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Oedipus Rex Essay, Research Paper

Oedipus Rex

Oedipus was not composed by his fate; he was responsible for his own conduct. From his very birth Oedipus was predetermined to marry his mother and murder his father. His situation was inevitable. Although Apollo exhorted the prophecy in Delphi, this event only drove Oedipus to fulfill his destiny.

There were a series of events that occurred causing Oedipus did to lure himself to destruction. Oedipus wouldn’t have cursed himself so ignorantly had he been more diligent to analyze the murder with the former King Laius. He deliberately wanted to curse the murder. (On page 438; lines 226-271) “Upon the murder I invoke this curse- whether he is one man and all unknown, or one of many- may he wear out his life in misery or doom! If with my knowledge he lives at my hearth, I pray that I myself may feel my curse.”

Oedipus was a unique individual for his time. He wasn’t seen as being a perfectionist. The impression of the play was to give off a message of imperfection. Cases such as Oedipus’s could be related to our lives. Life is unpredictable, anything can evolve from it; even a situation such as Oedipus’s may find its way to reality. Oedipus had too much emphasis on his self. He was headed in the wrong direction. Distrusting, disobeying, and disbelieving the Gods all played a role in his misfortune. Oedipus calls the old oracle a liar after he was told he was responsible for Laius’s murder. He left his home, Corinth, assuming he could deceive the gods from his fate. Unfortunately, Apollo’s oracle would be awaiting Oedipus’s arrival no matter where he went or what he did. The chorus’s view of Oedipus’s self-love, and disrespect for the gods was frail. “If a man walks with haughtiness of hand or word and gives no heed to Justice and the shrines of Gods despises- may an evil doom smite him for his ill-starred pride of heart!- if he reaps gains without justice and will not hold from impiety and his fingers itch for untouchable things. When such things are done, what man shall contrive to shield his soul from the shafts of the God?”

Oedipus was preoccupied with the mystification of his birth, and the death of Laius. He was striving for the truth. Many thought Oedipus should relieve himself of this burden, and let the mystery travel unsolved. But Oedipus couldn’t release himself from this obsession. Jacasta tells Oedipus, “I beg you – do not hunt this out- I beg you, if you have any care for your own life. What I am suffering is enough.” Oedipus replies, “I will not be persuaded to let chance of finding out the whole thing clearly.” Not even his wife could stop him from overcoming the immense obstacle of resolving his question.

Unfortunately for Oedipus the monstrosity he most affectionately feared became a reality. A herdsman unlocks the leash of Oedipus’s questions. Oedipus was a true victim of self inflicted fate. “I who first saw the light bred of a match accursed, and accursed in my living with them, cursed in my killing.” Obviously Oedipus feels he had been damned. But as the story comes to an end Oedipus gouges out his eyes. The chorus didn’t see this as a reasonable action, why would he do such a thing? Oedipus answers, “It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, that brought me this bitterness, my sorrows to completion. But was the hand that struck me was none but my own.” Oedipus was guilty. He is undeniably responsible for the death of his father, and for marrying his mother. Most of all Oedipus faulted in his attempt to raise himself to the same level of the gods, while trying to flee from his destiny.

None the less Oedipus had a conscience, and knew he must be punished for his sins. Otherwise he wouldn’t have gouged his eyes out with Jocasta’s broach. A valuable lesson was learned to never take the gods for granted or Oedipus’s fate could become your own. Be merciful, and vulnerable, don’t let pride get to your head or you shall stumble upon a vast hole that would consume the most precious entity you own; your soul to the venturous will of life.


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