Essay about Morality in Oedipus Tyrannus

Essay about Morality in Oedipus Tyrannus

Length: 1680 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In both modern times and the time of the ancient Greeks Sophocles’ play Oedipus Tyrannus is seen as the quintessential model of Greek Tragedy. The literature masterfully incorporates intricate questions of morality and “perhaps no classical Greek play 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 evidence throughout the play illustrates how Oedipus’s reckless decisions lead to violations against his parents. As a result of Oedipus’s choices concerning his interactions with the oracle at Delphi, his shameful attack of a man on the road to Thebes, and most importantly his allowance of stubborn pride and blindness to overshadow the truth, he is alone accountable for his crimes.

Oedipus’s response to the oracle’s prophecy thrusts him on to the tumultuous course of brutally murdering his father and sharing his mother’s bed. As a youth, Oedipus travels to Apollo’s oracle at Delphi hoping to gain insight into his own identity. This act of seeking out answers is completely Oedipus’s choice. It is not a 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 “wed [his] mother” and “kill the father who begot [him]” (Oedipus Tyrannus, p.755&757). The blunt deliverance of this prophecy shatters Oedipus and he chooses to believe the oracle without doubt. Oedipus is incapable ...

... middle of paper ...

...erously trying to steal his throne. With thoughtless rage Oedipus screams, “Do you own a face so bold that you can come before my house when you are clearly the murderer of this man and manifestly pirate of my throne?” (Oedipus Tyrannus, 507-510). Oedipus is “ego driven”(Harris and Platzner, Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.653) and in a frenzied attempt to defend himself he foolishly concludes that Creon must be after his prestigious title. He immediately and unfairly labels Creon as a grasping murderer. His lack of wisdom and understanding causes him to act irrationally and prevents him from discovering the truth. The evidence in support of Oedipus’s blinding pride and the fact that he chooses 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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus Essay examples

- Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus Throughout the years, there have been many interpretations of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. However, one of the most interesting interpretations of the play would have to be one that uses the theories of Sigmund Freud to analyze the actions of the characters. The use of various aspects of Freudian theory such as the id, ego, superego, and the Oedipus Complex reveals Oedipus and his behaviors throughout the course of the play. In order to completely understand Oedipus and his actions, we must first understand the basics of Freud’s theories....   [tags: Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus]

Better Essays
1357 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on The Catastrophe Of Oedipus By Sophocles

- The Catastrophe of Oedipus In the play, Oedipus Tyrannus, Sophocles, illustrates how fate and free will could determine one 's destiny. Sophocles is a well-known tragedian who wrote more than one-hundred Greek dramas for Greek festivals. While his plays entertained countless people in Greek carnivals in his plays also made his intended audience to become acquainted with Athens’ government, social forms as well as its’ religion. In this play the main character, Oedipus, is represented as a man of sudden action, honest, and great insight....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Jocasta, Delphi]

Better Essays
1221 words (3.5 pages)

Morality in Oedipus Rex Essay

- 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....   [tags: Classics, Literary Analysis, Greek Literature]

Better Essays
1782 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about Word-association in Oedipus The King

- Word-association in Oedipus The King       Let us play a little game, shall we. We have all played this at one point in our lives; it's the word-association game. Think red- you may think apple. Now think green- you may once again think apple. Wait a minute, how can that be. How can two words that are unrelated have the same picture in the mind of an individual. This is the basic idea of perception. Now let us apply this basic concept to the text of Oedipus Tyrannus. The main character, Oedipus, has lived his entire life with basic preconceived notion of his own existence....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
1262 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Freud and Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus

- Were we to temporarily embrace the theories of Freud in our analysis of Oedipus Tyrannus and subsequent plays, we would find ourselves with an incestuous protagonist, so mad in his quest to power that he seeks to kill his father and will stop at nothing to achieve this. It is where Freud misconstrues the very essence of the play that the audience is intended to find its meaning. Were Oedipus aware of his actions throughout the course of the story there would have been no story. Never once was he in the conscious pursuit of his father’s death or mother’s marriage bed, and upon hearing of his own actions falls into crippling despair....   [tags: Oedipus Tyrannus]

Better Essays
739 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Sympathy for Oedipus in the Oedipus Tyrannus

- Sympathy for Oedipus in the Oedipus Tyrannus       The aim of tragedy is to evoke fear and pity, according to Aristotle, who cited the Oedipus Tyrannus as the definitive tragic play. Thus pity must be produced from the play at some point. However, this does not necessarily mean that Oedipus must be pitied. We feel great sympathy ('pathos') for Jocasta's suicide and the fate of Oedipus' daughters. Oedipus could evoke fear in us, not pity. He is a King of an accursed city willing to use desperate methods, even torture to extract truth from the Shepherd....   [tags: Oedipus Tyrannus Essays]

Better Essays
2239 words (6.4 pages)

Oedipus Analysis : Oedipus Tyrannus By Sophocles Essay

- The ancient story documented in the writing Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles follows the story of a clever and strong hero who has tragedy befall him. He is fated to kill his father and marry his mother as a result of his father not heeding a warning from the gods. Upon discovering this, Oedipus blinds himself in excruciating guilt, to cut off his senses from the world around him. This guilt is not deserved by Oedipus because he committed the heinous crimes unwittingly he thus, making him innocent of the actions that spurn on the tragic events that occur....   [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Poetics, Tragedy]

Better Essays
907 words (2.6 pages)

Oedipus Tyrannos by Sophocles Essay

- Oedipus Tyrannos by Sophocles Sophocles uses a mixture of both visual and emotional imagery to create the morally questioning, Greek tragedy ‘Oedipus Tyrannos’. He presents the audience with an intense drama, which addresses the reality and importance of the gods that the Greeks fervently believed in. The play also forces the audience to ask themselves if there is such a concept as fate.      From the very beginning of Oedipus, it is made clear “that his destiny be one of fate and worse”. The irony is that Oedipus unknowingly repeatedly predicts his own fate: “It was I who called down these curses on that man.” Oedipus has unconsciously married his mother and killed his father, just as the...   [tags: Oedipus Tyrannos Sophocles Essays]

Better Essays
1607 words (4.6 pages)

Vision and Blindness In Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles Essay example

- The play Oedipus Tyrannus, written by Sophocles, is a play filled with symbols and irony involving the aspect of both vision and blindness. This aspect of the novel takes on an important role in the life of Oedipus, the ruler of Thebes. He originally feels as though he knows and sees everything, nevertheless, as the motto of the Oracle at Delphi states, he does not "know thyself," as he will find out toward the end of the play. The notion of seeing and blindness becomes an important and ironic symbol in the tragic fall of Oedipus, a man who could not escape his lot or moira....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Better Essays
670 words (1.9 pages)

Oedipus Tyrannus: Innocent Essay

- "Innocent until proven guilty", this expression seems very simple to understand, once proven guilty, innocence is entirely out of the picture. However, proving that an individual is guilty is not always an easy task. There are many factors to look upon and review before making a final statement or decision, many laws that may annul the fact that someone is guilty. Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannus" is a perfect example of how difficult it is to prove that someone is guilty, or to prove that someone is innocent for that matter....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Better Essays
753 words (2.2 pages)