Responsibility In Oedipus The King By Sophocles

903 Words 4 Pages
Oedipus the King, a famous tragedy by Sophocles, tells the story of King Oedipus, a man whose entire life is a fulfillment of a prophecy. Unfortunately, Oedipus is unwitting and fulfills the prophecy that entails him killing his father and marrying his mother. Among the major themes in the story is responsibility (Charters and Samuel 67). Despite his ignorance of his role in the tragedy, Oedipus comes out as a responsible man and king who sought to protect his integrity as the discussion below portrays.
The play opens with Oedipus taking responsibility as a king Thebes. A serious drought ravages through the kingdom. Oedipus, the king, and ruler of the territory, takes responsibility as he sets out to discover the cause of the
…show more content…
He interrogates servants and a shepherd who witnessed the murder thus proving that in deed he killed the former king. The revelations shock him, but he remains committed to taking responsibility for his actions. He had promised to punish whoever killed the king in an attempt to appease the gods thus end the drought. The king seeks to kill his mother when he learns of his relationship with her. Fortunately, he finds her dead. He then removes the long gold pins that she used to hold her robes together and drives them in his eyes. Oedipus later apologizes to his children and begs to be exiled. His actions towards the end of the play show the king taking responsibility. The fact that he punishes himself while he had lived a lie throughout the play is not ironical but a portrayal of his commitment to the promises he made to the people of Thebes. He gouges out his eyes and curses himself “what good were eyes to me? Nothing I could see could bring me joy” (Section, lines 1471-1472).
Oedipus commitment to taking responsibility is an important message to the modern audience. The story shows the importance of remaining virtuous even in the face of both challenges and power that can always corrupt thereby influencing the decisions one can make. Oedipus enjoyed both the power of being a king and the love of his loyal followers. Despite such, he punishes himself
…show more content…
By the virtue of being Laius’ son, Oedipus inherited the burden of marrying his mother and killing his father as stated in the prophecy. His ignorance throughout the play does not help either. He comes out as a responsible and virtuous king who had his set of values. He takes responsibility for the problems facing his people. He remains committed to the promises he made both to himself and to the people of Thebes. He punishes himself and requests to be exiled as a way of taking responsibility. After all, the people of Thebes and those around him knew of the curse all along. Despite their knowledge, they accepted Oedipus as their king all

Related Documents