To What Extent is Oedipus Responsible for His Own Downfall? Essay

To What Extent is Oedipus Responsible for His Own Downfall? Essay

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A special attribute of Greek tragedy is that the central character is known to have a tragic imperfection that contribute to the fall of the character. In the play Oedipus Rex this characteristic is not an exception. Nevertheless, until what point was Oedipus responsible for his own downfall? There are many theories that can give an answer to this question. Was it destiny or a manipulation of the gods? Or was it a punishment for his actions to his parents? Was anyone else responsible for his downfall too (Jocasta, Laius)? In this essay I will prove that even though he is not the only one to blame for his downfall, he is the major person responsible for his ruin.

We can not make him responsible for acting in the way he did. If we were in his position I am sure that everyone will act like him. He did not know about his past and because of that it is hard to believe when people said that he was going to kill his father and sleep with his mother. He lived his life without knowing about his past and so we can not hold him responsible. In fact, we should guilt Jocasta because she knew everything and did nothing to stop because she is very skeptical about prophesies.

JOCASTA: A prophet? Well then, free yourself of every charge! Listen to me and learn some peace of mind: no skill in world, nothing human can penetrate the future. Here is proof, quick and to the point.

An oracle to Laius one fine day (I won't say from Apollo himself but his underlings, his priests) and it said that doom would strike him down at the hands of a son, our son, to be born of our own flesh and blood. (Line 779-787)

In this quote we can clearly see that Jocasta knew about the prophesy and she did not believe on it. Even when her husband...


... middle of paper ...


...ish himself from Thebes? My explanation to this is that he has gave his word to do what the gods commanded. "The god? His command was clear, every word: death for the father killer, the curse - he said destroy me." (Line 1575) This quote make it clear for us that for him keeping his word is supreme above everything else. Oedipus downfall is not the result of fate or a punishment because of his sins, but rather the result of keeping his word, and he takes responsibility of it. In this way he remains true to his word as an strong, honorable, and courageous man. He remain true to his culture and keeps his word against fate.

In conclusion, as we see that he is not the only one to blame for his downfall, he is the major person responsible for his ruin. We clearly see that the combination of all these factors make the perfect atmosphere for his downfall to happened.

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