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Essay: Oedipus the King: Free Will vs Fate

Critical Evaluation

❶In all three plays you are repeatedly asked if Creon is a cruel or a fair ruler, a cruel or a fair human being. They refuse to compromise or to humble themselves before others.

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Oedipus is the king of which city?
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As a backgrounder, Laius, the King of Thebes, was informed by a prophet that a child born to him and his wife, Jocasta, will murder him. Fearing that that the prophecy may come true, Laius took his child, pierced his ankle and ordered a servant to leave the child in a mountain. A shepherd found the boy, took pity on him and took him to Corinth.

This boy, named Oedipus, meaning swollen feet, was raised by the King and Queen of Corinth as if their son. When the boy grew up, a drunken man revealed that he was not the true son of Polybus, the King of Corinth.

Eager to find out the truth about himself, he consulted the Delphic Oracle who told him that he would murder his father and marry his mother. For fear that the oracle may come true, Oedipus left Corinth.

Upon arriving at a fork, Oedipus met Laius and four other people. A quarrel followed, Oedipus eventually killed all the men. The sphinx had asked everybody a riddle. Anybody who failed to answer the riddle or gave an incorrect answer to the riddle was immediately eaten.

Bold and self-confident, Oedipus faced the Sphinx and answered the riddle. As a result, the Sphinx killed itself. The grateful people of Thebes proclaimed him as heir hero and king. They begot two sons and two daughters. Several years after, a plague struck in Thebes.

In his desire to put a stop to the plague, Oedipus consulted a prophet who revealed that the plague would not end until the people of Thebes drive out the murderer of Laius who was within the city. Oedipus thought that this was a scheme of Creon, his brother-in-law whom he thought desired to replace him as King.

At this point, Jocasta told Oedipus that the oracle once prophesied that Laius will be killed by his son. She told him that the prophecy was not true as an eyewitness said that Laius was killed by highway robbers in a location where three different roads meet. Oedipus suddenly remembered an incident in his past where he fled from Corinth and killed a man along the way because of quarrel as to who had the right of way.

He thought that the same man could be Laius. As a result he asked that people to look for the herdsman who witnessed the killing of Laius. Later on a messenger brought news that the King Polybus was dead. Laius was asked to return to Corinth to rule the kingdom.

The messenger told Oedipus not to worry about the prophecy since Polybus was not his real father and that the messenger took the baby from the shepherd who found Polybus. The shepherd then revealed that Jocasta once handed to him a baby boy for him to leave on the mountain to die. He however took pity and gave the boy to a messenger.

At that point, Oedipus realized that he was indeed Laius child who killed his own father and married his own mother. Jocasta committed suicide after the revelation. Oedipus on the other hand, realizing his mistakes, took his eyes out and pierced it with a knife making him blind. He then left Thebes after asking Creon to take care of his daughters. Your Essay Writing Partner.

A human weakness that is evident throughout the play is pride. Oedipus was a very proud, arrogant and confident man. He had such a high regard for himself that he confidently challenged the Sphinx oblivious of the possibility that the Sphinx may kill him. He knew that he had the intelligence to answer the riddles of the Sphinx no matter how difficult it was. He was successful and became the King of Thebes and married the Queen.

As the King, he became more proud and the people exalted and praised him for his courage and intelligence. He considered the people of Thebes as his children who needed his guidance and protection. The people, in return, looked up to him and admired him. It was this pride and self-confidence that drove Oedipus to investigate and search for the murderer of Laius. Upon learning that the only solution for the plague to leave Thebes and for his people to be saved is to find the murderer of Laius, he took it upon himself to find the murderer.

Despite his fears and despite having second thoughts, he proceeded with his investigation confident that in the end he will triumph and once more save the people of Thebes. This was evident in the manner he relentlessly pursued with his investigation. He used his power and position as King to look for the answers to his questions. Thus, he questioned Teiresias and other people such as the herdsman, the messenger, Creon and many others in order to find the truth.

Pride and self-confidence were also the reasons why he thought he could escape his destiny. Thinking that he can do anything, he left Corinth.

In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly. Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was.

Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was.

