In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is depicted as a morally ambiguous character; neither purely evil or purely good. Oedipus runs from his fate initially to prevent himself from pursuing what he believed was his fate; however, he is lead straight towards his real fate. He kills his biological father as he is headed to Thebes, where he takes the throne. Once he has taken the throne, he begins to try and save his city from the plague by looking for the murder of king Laius. However, what he does not know is that the prophet has told him who has slew the king; therefore, he presents his ignorance as a leader. Not only does his ignorance create the flawed character inside himself, but it also causes him to run from his fate. The significance of Oedipus being a morally ambiguous character is that he cannot run from his fate
This analysis of Oedipus’s character shows how Oedipus, the protagonist and the antagonist against himself, dealt with unfortunate situations which sealed his fate. Oedipus was a strange round character that was really interesting and mysterious. Oedipus’s life was a good example of a true Greek tragedy; he worked himself up to be a great king and ultimately in the end he died with only his perception on life. Oedipus was once a man of power who falls impoverished. He goes from having much respect in his great position to being impure, blind, and expelled from the land that he once ruled.
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.
References to eyesight and vision, both literal and metaphorical, are very frequent in all three of the Theban plays. Quite often, the image of clear vision is used as a metaphor for knowledge and insight. In fact, this metaphor is so much a part of the Greek way of thinking that it is almost not a metaphor at all, just as in modern English: to say “I see the truth” or “I see the way things are” is a perfectly ordinary use of language. However, the references to eyesight and insight in these plays form a meaningful pattern in combination with the references to literal and metaphorical blindness. Oedipus is famed for his clear-sightedness and quick comprehension, but he discovers that he has been blind to the truth for many years, and then he blinds himself so as not to have to look on his own children/siblings. Creon is prone to a similar blindness to the truth in Antigone. Though blind, the aging Oedipus finally acquires a limited prophetic vision. Tiresias is blind, yet he sees farther than others. Overall, the plays seem to say that human beings can demonstrate remarkable powers of intellectual penetration and insight, and that they have a great capacity for knowledge, but that even the smartest human being is liable to error, that the human capability for knowledge is ultimately quite limited and unreliable.
Sophocles use of language allows his characters to show what is going on inside them to the reader. Many works of literature deal with what happens to a person physically and the resulting consequences. Many do deal with the issues that a person endures internally as a result of physical actions. In Sophocles work the events that take place in the human mind are the catalysts that drive on the story, the greatest events are not when an action happens but when the characters come to terms with what has transpired.
The play begins with a request to Oedipus by the townspeople to rid Thebes of the plague, since he had so heroically solved the riddle of the Sphinx in the past. He sends Creon, his brother-in-law and uncle, to the oracles at Delphi. Creon returns with the cause for the plague; the murderer of the former King Laius was never punished for his crime. So Oedipus pledges himself to seek the killer and punish him as the gods wish.
Oedipus is shown to be a well-liked and trusted king among all his townspeople. Solving the riddle of the Sphinx and saving Thebes brought him great fame and popularity. When time came to save the town from Laios’ killer, Oedipus relied much on his intellect. He searched for information about the night of the murder from Creon and Teiresias, but as he learned more details, Oedipus realized not only that he was the killer but also that he married his mother. Throughout his inquiry he believed he was doing good for his people as well as himself, but eventually it brought him shame. Oedipus was humiliated and disgusted and stated, “…kill me; or hurl me into the sea, away from men’s eyes for ever(p882, 183).'; Oedipus’ wanted to be isolated from the people of Thebes because all his respect and fame was destroyed by his fate.
In the drama Oedipus by Sophocles, the determination of the main character leads him to recognize his whole life has been nothing but a lie. Although Oedipus is concerned for the well being of his city, he can’t help but also be concerned for his reputation and how the city of Thebes will look at him. Ultimately, the way Oedipus reacts to events in the play leads to his downfall. Sophocles uses the play to argue that when an individual is too prideful and quick to anger, it can result in ignorance and eventually, as the individual learns of their ignorance they will experience pain and self-destruct.
Oedipus the King is a very interesting play written by Sophocles. It explains the story of the unfortunate prophecy of Oedipus. In this fate, he was supposed to kill his father and marry his mother. It vaguely describes the tragic story of this prophecy and its effects. Oedipus did however possess a tragic flaw that lead to his demise. Anger took over him in most of the play. This lead him to do many things that were not very good for him. For example, Oedipus angrily left his home in Corinth to seek the truth about himself. He also killed Laius at the crossroads while arguing over who had the right of way. This is how his tragic flaw, anger, lead him to his downfall.
Spanning a period of thirty years, Sophocles produced three plays all with similar thematic qualities. One such production features "a noble man who seeks knowledge that in the end destroys him" (70). Although, the Athenian audience was familiar with the original narrative of Oedipus Rex, spectators still found joy in watching the play unfold before them. In the play, Sophocles demonstrates to the audience through the main character that blindness is not necessarily limited to physical blindness, but can equally afflict intellectually capabilities. Such as, he contrasts Teiresias literal loss of sight with Oedipus' metaphorical vision. Sophocles uses physical and symbolic blindness as a reoccurring concept in order to emphasize Oedipus' evolution as a character.
Oedipus Rex”, by Socrates, is a play that shows the fault of men and the ultimate power of the gods. Throughout the play, the main character, Oedipus, continually failed to recognize the fault in human condition, and these failures let to his ultimate demise. Oedipus failed to realize that he, himself was the true answer to the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus ignored the truth told to him by the oracles and the drunk at the party, also. These attempts to get around his fate which was determined by the gods was his biggest mistake. Oedipus was filled with hubris and this angered the gods. He believed he was more that a man. These beliefs cause him to ignore the limits he had in being a man. Oedipus needed to look at Teiresias as his window to his future.
The uniqueness of the story of Oedipus the King lies in the fact that it is not told, but uncovered. Intertwined within are the workings of fate, which ultimately propel the uncovering of the story (Driver 247). The past is relied upon to solve the mystery of the present; however, it is learned by all that actions taken in the past will not change the fate of the future.