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Oedipus Rex Essay, Research Paper

In some instances, rulers experience different mood changes in both positive and negative ways when surrounded by different people, because of the responsibilities they hold. In the play Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, Oedipus, the king of Thebes, shows many sides of his personality when he interacts with different people. Many instances throughout Oedipus life attribute to his personality changes with each of his minor characters.

To begin with, Oedipus as a ruler shows consideration towards others and has a good attitude. Oedipus shows self-confidence when he is with the citizens. For example, when Creon gets back from the oracle, Oedipus anxiously asks Creon, in front of everyone to tell him what the oracle said. He knows that others are present, and listening to his conversation with Creon, but he does not care. This portrays his trait of self-assurance because it shows that others do not intimidate him. His concerns towards the citizens are apparent throughout the play. When the terrible plague is destroying Thebes, one can see he is caring. Oedipus is more devoted to the citizens of Thebes, than himself and his own dilemmas. He says, It is for them I suffer, more than for myself. (line 96). It is clearly seen the ways Oedipus rules over Thebes.

Oedipus as a husband is extremely considerate and respectful. When Oedipus is upset about what Teresias has told him he does not want to speak to anyone but Jocasta. This shows a great deal of consideration towards Jocasta. He is talking to her about a problem he wishes not to speak about, but shares it with her because he believes she has the right to know. Secondly, he is also very respectful. When Oedipus is arguing with Creon, Jocasta tells them to stop. Oedipus immediately stops to hear what she has to say, and finds another way to deal with the problem. It is obvious that Oedipus regards Jocasta with respect and honor.

Thirdly, Oedipus portrays his negative traits when he talks to Creon and Teresias. Oedipus is very arrogant when he speaks to Creon and Teresias and treats them very rudely. He shows no respect to Teresias. Since Teresias is a prophet, and knows everything, Oedipus asks him who assassinated King Laius. Teresias chooses not to answer him because he knows it will put him in danger since Oedipus will think he is lying. Oedipus assumes Teresias is the killer since he does not want to release any information. When Oedipus accuses him, it is shocking because Teresias is a man of high standards and deserves respect. Oedipus feels the authority to condemn him. He shows a great deal of disrespect when he calls Teresias a sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man. (line 356). Also, Oedipus treats Creon with disrespect. Oedipus thinks Creon is accusing him of killing King Laius just so he can take his place in the society and get the throne. This is an embarrassment to Creon. Creon is content with his high status and the role, as king does not interest him. It is clearly seen that Oedipus does not treat Creon or Teresias nicely or with the respect they deserve.

To conclude, one can identify Oedipus good and bad traits throughout the entire play. Oedipus demonstrates different traits throughout his reign while interacting with different people. These different moods are seen again and again throughout his reign as king of Thebes, husband of Jocasta, and acquaintance to Creon and Teresias. As a ruler, his traits of arrogance and kindness are visible at different times; as a husband, his courtesy and respect towards his wife are apparent at all times. His attitude towards Creon and Teresias are far from respectful.


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