The play Oedipus the King, translated by Robert Fagles, is a story of drama and tragedy. Oedipus’ pride and morals cause him to take fate into his own hands and it ends up blowing up in his face. He was abandoned as a baby and was raised by the king and queen of Corinth. When he reached manhood, he was informed by an oracle that he would one day kill his father and marry his mother. He left Corinth forever and along his way he came to cart carrying his real father. Out of rage, he killed everyone including his father. In Thebes, he defeated the Sphinx. His reward was kingship and the dead king’s wife, his mother. Oedipus tried to change his future but eventually fate caught up with him.
Oedipus, as a king, was both caring and conceited. He talked as though everyone should know his name but at the same time worked to solve the illness that plagued his people. As an investigator, he was harsh, determined, and at times mean to the ones that he interrogated. As a husband and father, he was loving and caring, and as an arch-criminal, he was humble and accepting. His most predominant characteristic is being moral. He ran when he was told that he destined to kill his father and marry his mother. He gouged his eyes out when he found out that he was married to his mother and fathered her children. The characteristics that soften his as being moral were that he was prideful and determined. His pride and determination caused the events of his life to be brought to light and made him look unmoral.
His personality causes him to continue with the investigation because he is prideful, determined, and in denial. His determination drives him to push the investigation into who killed King Laius. His pride keeps him from being the royal scapegoat when asked to be. His denial that he actually killed his father, married his mother, and fathered her children kept him investigating the death of King Laius. Eventually in the end he accepts his fate which he
tried to avoid for a long time. He accepted his fate which was a humble and noble act by a king. That’s what makes his act the greatest act of kingship of all. He sacrificed himself for the betterment of his people knowing that he had done wrong and needed to be punished.
In this play, Oedipus tried so very hard to control his own fate from the time he reached manhood to when it caught up to him. His fate caught up with him. Everything he didn’t want to become and tried to avoid came true in the end. It was a tragic ending for a man who tried so hard not be who ended up being.
Oedipus Fate Outline
Thesis: Oedipus the King tries to take fate into his own hands and it backfires. I. Discuss the character Oedipus as king, investigator, husband, father, and arch-criminal A. King is caring, investigator he is determined, as a husband and father he is loving, and as an arch-criminal he is reluctant to give up power
II. What seems to be his predominant characteristic
A. the King’s predominant characteristic is that he moral
III. Under what circumstances does he exhibit this characteristic A. He feels for his people and tries to find a cure for them to heal their suffering
IV. What additional characteristics does he have that soften this predominant characteristic A. Pride and Determination, they were the down fall of Oedipus V. How does his personality essentially force him to first begin his investigation A. He is caring and determined to find a cure for his people, which turned into an investigation into who killed King Laius
VI. In what way is this final acceptance perhaps the greatest act of kingship of all, thus showing forth his arête in the best light possible A.