Theme Of Privilege In Oedipus Rex

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Privilege is a common theme in both modern day society, and in great literature. More often than not, stories have some reference to privilege. Whether it’s the rags-to-riches cliché, or the whole plot is about a king, most tales acknowledge privilege in some way. The same holds true for Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Both of these ancient Greek tragedies, written by Sophocles, center around Oedipus; a man born into one royal family of Thebes, but is raised into the royal family of Corinth to later return to Thebes and begin ruling there. His whole life he was surrounded by privilege and in the end, it leads to his downfall. Being born into privilege can have drastic, damaging effects on one’s life. A common occurrence in Oedipus is …show more content…
Theseus’s father was the previous King of Athens, but Theseus is not aware of this until he is an adolescent, therefore he grows up in a not particularly privileged setting. After becoming the ruler of Athens, he has his first encounter with privilege. He knows and has experienced what it was like to be a non-royal, so he treats everyone fairly and with equal respect. This causes him to gain the reputation of being kind and level-headed. Also, his past heroic actions, such as devising a clever plan to navigate the Labyrinth and kill the Minotaur, shows that he could handle problems and fix them while not in control. His interactions with Oedipus also show how growing up as a commoner benefited him. Because of Theseus’s background, he doesn’t instantly banish Oedipus and Antigone, despite the pair appearing to be beggars. Being raised into poverty allows Theseus to pass judgment only after he has heard Oedipus’s story, and even after hearing it he knows that he should help Oedipus, so he offers the ex-king protection. Theseus does all of this out of kindness, but he receives a blessing for helping Oedipus, further proving that being raised into poverty allows one to be blessed later on in life. Theseus also knows that, despite being in a position of authority now, his life could take a turn for the worse. This ability to sympathize for those at the bottom comes from Theseus’s personal …show more content…
In Oedipus in Jocasta, their privilege results in incest, numerous murders, and eventually their deaths. Eteocles’s privilege, similarly to his parents, destroys Thebes and many of the people in it, and it ends up killing him and his brother. Theseus only has pleasant things happen to him such as: Oedipus’s blessing, kingship, and a truthful reputation, all of this stemming from his lack of privilege in his early life. In modern day the same idea holds true. The Kardashians, for example, don’t actually have any knowledge of the real world and would fall flat on their faces if their fortune was taken away. Even less obvious is spoiled teenagers who age and turn into college students plagued with mental breakdowns because they have never had to work for anything in their life’s. Privilege has enough power over the world that it could open the doors to the deterioration of the human

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