Sophocles Use Of Reason In Oedipus The King

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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…
Oedipus’ determination to find the murderer and bring justice to Thebes forces him to use human reason again. He calls upon Teiresias because he is a prophet that sees “most often what the lord/ Apollo sees.”(Oedipus the King 285-286). Teiresias further exacerbates Oedipus’ anger and determination to find the murderer by telling him that he is the murderer. This is not the answer that Oedipus wants to hear so he uses his reason to formulate an explanation for the accusation. Oedipus exclaims that “Creon, friend from the first and loyal,/thus secretly attacks me, secretly/desires to drive me out”(Oedipus the King 385-387). In other words, Oedipus’ hubris and reason make him form rash judgements. He thinks that Creon is conspiring against him with Teiresias because he is jealous of him and wants the throne. Oedipus’ reasoning is foolish though. Creon almost has the same power as him, and does not desire to dethrone …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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