Morality in Oedipus Rex Essay

Morality in Oedipus Rex Essay

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In both the current era and the time of the ancient Greeks Sophocles’ play Oedipus Tyrannus is seen as the quintessential model of Greek Tragedy. This is due to the intricate questions of morality that are masterfully woven into the literature and the fact that “perhaps no classical Greek play that has stimulated as much critical discussion” (Harris and Platzner Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.648). One of the dominant arguments the tragedy generates is whether Oedipus is responsible for the abhorrent crimes of patricide and incest. The answer to which is yes. To be human is to have choice and it is evident throughout the play that Oedipus’s reckless decisions are to blame for the violations against his parents. Due to Oedipus’s choices concerning his interactions with the oracle at Delphi, his shameful attack of a man on the road to Thebes, and predominantly his allowance of stubborn pride and blindness to overshadow the truth make him alone accountable for his crimes.

QUESTIONS THUS FAR: Citations in introduction? CHECK ON CITATIONS!!!! And check on how well the ideas flow and if I am really answering the question properly,

Oedipus’s response to the oracle’s prophecy thrust him on to the tumultuous course of brutally murdering his father and sharing a bed with his mother. As a youth Oedipus travels to Apollo’s oracle at Delphi in the hopes of gaining insight into his own identity. This act of seeking out answers is completely Oedipus’s choice. It is not chance governed by fate and his decision is the foundation for the gripping tragedy that will consume him (Harris and Platzner, Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.649). The news the oracle delivers to Oedipus is catastrophic. He is told that he will ...


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...hooses to be ignorant to the truth rather than see reality is abundant. His choice to blame others for his wrongs and his arrogance make him responsible for his crimes.

Sophocles’s tragic play Oedipus Tyrannus induces catharsis in the audience and rouses exciting debate revolving around the morality concerned with Oedipus’s crimes. It is often argued whether Oedipus is truly responsible for the loathsome crimes of patricide and incest. Some may argue that Oedipus was merely an unfortunate victim of cruel fate but this would be an incorrect assumption. It is clearly demonstrated throughout the play that a product of blind pride and deeply questionable choices make Oedipus responsible for his crimes. From his dealings with the Oracle at Delphi and his actions while traveling to Thebes one can determine Oedipus’s terrible decisions make him undeniably responsible.

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