The sphinx"s riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life. Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus the King by Sophocles is more than just a plain tragedy. This play is a suspense thriller, where every character involved with Oedipus learned that fate is determined only by the gods. In this specific play, Apollo was deciding god that predicted the fate of every person in the city of Thebes.

This book represents a symbol of the lives of many, showing that you can not run away from fate because it decision that will forever remain. It was written in the honor of, the god of theater, Dionysos.

Also, for the annual festival where playwrights competed for prizes. It was a major public occasion, with immense attendance expected.

This theatric happening was written in the turning point of the war that saved Greece from a huge Persian invasion. The actual time period when this play was performed was not recorded. But, it was when mythology and tragedy in theatre became very interesting and popular to watch. There were two main settings. A town in main Greece called Thebes and another place called Corinth. At Thebes the play is mainly located in the exterior of Oedipus' palace at Thebes.

The main characters in this book are Oedipus, Tiresias, As the story progresses, however, Oedipus' power and pride are broken down. Some readers imagine a broken, pitiful old man who's been crushed by the avenging gods. From the script, it is clear that Oedipus is apparently handsome and well built.

He is described as a "tower of strength," and has a sharp way of looking at people. He is quick-tempered, and often acts recklessly and violently. His followers love him, and consider him a brilliant ruler because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and brought ease to the city of Thebes as Oedipus became their savior.

Oedipus also shows wisdom, love for his children and a reputation for high moral standards. We"ve come to this conclusion because even when the threat, of whoever killed Lauis would suffer, applied to him he still followed through with the punishments. He has a passion for truth, and shows courage in the face of disaster or conflict. These same noble qualities, however, lead to his tragic flaw and brought upon his downfall.

His wisdom became hypocritical, and he refused to believe anyone who didn"t agree with him. His love for his children becomes obsessive, and he refuses to see that he's married his own mother. His passion for the truth and high moral standards trapped him into a deadly quest for the murderer of Laius, which resulted in being him.

The one trait of Oedipus that did not change in the course of the play, was his strength and courage in the face of disaster. Every step he took to solve the mystery of Laius' murder brings him closer to being revealed, yet he never stops searching for the truth.

But his courage and strength help him endure the pain and suffering that come with knowledge of what he has done. Tiresias is a wise, old man who has supernatural powers to interpret the past and predict the future. The fact that Tiresias is blind makes his imaginary abilities even more mysterious. This may also lead Oedipus to deny Tiresias' ability to "see" the truth. At first Tiresias refuses to answer Oedipus' questions about the prophecy.

He appears as a character that was always a messenger for the gods. Therefore, when Oedipus insulted Tiresias, in the first scene, and accused him of being a false prophet. Oedipus, however, did not realize that he was also attacking the gods while he was attacking Tiresias. Although his appearance in the play was short, Tiresias sets the tone of the moral and religious beliefs of the gods.

He was interrogated by Oedipus, yet, withheld the important information in which he was not to reveal. Creon is Oedipus' brother-in-law and a trusted assistant of the king. He is also third in command of Thebes as a political leader. The Chorus mentions that he is an honest man who is reliable, trustworthy, and sensible. When Creon has returned from the oracles at Delphi was when he was first seen in the play. But honor is important to him- he is quick to defend his reputation and protest his innocence.

Jocasta is the wife of Oedipus and his mother. She was first married to Lauis but then her son killed him. Early in Oedipus the King we realized that she was trying to mediate between Oedipus and Creon when they quarreled. She appeared to us to be a kind, gracious, and caring wife. When Laius was murdered she asked her brother, Creon to share her rule of Thebes.

Oedipus solved the riddle of the Sphinx and became her second husband. The second half of the book begins after a priest confronts Oedipus asking for his help. Oedipus needed to help the city from dying. Then, Creon, Jocasta"s brother, appears with a message. The message was an order from Apollo stating that "in order for the city to rid themselves from the plague, they had to punish the beings involved in the murder of King Lauis.

Then the question arose, who could the murderer be? Oedipus was talking to the chorus and at the same time trying to solve the mystery. Then, Tiresias entered the scene with important information that he withheld.

