Wednesday, March 21, 2012

King Oedipus Essay

An essay I wrote in school on the famous Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex.

King Oedipus Essay
In Greek myths, people would often travel great lengths to speak to wise oracles. It was believed that the gods could communicate with mortals through these oracles. But if you were told your fate from the oracles it was widely believed that you should not try to change it. Sophocles' Oedipus Rex was one of the many stories about a mortal who tried to change their fate. King Oedipus's tragic flaw of being oblivious leads to his downfall because he doesn't pay attention to any of the signs shown to him.
Since Oedipus is very oblivious, he fails to recognize the signs that show he is the murderer he is looking for. One example of this is when he asks his wife Jocasta about how King Laius died, and she tells him, "Now you remember the story: Laius was killed / By marauding strangers where three highways meet." Even though Oedipus had killed a man at a place where three highways met, he still doesn't realize that he is Laius's murderer. Another time Oedipus ignores an obvious clue is when he is still living in Corinth. Oedipus tells his wife Jocasta why he left Corinth by saying, "At a feast, a drunken man maundering in his cups / Cries out that I am not my father's son...I went to the shrine at Delphi...He spoke of other things...As, that I should lie with my own mother, breed / Children from whom all men would turn their eyes; / And that I should be my father's murderer". Once again Oedipus is too oblivious to put together the facts that a man said he was adopted, he killed a man, slept with his wife, and realize that the prophecy the oracle told him had come true. So overall, Oedipus fails to recognize the many signs that show he is King Laius's murderer.
Oedipus is also too oblivious to pay heed to the warnings given to him from others. The first time that someone warns him is when he is talking to Teiresias, the blind prophet, Teiresias tells hims, "Let me go home. Bear your own fate, and I'll / Bear mine. It is better so: trust what I say." Teiresias tells Oedipus that if he doesn't press into this matter any further it will be much better for him. But instead of taking Teiresias's wise advice, Oedipus becomes angry at him and continues to look into Laius's death. Oedipus also ignores a warning given to him by his wife, Jocasta. We find that Jocasta has figured out what Oedipus has done and she tells him, "Listen to me, I beg you: do not do this thing! / Everything I say is for your own good! / You are fatally wrong! May you never learn who you are!". Jocasta tells Oedipus that he is fatally wrong, but even then Oedipus dismisses her words and presses further into his own demise. Oedipus's obliviousness is shown once again by him ignoring warnings given to him from others.
All in all, we see that Oedipus's tragic flaw of being oblivious leads to his downfall, since he ignores the signs and warnings given to him. We see how Greek society strongly believed that you shouldn't try to change your fate, and if you do that things would never end well for you, like Oedipus.

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