Essay on Oedipus the King: The Innocence of Oedipus

Essay on Oedipus the King: The Innocence of Oedipus

Length: 1454 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Sophocles' Oedipus Rex Is Innocent

Because Oedipus knows nothing about the past of Thebes, he is not an assassin. Oedipus committed murder but unknowingly of who King Laius was. Oedipus' honor was his claim against the murder. Had it been the other way around and Oedipus had lost the battle, King Laius' alibi would have also been for reasons of honor: for reasons of royalty. Oedipus was royalty and knew it as well did King Laius. The main idea behind Oedipus' innocence is this "royalty." Regardless of either of their class standings a fight occurred and the one to start had been King Laius? men, or group, the fact that they lost is not the fault of Oedipus. In other words, King Laius and his men wanted to discipline Oedipus for not showing honor towards a king. Yet, in return, Oedipus wanted respect in return from King Laius and his men. They were both rightfully due the same amount of respect yet King Laius? and his men felt they were entitled to pass first. The first blow came from the driver of King Laius? chariot. This shows how Oedipus reacted in defense and feared for his life as well as his honor. Oedipus is an innocent man whose fate was also his destiny. There was no way to stop the prophecy no matter what action was taken. Throughout his life he ruled for his people. He was looked at as a "mortal set apart to face life?s common issues and the trials, which the gods dispensed to men" (3). He was the hero, the one that everyone looked to in a time of need. It can be said of his case that the good should outweigh the bad. That Oedipus reacted as any other would. Though the prophecy is what he was running from, the prophecy is what he ran into. Oedipus did not want his fate to be his destiny. He wanted to be honest?to be a savior. He wanted to be a ruler?to do for others as he would want for himself. His honor was his destiny. As far as he knew he left from Corinth to prevent this humiliation of wedding his mother and killing his father. He wanted to be true and always be looked at with respect, even when he traveled. He told his people of Thebes how they "suffer?but not one among them suffers more than him" (4). Not one of them "grieves as much as he does alone" (4) He continues later on again to say "I sorrow more for them than for myself" (4). He feels every ones pain. He is a true leader one who puts his people before himself. One who underst...

... middle of paper ...

...ther. Oedipus is an innocent man who listened to a prophecy. "Ask what you wish. I am not the murderer" (14). Oedipus, until about the end, believed himself as innocent and that he was. "O God! Am I cursed and cannot see it?" (18). He didn?t know where to turn was he being told the truth? He was but that wasn?t what he wanted to hear for a few reasons. One he wanted proof that he did commit the murder. And second he wanted to know if the prophecy came true and learning the truth would get him there. The accusations against him where not as they seem. Yes?he did commit a murder on his way to Thebes, but who is to say that he was wrong? Who shall judge his life?s fate as his fault and his alone? Did the gods not hold some blame? Did Apollo not get the ball rolling by telling Jocasta and Laius what the future would bring them? Yes! That is the key to Oedipus? innocence. His fate belonged in the hands of Apollo and Apollo let the secret out.


Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus. Trans. Luci Berkowitz and Theodore F. Brunner. New York: Norton & Co. 1970: 3-18. Sheppard, J. T. The Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 1920: xxic-xl.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about Oedipus the King

- Oedipus Rex Throughout history, writers and philosophers have expressed their views about how the life of man is ultimately defined in their works. The Greeks have played their part in this quest. One of the great plays of the ancient Greek world that led the way for others was Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. In this play, Sophocles shows us a chapter from the life of man. Throughout the book, he hints at the idea that life poses a riddle for man to solve thereby being a quest for the answer. He also hints to us that life is seemingly predetermined by the gods’ desires, giving rise to a fated world....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Free Essays
947 words (2.7 pages)

Free Oedipus the King Essays: Oedipus as the Hero Archetype

- Oedipus as the Hero Archetype   The character Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King follows a literary pattern known as the hero archetype. The hero archetype is a pattern involved with transformation and redemption. Manifest in three stages called the quest, the initiation, and the sacrifice, Oedipus is transformed from the redeemer of the city to the cause of its downfall. These three stages are clearly revealed and although they are separate entities, each intertwine. Prior to the opening of the story Oedipus begins the first stage, known as the quest....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
493 words (1.4 pages)

