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Essay Samples > Literary Analysis > Oedipus the King
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Oedipus the King

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Oedipus is described as a “mythic figure” meaning that his emotions and challenges in real life mirrors the way ordinary experiences people go through. An example is where its humanly to experience fear about our future or to find out that our plans have been wiped by more forceful forces. We are therefore faced with the need to make decisions without full knowledge only to find out that our earlier life actions have resulted to some unintended outcome. Thus, we are compelled to search for the truth only to feel more anger and feel more grief. Usually these kinds of experiences do not take place in full public view but privately. This is exactly what happened to Oedipus as depicted by the play. This is what happened to Oedipus as he does not know who murdered his father or who slept with his mother.

These are some of the main traits that Oedipus exhibits to show universality to all humans. He exhibits human traits that we all humans posses and covet very much. Of course no humans will wish to neither kill their father nor marry their mother but only metaphorically to a situation like this. Oedipus thinks that he can change his fate if he can make use of his intelligence. But ironically, it is this intelligence that literally blinds him. Oedipus is a good man who succumbs to his fate though pride.  

The play titled “Oedipus the King” covers the life of Oedipus who ruled the ancient Greek. Prophesies about the king killing his father Laius and then marrying his own mother came to be fulfilled even though his father had ordered that the little child must be killed so as to divert the prophesy, but the kid was thrown to the mountain side were a shepherd took him and handed him to King Polypus of Corinth. Oedipus had character traits which were common to all human beings.

The main play’s character Oedipus shows personalities that all humans desire and possess. Indeed, no one wants to kill their parent and marry their mother, though we can relate symbolically to his circumstances. We relay to the wide array of emotions Oedipus shows and the reactions he partakes in diverse conditions he faces. He is an excellent person who eventually falls to his destiny through his pride, intelligence, and temperament. It is evident even from the very beginning that he was a good and caring leader with extreme pride. “Oh my children, the new blood of ancient Thebes, why are you here? Huddling at my altar, praying before me, your branches wound in wool. Our city reeks with the smoke of burning incense, rings with the cries for the Healer and wailing for the dead. I thought it wrong, my children, to hear the truth from others, messengers. Here I am myself-you all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus (Johnston 1-9)”. He loved his people, and they adored him like a god.

His trait of being a leader of good quality and of decency is manifested throughout the play.  The kingdom suffers calamities and prolonged drought which provokes him to sent his brother-in-law to Apollo in the temple. After Creon returns, he comes with revelation that the lands are polluted by an unclean man who killed an innocent king. “Lord Phoebus clearly orders us to drive away the polluting stain this land has harbored which will not be healed if we keep nursing it… what sort of cleansing? … (100-110)”. After it is discovered that, indeed, he was the murderer, he accepts fate and is driven away from his motherland that shows how selfless he is and that wants the best for his people. “Send me away to live outside of Thebes… but I’ve become abhorrent to the gods… (Johnston 1794-1797)”

Conclusion

We have seen that Oedipus, like all other humans, shows personalities that all humans desire and possess. He never intended to kill his father nor marry his mother but as fate could have it, he ended up doing both of these taboos. We relay to the wide array of emotions Oedipus shows and the reactions he partakes in diverse conditions he faces. Oedipus is a good man who unfortunately succumbs to his fate though pride.  

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