Oedipus Colonus Character Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… Reeling from the devastating effects of the plague and the banishment of Oedipus, the political condition of Thebes parallels the conditions of Athens after Pericles’ death. In his funeral oration, Pericles states that, in a democracy, the selection of an individual to hold a position of public responsibility should rely on the ability a man possesses (PW 2.36). Unfortunately for the people of Thebes, the three men (Creon, Polyneices and Eteocles) left to rule after Oedipus banishment lack these necessary abilities. Instead they attempt to rule through force (ergon) without employing logos, allowing emotions and familial ties to interfere with …show more content…
Both Eteocles and Polyneices are unfit to rule Thebes because of the blood curse they have inherited from their father and their lack of interest in the well-being of Thebes, emphasized by the callous actions of both brothers in their attempts to gain complete control of Thebes. Polyneices explains how Eteocles forcefully drove him out of Thebes(ergon) because he believed he was the better ruler, though the two are equals “in words and in the proof of hand or deed” (OC 1295-1296). Polyneices claims to have the same aptitude as his brother to rule Thebes, but his response to Eteocles actions prove otherwise. Despite, Antigone’s protests to not let his anger lead to the destruction of Thebes, Polyneices cannot overlook the insult of banishment and acquires forces to destroy Eteocles (OC 1420-1424). Similar to Creon, Polyneices becomes overwhelmed by his own anger, and is willing to not only risk his own life, but also place his people and his city at risk for the sake of his honor. In contrast to Athens, that has the hope of returning to the realm of logos through a better leaderships, Thebes is so deeply entrenched in the ergon of the private quarrels and internal strife within Oedipus’ family that the city loses its potential as a city state and its prospects for

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