Oedipus And His Flaws Essay, Research Paper
Advanced English 10 3rd hour
September 28, 1997
Oedipus’s Inextinguishable Flaws
Flaws plague every man and woman on this planet. Flaws are what we have in common with each other, and all characteristics that make us human. Sophocles’s Oedipus, shows that sometimes the combination of certain flaws and other human characteristics can have a tragic outcome. The caring King Oedipus was paranoid and short tempered, and these characteristics brought him to his downfall.
From the beginning of the story Oedipus is depicted as a noble caring man. He is greatly distressed about the plague in Thebes. “My soul mourns the city…” (Sophocles 305)
he tells the priest and the suffering people of Thebes. If Oedipus did not care for his kingdom, he never would have bothered to seek out Laius’s murderer. Oedipus also mourned the death of his wife. As well, Oedipus proves himself a loving father towards his daughters, by asking Creon to take care of them.
One of the main reasons for Oedipus’s exile is his short temper. Oedipus loses his temper with Tireseas, because he will not tell Oedipus the truth. After Tireseas speaks the truth, Oedipus grows even more short tempered, and taunts Tireseas for being blind. Oedipus then accuses Creon of sending Tireseas to make Oedipus think he is the murderer. After Oedipus accuses Creon he tells him, “I do not desire your banishment– but your death.” (Sophocles 313) The death of Laius would never have occurred if it was not for Oedipus’s short temper. Oedipus forced King Laius off the road because his procession wouldn’t make way for Oedipus and his group. If Oedipus had thought things through he would have never have acted so irrationally and killed King Laius.
Oedipus’s short temper is triggered by his paranoia. While he meets with Tireseas, Oedipus believes that Creon, his own brother-in-law and friend, is against him. “Was it Creon that planned this or yourself,” (Sophocles 309) Oedipus says to Tireseas. Oedipus also thinks that his own countrymen could be against him. Once Creon comes home and tells Oedipus that he must find Laius’s murderer he proclaims, “…whoever slew Laius might turn a hand against me.” (Sophocles 306) Oedipus has a certain paranoia around himself as the truth is being unraveled. His wife, Jocasta tells him to stop searching, and Oedipus assumes his worse fate can be that he is of an unnoble birth. He thinks his wife is against his search for her petty reasons. Despite his wife and Tireseas’s warnings, Oedipus falls slowly into demise on this terrible day.
In conclusion, Oedipus’s demise was brought by his paranoia, short temper, and his sensitivity to other people’s pain. These are emotional flaws shared by all of us to different degrees. It is interesting to see that the emotional problems of the heart we deal with in modern times also tormented the ancient Greeks.