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September 27, 2005

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Part Two

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

OEDIPUS: Apollo said through his prophet that I was the man Who should marry his own mother, shed his father’s blood With his own hands. And so, for all these years I have kept clear of Corinth, and no harm has come – Though it would have been sweet to see my parents again.”

Since there’s a lot of talk about how Oedipus is an arrogant guy, I’d like to try to prove that for a king – he was pretty decent. He loved his adopted parents so much that he was willing to give up his money, power, and inheritance to the throne to save his father from a death that he didn’t even have any real evidence for.

OEPIDUS: Thus I associate myself with the oracle And take the side of the murdered king. As for the criminal, I pray to God – Whether it be a lurking thief, or one of a number – I pray that that man’s life be consumed in evil and wretchedness. And as for me, this curse applies no less If it should turn out that the culprit is my guest here, Sharing my hearth. You have heard the penalty.”

After he hears of the plague that’s hurting his city he vows to do whatever he must to end it. He even promises to punish himself if it ends up being a guest of his. He’s indignant that no one had made an investigation into King Laius’s death before. Truth means a great deal to Oedipus. When he hears of Teiresias’s prophecy, he embarks on his own personal and passionate quest for truth.

IOCASTE: Listen to me, I beg you: do not do this thing! OEDIPUS: I will not listen; the truth must be made known.”

When his wife demands that he not investigate Teiresias’s prophecy, he mistakes her pleading as a fear of discovering that he isn’t of noble birth. He replies that he doesn’t care if his mother is a slave and to not worry about it affecting her. He doesn’t care if he discovers that he’s of inferior birth. Truth matters more to him than disgrace or nobility. Oedipus is just a desperate man who wants to develop a better understanding of himself.

Posted by Kayla Sawyer at September 27, 2005 09:17 PM

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