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Oedipus the King

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Oedipus

Oedipus is a story about a few basic human emotions. Among them are rage, passion, humility, and guilt. The Ancient Greeks understood these emotions well; their society was based upon the logical emotions, but always threatened by the violent ones. Oedipus was at first told that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother. Fearful of himself, he fled showing a lack of humility away from his home, thinking that his problems would be solved. Later on, he gets into a tumultuous fight with a passerby on the road to Thebes. Enraged, he kills the man and his servants; this turned out to be a big mistake. After saving the city of Thebes from the Sphinx, he marries and then passionately sleeps with the queen. Towards the end of the play, he realizes that he has indeed killed his father and married his mother, thus echoing the lack of humility that first drove him away from his adopted parents.

Oedipus’ situation is commonly thought to be rare at first glance. But noted psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud wrote many papers on the actual commonality of the condition. At first, this is a proof of the existence of common humanity in the work. Delving deeper, it can be seen that Oedipus represents any part of ourselves that disagrees with our parents, sometimes wishing them dead, or even the part that takes things for granted, without thinking.

Oedipus also represents a flaw in classical thinking. By implying that we are powerless to change our fate, Sophocles eats away at some of the most core desires in our society. A poor man may think it is fate that he will never live a wealthy lifestyle, but the next day he may win the lottery. The core belief that is not present in Oedipus is to never give up. At l...

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...ether compose only a small fraction of how the human animal is expressed in literature. Guilt, tradition, and fantasy make up three insignificant emotional states when compared to the vast framework that makes up every human.

Works Cited

Fergusson, Francis. Oedipus, Myth and Play. Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford, 2001 1462-1469.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective. Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford, 2001 531-537.

Updike, John. Kafka and the Metamorphosis. Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 2nd ed. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford, 2001 545-548.
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