subject: English / Oedipus Rexscore: ATitle: The Transformation of OedipusWhen Oedipus, as a young man, first learned from one of Apollo92soracles that hewas destined to murder his father and marry his mother, he fled his home inCorinth,attempting to defy the prophecy, and he wandered the roads of Greece.
In hiswanderingshe happened upon another traveler who obstructed his path. Being too proudto detourfrom his course and let this other man through, Oedipus killed him.He went on to become king of Thebes by marrying the residing queen,Jocaste.
Under Oedipus92 rule, the city saw immediate and lasting prosperity. Butfifteen yearsdown the line, a plague swept over Thebes, and the only cure for the city92stroubles wasfor its former king Laius92 murderer to be brought to justice. Laius haddisappearedfifteen years earlier, shortly before Oedipus arrived in Thebes and solvedthe riddle of thesphinx, freeing the city from its clutches. Oedipus sends for the omniscientTiresias, whois reluctant to reveal the implicating information to the king, but Oedipus92refuses to lethis pride falter, so he blindly pursues the identity of the murderer, unawarethat he is on amission of self-incrimination. Tiresias92 words lead Oedipus to learn thatLaius was hisboth his father and the former king of Thebes, not to mention the travelerthat Oedipuskilled on his passage to Thebes. So he punishes himself by gouging out hiseyes, inretribution for his crimes.It is often said the Oedipus was fated to doom, that he could havedone nothing;to the contrary, Oedipus spent every moment of his life digging his owngrave.
Hisexcessive pride and arrogance, as well as his notion that he could challengea prophecyfrom the gods, were the shovel he dug with. All the important decisions hemade in hislifetime, he made with this hubris. His judgements were all the foundationfor hisdemise; he, not fate, constructed his path to doom.
After the drunkard at a party in his home of Corinth blurted out 93Youare not yourfather92s son,94 Oedipus embarked on a journey to Delphi to learn the validityof thisstatement. But he learned much more important matters upon arriving, namelytheinfamous prophecy that he would kill his father and couple with his mother,who, to hisknowledge, were Polybus and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth. So Oedipusabandoned his life in the city of those who had raised him. This outrightmocking of thegods92 prophecy was a big step in Oedipus92 downfall. He thought he couldoutrun theprediction, but instead, his arrogance pushed him into its grasp in Thebes,where his realparents, Laius and Jocaste, reigned.His own pride would again bring him to fulfill the destiny he dreadedso much onthe way to Thebes.
He would not stray slightly from his path to let Laiusby, and hekilled him. Oedipus had much more pride than it took to simply attempt toinvalidate theprophecy by refraining from murder altogether; his arrogance led him to killa stranger.Had he been able to swallow his conceitedness and let Laius by, Oedipus wouldnot haveproceeded to the midpoint of the prophecy. By killing his father, hefulfilled the first halfof it.Oedipus goes on believing that his Corinthian caretakers were hisbiologicalparents up to and through the death of Polybus, who fell of natural causes.
In fact, thisreinforces Oedipus92 false belief that he could defy Apollo92s prophecy,furthering hispompous nature. Tiresias sees that Oedipus92 pride counters his desire for theexcruciating truth, and hesitates to tell him. To Oedipus, this is achallenge of the king92sauthority. He wants desperately to prove to the people of Thebes that he hassaved thembefore and can do it again. Unwilling to accept defeat before the populationof the city,he accuses Tiresias and Creon of treason. As he pushes Tiresias for moreinformation onLaius92 murderer, he pushes for his own defeat, visionless from his own pride.
Not content with Tiresias92 riddle that reveals to the audience, whoare not blindlike the Thebian king, that Oedipus is the killer, Oedipus probes deeper intothe mystery.He disregards the beckoning of his wife Jocaste to not look further into thepuzzle andbecomes a detective on the trail to expose himself. Determined not to lookweak in frontof Thebes, Oedipus has neglected the warnings of both a prophet and his wife.He trieslooking everywhere but inside himself, where the answer is closer. He wouldhave savedhimself loads of trouble had he only taken a step back from the entirefiasco, and seenthat all leads point the finger at him.
But his pride was his blindfold, hishubris hisdownfall. In the end, Oedipus learns what has been under his nose the wholetime, what hewas unable to see because of his tragic flaw. The flaw that has been killinghim slowlysince his birth. Oedipus92 arrogance took away his eyes, and it is ironicthat only when hephysically gouged out his own eyes with Jocaste92s pins was he able to see. At that point,he knew that he could not escape the prophecy; he knew that was too proud toever makea correct judgement. Before, Oedipus was the epitome of what was desired insociety; hehad power, a wife, and wealth.
Alas, his wife committed suicide, and herenounced hisreign over Thebes, rejecting the power and the wealth. But in doing so, hegainedsomething infinitely more valuable yet infinitely less tangible: wisdom. Hegainedinsight into himself, something he had lacked for all his life. Hubriskilled Oedipus theKing, and humility created the new Oedipus.