Oedipus: The Scapegoat or The Murderer? Essay

Oedipus: The Scapegoat or The Murderer? Essay

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In the Sophocles play, “Oedipus Rex,” discrepancy between whether Oedipus is the main culprit for murdering King Laius or if Oedipus has become the scapegoat for the cause of the city’s plague that took many lives. The murder of King Laius strikes the interest of many readers and therefore creating the discussion of who would be a culprit for the crime. One side of the argument shows the Greek Gods set a curse upon Oedipus making his destiny one of wrongful conviction for a murderous crime. On the argument’s opposing side the goddesses determine Oedipus’s fate will be to murder his own father unknowingly on his way to becoming King of Thebes. Also, a third argument can be made as to Oedipus did murder his father to save his family from a fate worse than the prophecies set upon the family. Combining these theories makes for an interesting discussion that could aim in many directions. Therefore, these directions of murder may lead to a conclusion that Oedipus has become the city’s scapegoat or his fate was to murder his own father King Laius or another possible conclusion could be Oedipus’s commitment of the crime for the sake of his own family.
To begin with, the protagonist in, “Oedipus Rex,” Oedipus creates a large issue and that issue being he is either a murderer or a scapegoat to the city of Thebes. Such an argument could go either way easily since the statements convicting Oedipus within the play are inconsistent and typically assumptions. Otherwise, if the side arguing that Oedipus is the killer is true the possible basis would be the pursuit of superiority was the causal factor for the murder. Also, the pursuit of greatness was a creation of the gods and therefore the situation of murder was unavoidable for Oedipus and Ki...


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...the true murder in, “Oedipus Rex.” The reasoning for the discussion and solution is the fact that the Greek god Apollo and the prophets made a prophecy that Oedipus’s horrible fate would become true in the play. Therefore, since Oedipus became to superior to himself it lead to his own downfall as he paid, “The ultimate price for intelligibility is paid by the famous solver of riddles.” (Silberman 298)







Works Cited

Griffith, R. Drew. “Oedipus Pharmakos? Alleged Scapegoating in Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King”.” Phoenix 47.2 (1993): 95-114. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

Silberman, Lauren. “God and Man in “Oedipus Rex”.” College Literature 13.3 (1986): 292-299. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

Sophocles. “Oedipus Rex.” Literature: A Portable Anthology. 1972. Ed. Janet E. Gardner, Beverly Lawn, Jack Ridl, Peter Schakel. Boston, New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. 733-76. Print

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