He was insulted by Oedipus and told everyone that they were very ignorant. He knew whom the murderer was but refused to tell. He said that "what will come will come, even if I shroud it in silence" At this moment Oedipus was very frustrated and scorned Tiresias. This resulted in Tiresias yelling out who the murder was. But as unenlightened as Oedipus is, he refused to believe Tiresias. They verbally fought back and forth and insulted each other. Then, Creon enters the scene. And as the search continues, Oedipus and Creon get into a disagreement.

Oedipus tells Creon that he is a traitor. Oedipus questions the messenger, and found out that the messenger had been herding sheep and had met a shepherd who had found Oedipus, had taken the baby, had taken the pin out of his ankles, and had given him to the king and queen of Corinth to raise as their own.

Oedipus says, "It's time to clear this up. Send for the other shepherd. Jocasta begged Oedipus not to pursue the matter of searching for the murderer. Oedipus said he had to know only because the city was relying on him. Jocasta ran out horribly upset. Hours later, the other shepherd was brought in. He had already figured things out of why he was there, but pretended he did not remember a thing.

Then, he begged the other messenger to also stay quiet. However, Oedipus insisted on the truth. It was revealed that Oedipus was the murder of Lauis, his father. Now everybody knew the truth. The baby of Jocasta and Lauis was Oedipus. He now realized that Creon and Tiresias were correct in their beliefs. The next scene was an extremely graphic anecdote.

Jocasta ran into the bedroom, screaming. She locked the door from inside. A few minutes later, Oedipus came in, and broke down the door with what seemed to be supernatural strength. He found Jocasta dead, hanging. Oedipus took the body down, and quickly removed the pin that held up her dress. He stabbed it again and again into his eyes, saying he has looked at his mother's naked body when he shouldn't have, and he has learned what he now wishes he had not.

It was said that Oedipus had actually torn the globes from their sockets. Oedipus then begged to be taken out of the city of Thebes to end the plague. Yet he had no strength and no guide. Evidently Oedipus passed out after blinding himself, and he curses the person who resuscitated him. The Chorus asks, "How were you able to rip out your eyeballs? As you can see, Oedipus was a victim of fate and Apollo"s prophecy had been solved by the city of Thebes.

Which theme seems most important to you: In all three plays you are repeatedly asked if Creon is a cruel or a fair ruler, a cruel or a fair human being. In the beginning Oedipus seems to be a child of fortune who gained a kingdom by solving the riddle of the Sphinx.

In the middle he appears to have been irrevocably doomed by a prophecy before he was even born. And by the end he has found a sort of contentment as he dies with his beloved daughter Antigone by his side.

Oedipus' unforeseen reversal of fortune suggests we cannot accurately predict our future- or escape our past. Although he does all he can to live honestly and avoid the crimes prophesied for him, Oedipus can't escape the relentless fate that pursues him. Creon tries to manipulate fate in his favor, but he fails. Inevitably the oracle's prophecies are fulfilled. Sophocles meant this to pertain not just to the Thebes of the play, but also to his contemporary Athens.

The plague that begins the play is viewed as a punishment from the gods, and only when the sins of Oedipus have been punished and purged is Thebes restored- for a time- to spiritual harmony.

The loss of the city's spiritual faith is seen in Oedipus' denial of Teiresias' power to predict the future, and in Iocaste's refusal to believe in the ability of prophets to speak for the gods. They refuse to compromise or to humble themselves before others. They stubbornly refuse other characters the right to express opinions different from their own, and they abuse their power to force others to accept their points of view. Oedipus is so arrogant and self-confident that he even challenges the will of the gods.

This leads directly to his downfall, and he is harshly punished. The most obvious search for truth is Oedipus', but even the minor characters are looking for answers to the meaning of life.

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The Hubris of Oedipus in Oedipus the King - Hubris is defined by the Webster-Miriam dictionary as “Exaggerated pride or confidence” (Miriam-Webster Dictionary) in Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, In Oedipus The King, by Sophocles, the onslaught of pain assailing the protagonist is a .

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Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) by Sophocles. Essays and criticism on Sophocles' Oedipus Rex - Critical Essays.

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Sep 17,  · This essay seeks to prove that Oedipus the King is indeed the perfect model of a tragedy in the sense that it has all the elements of a great tragedy - human suffering, human frailty and weakness and powerlessness to control one’s destiny. Essay Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian"s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery.