Oedipus The King Essay, Research Paper
In the Greek play Oedipus the king, a child is born to a king and queen against the wishes of the gods. The gods had told the king and queen of thebes not to have children because they would be ill fated. The king and queen had a taste for wine however and they conceived a child while indulged in the drink. They soon took the child to an oracle to learn what it?s fate would be. The oracle told them that child would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother. The king quickly opted to have his son taken out to be left on a mountain side to die via one of his trusted herdsman. The boy?s ankles were bolted together and he was taken from his kingdom. The herdsman then took pity with the boy and left him to the care of another herdsman from a different kingdom.
There the boy was given to the king and queen of that place, because they could not have children of their own. The boy grew there to adulthood and lived a happy life. The young prince went to visit an oracle to find out what was in store for him in life. The oracle told the young man of how he would kill his father and marry his mother. This disturbed Oedipus a great deal and he left his kingdom with a few of his men in order to get away from his parents. While on the road the prince had a confrontation with a man who claimed to be of royalty. They ended up coming to blows and Oedipus killed the man, who happened to be the king of Thebes, also known as the father of Oedipus. He entered the kingdom of Thebes and solved a riddle of the sphinx, saving the people of Thebes from a terrible plague and earning himself the thrown beside his wife and mother, Jocasta. Eventually, another plague attacked the land and the people called for Oedipus?s help. He sent a man to visit a prophet and learned a man was to be driven out of the land if the people were to be saved. After much investigation it was learned that it was Oedipus who had killed his father, married his mother and caused the plague. After Jocasta learned of this, she went to her castle and took her own life by hanging herself. After Oedipus found her, he cried out and took the broaches from her clothes, scratching and tearing out his eyes. In the end, he was banded from his country left to become a blind begger.
All of the events in Oedipus?s life, along with all the choices he made for himself lead to his demise in the end. One of the first events was that of his parents trying to kill him. This event lead Oedipus to live in another land and grow up falsly knowing whom his parents were. It lead him to eventually kill his father and marry his mother, even the initial intent of his parents was to have killed from the beginning. Growing up under the care of his foster parents also had an effect on him in the end. It was the differences between him and his parents that eventually fanned his curiosity enough to visit and oracle. This caused him to leave and meet his terrible fate. One of the choices that Oedipus made, particularly the one to leave his assumed parents in order to avoid his fate, actually ended up leading right into it. Oedipus?s fate was bound to happen in the end, due to the fact that every thing that happened to him, along with everything he chose to do somehow lead to what had been prophesized from the very beginning. Even though it seemed as though the unfortunate events and choices that happened to him were just blunders on his part, everything that happened to him had a direct effect on the final result. It was destined to happen.
In my opinion, it was plainly obvious that Oedipus?s fate had a death grip on him from the beginning. Even before Oedipus was born, the gods told his parents not to even try to have children. This is something they should have avoided, and that they didn?t went a long way in sealing Oedipus?s fate in the end. Another ominous sign was that his parents tried to kill him shortly after he was born. It?s understandable that they were trying to make amends with the gods, but they did what they did out of the coldness of their hearts. The most obvious thing was that Oedipus tried to avoid his fate and ran right into it in doing so.
Bowler, Ellen ett. all Prentice Hall Literature: World Masterpieces Massachusetts: Prentice Hall
Mitchell, Robin Study Guide for Sophocles Oedipus the King (On Line) available http://www.temple.edu/classics/oedipus.html
Untitled (1995) Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (On Line) Available http://www.honors.montana.edu/oelks/tc/oedipussyn.html