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Oedipus

Young Oedipus believes he is superor, that his actions can change fate and alter the will of the Gods.

Oedipus learns of his destiny: I went to the shrine at Delphi. The god dismissed my question without reply; he spoke of other things, some were clear, full of wretchedness, dreadful, unbearable: as, that I should lie with my own mother, breed children from whom all men would turn their eyes; and that I should be my father's murderer. I heard all this, and fled. And from that day Corinth to me was only in the stars descending in the quarter of the sky, as I wandered farther and farther on my way to a land where I should never see the evil sung by the oracle.

Oedipus as King of Thebes is stubbornly determined to solve King Laius murder.In these ancient societies the people believed the King was responsible for his kingdom's health and proserity. According to the oracle, by punishing the killer Oedipus could rid the city of plague, while still protecting his own self interest.

Oedipus: ...once more I must bring what is dark to light...To avenge the city and the city's god, and not as though it were for some distant friend, but for my own sake, to be rid of evil. Whoever killed King Laius might-who knows?-Decide at any moment to kill me as well. By avenging the murderd king I protect myself...

He shows great arrogance in believing he can save the people by punishing another.

Oedipus:I solemnly forbid the people of this country, where power and throne are mine, ever to receive that man or speak to him, no matter who he is, or let him join in sacrifice, lustration, or in prayer. I decree that he be driven from every house...

Oedipus presumptuously blames others for his own wrong doing.His self importance blinds him to the truth.

Oedipus speaking to Teiresias, a blind prophet:Rage? Why not! And I'll tell you what I think: You planned it, you had it done, you all but killed him with your own hands: if you had eyes, I'd say the crime was yours, and yours alone.

Teiresias talking to Oedipus: You mock my blindness, do you? But I say that you, with both eyes, are blind...

Oedipus accusing Creon, brother-in-law:So you dared come back. Why? How brazen of you to come to my house, you murder!

Throughout the tragedy, the audience witnesses Oedipus's tragic flaw of being egotistic.

Oedipus: Wealth, power, craft of statesmanship! Kingly positions, everywhere admired! ...When that hellcat the Sphinx was performing here...her magic was not for the first man who came along: it demanded a real exorcist...But I came by, Oedipus, the simple man...

In Oedipus the King, Oedipus (the protagonist) ultimate collision with fate is destined and unreversible. He fails in his attempt to change because of his flaw of arrogance. Oedipus does not realize his wrong doing. He looks toward the future and not the past.


Quotes from English version by Dudley Fitts & Robert Fitzgerald entitled Oedipus Rex.