Emotions Of Oedipus Rex Essay, Research Paper
In the play, Oedipus Rex, Sophocles carefully gives each
character their own personality, so they will react differently
to their problems as they come about. The way each character deal
with his or her feelings is what makes this play so powerful.
Through out the play we know for a fact the main character,
Oedipus Rex, had indeed killed his father in a confrontation, and
went on to marry his mother, Iocaste. As Oedipus learns this, he
goes through a great deal of emotions throughout the story,
ranging from one extreme to the other.
After Oedipus learns about his prophesy, he becomes deathly
afraid the Oracle might become true. One problem, Oedipus doesn?t
know the people he has been living with are not his birth
parents. He leaves his native place so he would not fulfill his
prophesy. On the road leading away form his supposed home he
meets King Laius, not knowing of course, King Laius is his real
father. In a sudden quarrel strikes him dead. After Oedipus
solves the riddle of the Sphinx, the city is saved. He is
rewarded with the hand of Iocaste, and becomes king of Thebes. At
this point the prophesy has been fulfilled, by the unknowing King
Oedipus. This would bring a great deal of pride to a man, and
can easily lead to arrogance, which is later seen.
Throughout the story Oedipus gets several clues, which makes
him believe the oracle came true, he later shows he is sincerely
hoping for the best from his fate. He is talking to a messenger,
and to Iocaste, about his prophesy. Iocaste?s says the following
?Why should anyone in this world be afraid,
since fate rules us and nothing can be foreseen?
A man should live only for the present day.
Have no more fear of sleeping with your mother:
How many men, in dreams, have lain with their mothers!
No reasonable man is troubled by such things.?
(Sophocles, p. 192)
This is in relation to what Freudian Freud?s psychoanalytic
theory about the Oedipus complex. Freud states:
?An Oedipus complex consists of a double set of
attitudes toward both parents: (1) An intense love and
yearning for his mother is coupled with a powerful
jealousy of and rage toward his father…The whole
Oedipal experience is so frightening that it is
thoroughly repressed, and cannot be recalled without
the aid of psychoanalytic therapy. Its effects may well
become obvious, however, as when a man marries a woman
who closely resembles his mother.?
(R.J. Corsini,Ed., p. 512)(Also page 3 of packet).
Iocaste is basically saying the same thing Freud states, almost
twenty five hundred years later. Marrying someone that
unconsciously reminds you of your mother, and actually going out
and marrying your mother is two different things, which is why
Oedipus gets so disgusted when he find out that Iocaste is not
only his wife, but also his mother.
Oedipus goes through a great deal of emotions in the next
few pages of the story, from one extreme to the other. Oedipus
goes through fear of guilt, he starts thinking, maybe he is
guilty of killing his own father. From here he learns about a
Shepherd from Choragos, the Shepherd might know more about his
childhood, and there may be hope for King Oedipus, that maybe the
prophesy is not true. After disguising the baby with the Shepherd
?Ah God! It was true! all the prophecies! -Now,
O Light, may I look on you for the last time!
Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned,
Damned in the blood he shed with his own hand!?
(Sophocles, p. 198)
Oedipus is enraged about learning that the entire prophesy has
come true, and to make things worse for him, he finds out that
his mother/wife kills herself. He is so extremely disgusted with
the whole prophesy, which explains what he does next.
I would blot out from my mind what happened next!
For the King ripped from her gown the golden brooches
that were her ornament, and raised them, and plunged
them down straight into his own eyeballs, crying ?No
more, no more shall you look on the misery about me,
the horrors of my own doing! Too long have you known
the faces of those whom I should never have seen, too
long been blind to those for whom I was searching! From
this hour, go in darkness!?
… He struck at his eyes–not once, but many times.?
(Sophocles, p. 201)
What Oedipus had gone through is beyond anything an average
person ever experienced, or will ever experience. Which is why
his reaction to the situation is so drastic, permainatly blinding
When the truth is known about Oedipus?s life, Oedipus is no
longer King, Creon defiantly lets Oedipus know about it, with a
remark. At the very end of the play, Oedipus is totally fed up
with the way his life ended up, and wants to end it all. He
demands that Creon and Choragos bring him to the top of the
mountain to where he was originally placed, by his parents to
die. Oedipus wants to take his four children with him, but Creon
doesn?t allow it to happen. ?Think no longer that you are in
command here, but rather think how, when you were, you served
your own destruction.? (Sophocles, p. 207).
“Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles