Responsibility In Oedipus Rex

758 Words 4 Pages
One cannot understand the dilemma that Oedipus is stuck in in the classical Greek play Oedipus Rex. Being stuck between his own interests and the interests of his polis, emphasized by his position as King of Thebes, causes a tragic realization and emphasis on the many values of the people of his time and culture.
The biggest issue Oedipus is faced with is his importance to his polis. With the polis being an essential part of Greek identity, Oedipus holds the issue of the ensuing plague as a high priority. This traces to the Greek importance of harmony and order for without these in the polis the Greek people are very uncomfortable and will go to many lengths to fix the issue and to gain eudemonia in their city-state. This, unfortunately, is Oedipus’s responsibility, as King, to fix the issue. That being said, it is best to then look at how much Oedipus is to blame for what his life eventually lead to on the fateful day that the reader steps into the play. For several
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Oedipus, not knowing that he was face-to-face with his real father, was attacked for not letting the older man go first. Although one could argue that Oedipus just should have let the man go first, one cannot blame him for not doing it as it was technically rightfully his turn and one could also not blame him for defending himself against several attackers. One could also argue that Oedipus acted out of pathos when killing the old man that he encountered, his father. This argument also does not quite hold true as Oedipus’s father also acted out of pathos when attacking the young man he was faced against. You could also argue that Oedipus truly had no choice. When faced with a choice between living by defending himself or dying by not doing so a person cannot expect Oedipus to choose the ladder. When faced with life and death, man will generally choose

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