February 23, 2009
The tragic story of a man who can’t avoid his pre-destined fate, and that some things just can’t be changed by the people in your life no matter how hard they try. Bold, reckless, and arrogant were words that came to mind when I thought of Oedipus before reading Sophocles' Oedipus the King. Based on background information, I figured that this man was somewhat of a good ruler but a terrible person. A man who would murder his father and marry his mother must surely be a nasty person, even if the crimes were committed "accidentally". I saw him as a man trying to use the oracles as a scapegoat, and trying to push blame around him as if it were not his fault. I thought of him as a weak person who could not stand up to his own actions. Oedipus, the main character of this tragedy, he is a protagonist ruled by conflict and fate. I think Sophocles was trying to get across the point that even the greatest leaders eventually have a down fall to them, and that everyone is not perfect. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions.
When we first meet Oedipus he is being met by hoards of distressed townspeople. Like a good leader, Oedipus listens to the problems of his citizens and with the confidence only fit for a king, declares he will fix the problem. Oedipus' pride is an inherited characteristic. Even before his glory and power as King of Thebes, he allowed his conceit to affect his judgment and rule his actions. Oedipus actually seems like a very good leader in this setting. He is a leader full of compassion and justice. He is also very swift and is full of candor; something needed to ease the nerves of his townspeople.
He vows to fix their problem and bring tough justice down on whoever the culprit is, even if it is someone close to him....
Oedipus arrogantly tells the Chorus, "You pray to the gods
Oedipus the King Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes - Shmoop
SparkNotes: The Oedipus Plays: Important Quotations Explained