Oedipus the King Essay

- Oedipus the King Oedipus the King is the perfect example of a tragedy. It contains a complete combination of all the features of a tragedy. Aristotle in his Poetics[1] defines Oedipus as being 'a definite example of the form and purpose of tragedy'. In tragedies the Greeks dramatized climactic events in the lives of heroes, and Oedipus' story is no exception. By using many different literary devices it brings moral dilemmas of action and motive to the public stage. The action is set out over the timeframe of one day, which will according to the prophet Tiresias will bring Oedipus' 'birth' and 'destruction'....   [tags: Classics Oedipus King Essays]

Powerful Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and the Human Condition

- Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and the Human Condition Oedipus is living in a dream from which he is only just beginning to awake. In this dream, he not only believes that he is in control of his own fate but that he is in control of his own identity. He assumes that he has three virtues: wisdom, reason, and self-control. When he attempts to use these virtues, however, he discovers that he is mistaken on all three counts. His first mistake is believing that he is wise. From this wisdom he hopes to maintain control over the events around him, but true wisdom is actually surrendering to the fact that control is an illusion, a "seeming." His second mistake is believing that he is a rational...   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Powerful Essays
1394 words (4 pages)

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - The Fate of Oedipus

- The Fate of Oedipus in Oedipus the King   In "Oedipus the King" there comes a point in the play where Oedipus learns something that plays an important role throughout the play.   He learns from a  oracle that he will eventually kill his own Father and sleep with his own mother.  As one could imagine this is a shock to Oedipus, and he does not believe the oracle.  However, he cannot prevent any of this from happening because it is his fate.  Oedipus is a victim of circumstances beyond his control, his life had already been planned by the Greek Gods....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Powerful Essays
1223 words (3.5 pages)

Oedipus the King: The Tragic Flaws of Oedipus Essay

- Fate chose him to kill his dad, marry his mom, and discover it all in Oedipus Rex, Sophocles’ tragedy. Oedipus was so determined to save Thebes from the plague bestowed on them by Apollo. But little did he know that he was the source of it all. His constant reversal of fortune, neutrality, and suffering make him the perfect example of a classic Greek tragic hero. One moment, Oedipus is brimming with hope; the next, he’s sure that he is the killer of his father, King Laius. Every time Oedipus thinks that it can’t possibly be him, evidence proves otherwise....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, 2014]

Powerful Essays
866 words (2.5 pages)

Oedipus The King Essay

- Oedipus the King by Sophocles is more than just a plain tragedy. This play is a suspense thriller, where every character involved with Oedipus learned that fate is determined only by the gods. In this specific play, Apollo was deciding god that predicted the fate of every person in the city of Thebes. This book represents a symbol of the lives of many, showing that you can not run away from fate because it decision that will forever remain. It was written in the honor of, the god of theater, Dionysos....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Powerful Essays
2540 words (7.3 pages)

Essay about Oedipus the King

- Oedipus In the play “Oedipus the King”, the main character, Oedipus tries intensively to figure out the truth about himself. There were many instances where Oedipus was looking for the truth but instead was led away from it. As Oedipus searches the city of Thebes for the truth, his ruin is ironically mentioned and foreshadowed in the narrative. His quest is revealed to him early on in the play, though it undergoes a number of changes before he is actually examining his own life and heritage....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Free Essays
579 words (1.7 pages)

Oedipus the King Essay examples

- Oedipus seeks knowledge, but only up to a point Sophocles' classical Greek tragedy Oedipus the King is one of the centrepieces of Western literature. It also has a broader place in modern Western culture, courtesy of Dr Freud and his Oedipus complex, in which the process of growing up male is bound up with competition for the mother and the symbolic overthrow and supplanting, or ``killing', of the father. The play can be read as a traditional study of the "fatal flaw' theory of tragedy, in which Oedipus is brought down by hubris....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Free Essays
814 words (2.3 pages)

Essay about Justice in Oedipus the King

- Justice in Oedipus the King After reading Oedipus the King, one may think that in this story, there was no justice, and nobody could avoid their fate. King Laius and Queen Jocasta, fearing the prophecy of the Delphic oracle, had the young Oedipus left on Mount Cithaeron to die, but the father dies and the son marries the mother anyway. Oedipus, seemingly a good person, also tries to avoid the second prophecy, only to fulfill the first. But even through all this, I have done some research and feel that there was justice in Oedipus, The King, and their fate wasn't completely sealed....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Free Essays
459 words (1.3 pages)