Oedipus the King: The Guilt of Oedipus

Oedipus the King: The Guilt of Oedipus

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Oedipus is guilty because, despite knowing the prophecy that he will commit parricide and incest, he yet kills an elderly gentleman and sleeps with an elderly women. The choice was his, and this accounts for his guilt.
     This is implausible because, at the time he killed the old man (his father) he had no idea of the prophecy that foreseen this happening. Even if he would have known about the Gods saying that he would do these things, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. For Oedipus thought his parents were different than who they really were. He had no idea that his real parents knew of the phrophecy and had him put in the mountains with pins in his ankles to die. He had no idea that a sheperd saved him and gave him to the King of Corinth. So he had no idea that the old man he met where the tree roads meet, was his real father, and he had no way of knowing that Jocasta was his real mother. So even if he knew that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, he wouldn't have know that Laius was his real father and that Jocasta was his real mother. Even though the decisions to kill the old man and sleep with the older women were choices he made, he had no idea that these would be his parents. Also if the Gods make a prophecy, how is it that a mere mortal could change his own fate? A mere mortal cannot even see a God it its true form. So how could Oedipus defeat the prophecy made by a God. Although Oedipus may have been wrong to do what he did, I do not think you can use the word guilty to describe him.
     

     Even though Oedipus may be the hero, he is also selfish and ruthless. One example of his ruthlessness is when he meets Laius at the place where the three roads meet. Instead of letting the older man pass, he makes a scene, why should he be the one to move? He is royalty. He believes that he should move for no man. He is also selfish in the fact that when Teresias enters and gives Oedipus the clues that tell him that he has killed Laius, he refuses to believe him, to the point of insulting him, and kicking him out.

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He is also ruthless in the fact that he fails to see all of the signs pointing to him as the killer, even as they become more and more visible to him, he just denies them more and more.
     This play can be interpreted as an "affirmation of the terrible", in accordance to Nietzsche's aesthetics, by stating that, "In its essence life is terrible, amoral and merciless." If life was all fun and games and nothing bad ever happened, it wouldn't be reality. The life of Oedipus is filled with terrible, amoral and merciless things. If the fact that when he is born his parents put pins in his legs, and take him to the mountains and leave him to die wasn't bad enough. He was damned by the Gods with the prophecy of killing his father and sleeping with his mother. Even after that, he ends up stabbing himself in his eyes, becoming blind, and banishing himself from the town of Thebes.
     Also "Great art isn't pretty art, because the latter whitewashes the essence of life."




Oedipus's life was not pretty, with him unknowingly murdering his real father, and then
him ending up sleeping with, and having children by, his own mother. Then him leaving
his own children, who are also his brothers and sisters, with no mother and no father as Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus banishes himself. His self blinding, and self banishment only shows that the ugliness of life cannot be stopped. It also shows that whatever is in the cards, is to be and that cannot be changed.
     According to the aesthetics of Schopenhauer, "Craving, desiring, wanting, or in short willing, is futile. To the extent that we will, we are less happy.
     In Oedipus's quest to find the man who killed Laius he finds many clues along the way that point to him as the killer, and as the clues grow stronger and stronger, and point more and more towards him as the killer of Laius. Oedipus becomes less and less happy, and more and more troubled. Especially when he hears what Jocasta has to say, about the prophets and her son killing his father and sleeping with his mother. That's when it dawns upon him that he may just be the man who killed his father, and if that is true, than he is sleeping with his mother, and had had children with her. He would have been able to stay happy and would not have become blinded, or banished, he would have been able to stay as the King of Thebes.
     "Art can also bring satisfaction by showing the futility of willing."
     



Had Oedipus seen the futility of willing, as he was trying to find the killer of Laius. He would have never stumbled upon the fact that his real parents attempted to kill
him. Also he never would have found out that he was the killer of Laius, and brother and father to the children he had with Jocasta. Had he not willed, he would have been fine.
Beacuse he willed, he ended up blind and bannished from the city of Thebes.
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