Theme Of Self Control In Oedipus Rex

analytical Essay
1333 words
1333 words

Self-control can be defined as the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions or desires, especially in difficult situations. Comparatively, self-image is the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance or personality. Often self-image and self-control are thought of as separate entities, but in the case of the tragic play “Oedipus Rex,” Sophocles demonstrates the connection between the two through the tragic events that occur. Integrated in the plot is the growth of the character of Oedipus, for it is he whom indices the investigation to stop the current plague in his kingdom of Thebes, his personal rashness and ignorance of the past come back to haunt him. Oedipus’ incautiousness when discovering the true state of Thebes is …show more content…

Ironically, he initially became a King by solving a riddle and now he is trying to solve another to try and maintain his image and control his destiny. “Human happiness is built on an illusion” (Dodds 27). This quote is a good connection to the role of Oedipus, because while attempting to keep the Kingdom under control and keep his image unharmed, he is left in the dark by ignoring the signs. The irony of ignoring the past continues when “Creon brings the information that there will be no relief until the murderer of Laius is expelled from the city… [And] the murder mystery slowly becomes a quest for Oedipus ' identity” (Derrida). Building upon the investigation, Oedipus grows a keen interest for who he truly is. Is there any truth to the prophecies that which he and Jocasta have seemingly forgot about? At this point, it seems as though Oedipus must finally face his fear and discover the truth that he has been avoiding for so long. The only way for Oedipus to find out the lies he has been living is to seek for the only witness of his father’s murder, a shepherd. Only until Oedipus threatens to kill the shepherd does he tell the truth and reveal the tragic events which have been avoided for so long. In this moment before certainty of the past is brought to light, the relationship between self-control and self-image is linked and soon to be changed …show more content…

A key example to how one’s image can be altered through the loss or gain of self-control, is demonstrated when the horrifying past that was avoided until this point is revealed. Furthermore, the shepherd went on to tell the truth even after Jocasta begged not to. It was unveiled that Oedipus was the cause of the plague, killing his father, and marrying his mother. The shock is so incredibly horrifying for both Oedipus and Jocasta that they both take extreme measures to try and forget about what they had just heard. Jocasta hangs herself, and Oedipus gouges out his own eyes and requests to be exiled from Thebes. “Oedipus is a kind of symbol of the human intelligence which cannot rest until it has solved all riddles-even the last riddle,” which ironically is that both characters relate to the relationship being examined, as they both lose all control of the situation and destroy and image that they had. Consequently, the abrupt actions taken by Oedipus to blind himself from the world as he now knows it is in a way courageous. He takes responsibility for his actions by saying “this horror is me…and no one but I is strong enough to bear it.” Although his image is altered forever he shows great self-control by acting responsible for the plague and taking his anger out on himself. As Dodds points out “Oedipus is great because he accepts the

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how sophocles' "oedipus rex" demonstrates the connection between self-image and self control through the tragic events that occur.
  • Analyzes how oedipus shows self-control and pride in his image when he doesn't believe any of the prophets or oracles are factual.
  • Analyzes how the ignorance of oedipus' past leads him to realize the truth of his current dilemma in lifting the plague from thebes.
Continue ReadingCheck Writing Quality

Harness the Power of AI to Boost Your Grades!

  • Haven't found what you were looking for? Talk to me, I can help!
Continue Reading