Oedipus Tyrannus Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 25 October 2016

Oedipus Tyrannus

Oedipus Trynnus was Sophocles masterpiece and it occupies a key place in the Greek’s mythologies and probably the most famous. This Sophocles’s piece of work is also referred to as Oedipus Rex and was performed for the time in C429Bc. It was a play that was set in Thebes, a city that had been rocked by plague. In this mythology, the mother of Oedipus committed suicide by hanging herself while his real son Oedipus self exiled himself after he learned the truth that he had married his own biological mother.

Oedipus had been abandoned by his father after the oracle told him that he would suffer in the hands of his own son and for this reason he ordered him to be killed. As he was ordered, shepherd refused to kill the child and gave it to another shepherd after he was unable to raise the child himself who then gave it to a childless king of Colinth, Polybus. He was raised and brought up in his courtyard until he was fully mature. All this time he never knew that those were not his real parents but through rumors, he learned that they were not his real parents and he felt like killing the king, Polybus.

He decided to consult the Oracle over this issue but it declined to tell the truth although he later established the truth. The oracle seemed to ignore his question and instead told him that he would mate with his own mother and that he would shed the blood of his own sire with his own hands. (Sophocles, Meineck P, and Woodruff P. 2000) Oedipus pretended not to be hurt and continued to believe that Merope and Polybus were his real parents. Later he contemplated of leaving Corinth for Thebes to avoid the thoughts of killing them.

On his way to Thebes on his chariot, he met a man whom they disagreed over who had the right to pass first. As the quarrel ensued, due to his arrogance Oedipus killed him but this was part of the prophecy that he would kill his parents using his own hands. He was not aware that that was his biological father. This action cannot be blamed on him that he killed his own father for it was a prophecy that he would shed the blood of his own sire and so he did.

What should be known is that Oedipus was just fulfilling the prophecy of the oracle although he was doing this unconsciously. At time went on, Crossby H. (1860) he managed to solve a riddle that had left many baffled. This was known as Sphinx’s riddle and the riddle was, “what walks on four legs in the morning then at noon it uses two legs and in the evening on three legs? ” Sphinx never imagined that anybody would unravel the mystery and so when it was done, she threw herself off the cliff side.

Although again not aware of what Oedipus did, saving the world from the curse, he opened himself another door by being made the king and in addition he was given queen Jocasta to marry. This was her real mother but he was not aware. At this juncture oracle’s prophecy could be said to have materialized although none of the key players was aware even Oedipus himself despite the fact that he had been briefed by the Oracle. Immediately after he assumed the throne (Sophocles. 2006), he was promised a Prague by the gods for the murder of Laius.

For this reason, he took it upon himself to look for the killer although he was not aware that he was the murderer. In aid of the search, a blind prophet, Tiresias was approached so that he would assist in bringing the killers to book. Soon, he was given a warning not to follow the matter and was blamed by the king of killing the man. In his retaliation he told the king that he was looking for himself something that made the king to look incredulous. The king in his reaction accused Teresias of being in conspiracy with Jocasta’s brother Creon to overthrow him. (Seagal C. 2000)

It should be understood that the king had no other option apart from doing that because he was obliged to do so by the oracle although he was not aware that he was fulfilling the prophecy that had been made earlier to him that he would kill his own sire using his bare hands and the same happened when he killed the man over the chariot’s passage rights. Again as it had already prophesied that he would sleep with his own mother, the same happened when he married Jocasta, the queen who was given to him after she unraveled Sphinx’s riddle something that saved Thebes’s kingdom from gods’ curse.

So he was just accomplishing what was predestined to happen in his life by the Oracle. He had no power to reverse this and so he was not to be blamed for his actions. If Oedipus knew that the man whom he quarreled with was his father and that the lady that was given to him as a reward was his biological mother, he wouldn’t have done what he did and so he was innocent and should not be blamed for his actions. (Crossby H. 1860) Oedipus came to learn the naked truth when king Polybus who raised Oedipus died and a messenger who was the only witness to the murder of Lais came to Thebes to convey the message of Polybus’ death (Wilson A. 994). He had run away from Thebes because he did not want to be the one that would reveal the secret. He kept his secret and the truth came to the right when the second messenger accompanied by a shepherd told him that his real parentage was unknown. While they were still seated there, her wife told him the truth something that hurt him very much. The truth was that he was the kid who was abandoned by Laius after he was told by the oracle that he would bring suffering to his own father.

After this, his wife ran away and committed suicide by hanging herself and when the king learned of his death from his messenger he gouged his eyes out with the golden brooches that were on Jacasta’s dress. (Hunt A. J. 1937) This left him a confused man and that was why he blinded himself so that he would never meet his father in the after world. He even decided to exile himself leaving his children in the hands of Jocanta’s brother, care. At first he insisted to have the company of the children but Creon refused. In short though unaware, all his actions were predetermined and he was just doing what was in the Oracle’s design.

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  • Date: 25 October 2016

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