Oedipus The King Analysis

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Sophocles’ tragic play, Oedipus the King, serves as yet another didactic tool of Ancient Greek culture. It heavily focuses on the recurrent theme that a fate assigned by the gods can not be escaped by any means. Sophocles embodies this theme through his tragic hero Oedipus. Even though Oedipus proves himself as a confident capable leader, his tragic flaw is seen through his consistent use of human reason in his attempt to locate the murderer of king Laius. His hubris contributes to his downfall because it allows him to think he can use reason to conquer his fate. Oedipus’ use of reason not only brings him closer to his fate, but ultimately forces him to fall victim to it, proving that even the wisest of men stand no chance against the will …show more content…
This prophesy states that one day Oedipus would murder his father and then marry his mother. Oedipus thinks that his reason will be enough to escape his fate, yet it proves to be powerless against the will of the gods. When speaking to Jocasta, his wife, he explains that he went to Pytho(oracle) to assure himself that what the drunk man told him was not true about his fate. Creon says “yes, I fled/to somewhere where i should not see fulfilled/the infamies told in that dreadful oracle.”(Oedipus the King 796-798). He thinks by leaving Corinth he will avoid murdering his father. Jocasta tells him that the man killed at the crossroads was attacked by five men, and that there was a servant that saw this attack. Once again Oedipus puts his reasoning to work. He remembers that the prophesy stated there was only a single murderer, therefore if what Jocasta is telling him is true, he is not the murderer of king Laius. Oedipus demands for the servant to confirm his reasoning. He says “if I find that his story is/the same as yours, I will be clear of guilt.”(Oedipus the King 839-840). Oedipus analyzes what the servant has mentioned very closely. According to Jocasta the servant “spoke of highway robbers who/killed Laius” so if the servant “still uses that/same number, {he} was not the one who killed him/One man cannot be the same as many.”(Oedipus the King …show more content…
He tells her that the oracle prophesied he would kill his father but that it is impossible because he “never laid a hand on spear against him”(Oedipus the King 969). Therefore, through his reasoning Oedipus thinks that “the oracles, as they stand…they’re dead…and worthless.”(Oedipus the King 971-973). Oedipus shows his arrogance with this conclusion because he thinks his reason and wit has allowed him to subvert the gods and to escape his fate, something that is an impossibility. His final use of reason is displayed when he questions the herdsman and the messenger in order to find out about his ancestry. Instead of listening to his wife that tells him to avoid questioning anymore people, he continues to do so. Through a series of questions and answers Oedipus learns that he was the child that was cast out of the house of Laius, and comes to the terrible realization that both he and his reason have been conquered by fate. Unable to cope with his fate, Oedipus brutally blinds himself with the broaches from his wife’s dress. His blinding is symbolic. Through his blinding Oedipus not only brings darkness to his world, but also loses sight of his use of

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