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Rachel Raskin

Oedipus and his fatal flaw, ignorance together develops a dangerous and tragic end. The hero, noble and strong, who is supposed to be the stability of his people ends up crumbling himself bewildered as a blown bird his soul hovers and cannot find foothold. his people view him as the man who saved them from the sphinx and the suppliants bring him olive branches and lie in the front of his castle begging for him to save them again from the starvation, killings, and misery that they now face. His people believe in him and see him as the all powerful king however; the reader gets a different view of him as the story continues. His invincible persona begins to fade as we hear the prophecy unfold. Our hero becomes a man, a scared man who ran from his horrible destiny. Not because he is weak but because he is human. When Oedipus is faced with the truth from Teirisias, that he may be the murderer which whom he sought to have killed or exiled, he becomes defensive in his fear and lashes out at the man calling him a liar, not wanting to here the story which could lead to his destruction. I think the situation is best summed by Teirisias, You mock my blindness, but I say that you, with both your eyes are blind: You can not see the wretchedness of your life, nor in whose house you live, no, nor with whom. Although this man was blind he sees our hero s major flaw and his terrible fate. Oedipus is a smart man but terrified and he does admit his weakness when he says I myself may be accurst by my own ignorant edict. I am not sure that the blind man can not see It shows his courage and strength just in saying that that. The great king Oedipus humbles himself by accepting and taking ownership of his own ignorance. That in itself, I believe, shows great courage. As the prophecy unfolds with the messengers words Oedipus cannot come to terms with this terrible fate and once again denies his ignorance and holds on to his good name desperately until his fears were proven to be true. For if you are what this man says you are, No man living is more wretched than Oedipus By this point every thread of this dreaded prophecy has been woven together and there is nothing for Oedipus to do but except who he never wanted to be and he says with pain and shame in his words Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, Damned in the blood he shed with his own hand. The understandable and human quality of ignorance brought upon the fall of our hero Oedipus but he fell with grace and dignity enduring the punishment that he created. He found his wife, his mother, whom he loved so dearly, hanging her body swaying from the cruel cord she had noosed about her neck Oedipus then lowered her to the ground and gauged out his eyes with the broaches on her gown screaming no more, no more shall you look on the misery about me, the horrors of my own doing! Too long you have known the faces of those whom I should never have seen, too long been blind to those for whom I was searching! From this hour, go in darkness! Ignorance we cause ourselves and is it not true that the greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves ?

God. God. Is there a sorrow greater where shall I find harbor in this world? My voice is hurled far on a dark wind. What has god done to me?

-Oedipus

Oedipus is the tragedy that he creates for himself. I think that his story was so horrible because he was a noble man, and did not deserve the fate put upon him by kadmos. The prophecy was terrible, not Oedipus, his only flaw was his ignorance, and for that he paid dearly. Some may say that Oedipus was cowardly in trying to avoid his own destiny, running away from his family and When faced with such a devastating truth trying desperately to avoid coming to terms with it. I wouldn t blame anyone for this. Although it wasn t the noblest thing to do, it was human and understandable. Noble king that he may have been and great in many ways, was stripped of his good name not because of anything that he did intentionally, but merely another puppet of the Greek gods. The pain of knowing that the woman he loved was his mother, the man he slaughtered his father, the destiny he tried so hard to avoid caught up with him, was too much to bear and is a great tragedy. And when he does face his guilt and shame of the prophecy he takes it with full ownership and never tries to make excuses for himself. I don t think that too many people could have that kind of courage. Most of us would place the blame on whomever we could to try and save pride and dignity, but not Oedipus his integrity was truly honorable, and when he gauged out his eyes and walked blinded in exile from what was once his kingdom was when I saw him as a hero and as a man. Oedipus had good intentions but unavoidable truth, which is what makes this story so tragic.

Aristotle:

The change of fortune presented must not be the spectacle of a virtuous man brought from prosperity to adversity, for this moves neither pity nor fear: it merely shocks us. Nor, again, that of a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity, for nothing can be more allen to the moral sense nor calls forth pity or fear. Nor, again, should the downfall of the utter villain be exhibited. A plot of this kind would, doubtless, satisfy the moral sense, but it would inspire neither pity nor fear, for pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune There remains, then, the character between these two extremes-that of a man who is eminently good and just. Yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity by some error or frailty.

I think that pretty much sums it up!

In the play Oedipus Rex Sophoclies is not only expressing but also justifying the human condition that is ignorance. What may seem so blissful in such terrible situations quickly turns into a dangerous indulgence of the human spirit. Ignorance -having or showing a lack of knowledge, or not wanting to be informed or aware- can only save you for so long, however, knowledge-an understanding that is gained through experience or study will save you for life. I also think that Sophoclies wanted the readers to understand that ignorance is a choice, usually chosen out of fear of the truth. The character Oedipus displayed that very well. I ve learned a lot from reading this, facing your problems head on will take you much further in life, but the only way you can know that is through experience. This only goes to prove that the unexamined life is not worth living

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