies, the oracle of Apollo, and the plague, the gods played a significant role in the destruction of Oedipus and his family.

By controlling fate, the gods carry all the responsibility of Oedipus in killing his father and marrying his mother. They are the only ones who can control fate, and thus they are the only ones to blame for what happened to Oedipus. They could have made Oedipus’ life less miserable, but they decided to destroy his and his family’s life by this terrible fate without him committing a sin. “It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, who brought to fulfillment all my sufferings. But the hand that struck my eyes was mine and mine alone.” Oedipus blames Apollo for his two shameful crimes that caused his sufferings. On the other hand, he admits that the gods had nothing to do with his blindness, and that he’s responsible for that. Also, in the previous quote, Oedipus tries to diminish his shame by convincing his people that it is not his fault, but Apollo’s, for murdering his father and marrying his mother. The moral of this story is that human beings can’t escape their fate, and thus it is not Oedipus’ fault for committing those two crimes.

To destroy Oedipus, the gods granted the power of prophecy to oracles that delivered these prophecies to Laius and Jocasta. As a result, they kill their child to get rid of him and his terrible prophecies. Unfortunately, these prophecies came true because Oedipus didn’t know his real parents. If he had known his real parents, he wouldn’t have killed his father and married his mother.

“I would never have be...

... middle of paper ...

...the murderer is in Thebes. “Here in Thebes, Apollo said. What is searched for can be caught. What is neglected escapes.” Basically, the gods concluded their destruction series in condemning Oedipus to exile or having him executed.

In conclusion, the gods, Apollo in particular, played a major part in the overall circumstances of Oedipus. Oedipus’ destruction influenced his family, and thus the gods demolished an entire family. As a result of this terrible destruction of a man’s life and his family, the reader would consider the gods guilty and evil. The gods followed four steps to destroy Oedipus completely. First, they controlled his fate and led him to murder his father, and marry his mother. They provided people with the power of prophecy to make Laius and Jocasta give away their child. Not only that, but Apollo’s oracle told Oedipus about his terrible fate that involve his parents to make him move to Thebes. Finally, they send a plague to the Thebans for not punishing the murderer of their king, which results in Oedipus’ exile or execution. Oedipus, the wise king, has never been destroyed by an evil man, but he was totally destroyed by what they call merciful, just gods.
Get Access