Greek Concept Of Law, Crime And Tragedy In Oedipus The King
This agony begins with Oedipus’ attempt to find the murderer of King Laios, in his search he emphasizes the exile of whomever the murderer may be, not knowing that he is the culprit. “I pray that the man’s life be consumed in evil and wretchedness” (Oedipus Rex, Scene 1, 31). One emotional highpoint of the play is when Oedipus realizes he is guilty of the murder of his father, which triggers anger within himself creating a sense of self-hatred and realization of truth in the prophecy. “Child by Laios doomed to die” (Oedipus Rex, Ode 4, 45). Oedipus 's suffering was brought upon himself not senselessly but by unintentional actions. Since he was not aware King Laios was his father he did not realize that the consequences of his actions would be fulfillment of the prophecy. “It is possible also to do the awful thing, but to do it in ignorance and then discover the relationship of the victim later, as Sophocles’ Oedipus does” (79). Oedipus endures an unbearable amount of suffering; through this suffering he is humbled and humiliated.
The lesson is taught through suffering. Those who learn it must pay heavily for it, even if it is to bring them happiness in the end. Behind this lies the old adage that learning comes through suffering… The wisdom that man learns through suffering is that he is nothing before the gods and must conform to their will. The plays show the process and the means by which this is learned. Therefore the conflict in them is not so much between men and men as between men and god.