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...
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...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.
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