The Decline Of Oedipus Essay, Research Paper
The Decline of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex
Oedipus began Oedipus Rex as a king, only to end the tale as a blinded beggar. Oedipus fall from his kingly status is not by accident or because of some other person. Oedipus is the only one that can be blamed for his misfortune. Oedipus character traits of haste, anger, and truthfulness are shown most clearly during his spiraling downfall where he thinks he is a simple man who knows nothing, yet knowing more than he realizes by the end of the story.
Throughout the story, Oedipus haste or lack of patience is most evident in his stichomythy with Teiresias. Wishing to end this mystery of the death of Laios as quickly as possible, Oedipus passes an edict to kill or exile anyone who withholds information. Teiresias tested Oedipus patience in the beginning of the story with the information he is holding; you could provoke a stone to anger! (339) The impatient accusations against Teiresias proved to be dreadful; especially since Teiresias foretold the ending of the story. If Oedipus had been more patient and waited, he might have not been quite so upset about the future, nor shaken up about what was to come.
However, that one trait alone did not take away his position of high authority. Oedipus displayed anger throughout the whole story, which did not help him at all. During the story we learn of Oedipus anger as he knocked a passerby at the meeting of the three highways; “I struck in my anger (812)”. Later, this passerby whom he angrily and quickly killed, was revealed to be Laios, Oedipus father. Oedipus anger also quickly shifted his judgment of Teiresias. you, I think, helped plot the deed; you did it even if your hand cannot have struck the blow. (352) Oedipus respect for Teiresias quickly changed as Teiresias refused to tell the trouble s cause. Oedipus began claiming that Creon has, suborned this fortuneteller schemer! deceitful beggar-priest! (393) meaning that Teiresias was thought of as a traitor by Oedipus. Oedipus anger is also shown as he begins to insult Teiresias by calling him stupid (438)”. Oedipus anger throughout the beginning of the play hindered him.
The final trait that is Oedipus greatest enemy throughout the entirety of the play is his own truthfulness. Whenever new facts presented themselves, Oedipus gave them an honest look. As soon as it is suspect that Oedipus is involved, he acknowledged it; Alas! It seems that in my ignorance I laid those fearful curses on myself. (749) Oedipus never held back any evidence pointing to his possible future eviction and loss of his kingly status. As the plot grew to one of its climax s, Oedipus persisted testimony of the Herdsman, Stop! Don t you rebuke his words. Your words ask for rebuke far more than his. (1152) Truthfulness is the binding trait that brought Oedipus downfall. If Oedipus hid all the facts concerning his self, then he could have easily buried this; nobody would know that he neither killed his father nor slept with his mother.
The decline of Oedipus power is initiated by his traits of anger, haste, and truthfulness. Inevitably, the decline of power led to the plucking of his eyes as foretold by Teiresias. Blind, who once could see father who is also brother; to the one who bore him, son and husband; to his father, his seed-fellow and killer. (459) Fate is inescapable; attempts to try and alter ones fate will only bring more pain and suffering as witnessed in this play. Life is waiting until the end, scrutinizing the dying day, and not calling it happy until the crossover into another world (wc 610).
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