Oedipus the King

Oedipus is a man of accepting his responsibilities and acting on them. Being a man

of action, accepts his responsibility of a son and leaves home attempting to avoid his faith

which consists of the murder of his father and marriage to his mother. As king he accepts

his responsibility of the uncovering of the murder of King Laius. The search for the

murderer leads to nothing but a discovery of regrettable action and literally a blinding

truth. A truth that was better left undiscovered. Oedipus discovers that he murdered King

Laius and married his mother Jocasta. His discovery yet innocent at heart leads to his

realization that he is guilty of one thing, trying to change his own faith.

Oedipus the King is a man of responsible action, but has an uncontrollable curiosity

which hurts him in the end. Oedipus accepts his duties as king and tries to end the plague

in Thebes.

“Then I’ll go back and drag that shadowed past to light. Oh, yes the pious Apollo and your piety have set on foot a duty to the dead: A search that you and I together will pursue. My designs could not be suited more: to avenge the god and Thebes in a single blow. Ah! Not for any far-flung friend, but by myself and for myself I’ll break this plague. For who knows, tomorrow this selfsame murderer may turn his bloody hands on me. The cause of Laius therefore is my own. So, rise up, children, and be off. Take your prayer boughs too. Summon here the counselors of Thebes and muster too the Cadmus clan. I am resolute, and shall not stop till with Apollo’s help all-blessed we emerge, or else we are lost-beyond all purge.” ( Prologue, pg 219).

This refrain is describes Oedipus’ motives and intent for his action or any action he make

in the play. He is declaring his search for the murder of King Laius. It shows that he is

taking responsibility for being king, vengeful to the god, persistent in pursuit for the

murderer, but most of all selfish. Oedipus says himself in this line “ Not for any far-flung

friend, but myself and for myself I’ll break this plague.” Oedipus is acting noble in

avenging the former kings death, but his first sign of selfishness protrudes out this line.

Oedipus’ action of avenging the king’s death and breaking the plague is the chance for

him to be proved as a great king.

Oedipus finds out from the oracle in his childhood town Corinth that he will murder

his father and marry his mother. Oedipus being just and reasonable does not want this to

occur, so he leaves Corinth. Oedipus tries to deny his own faith by leaving home.

Oedipus proves to be selfish by not accepting his own fate. Apart from what he was

fated to do, he does not want to do accept his faith and leaves. Some say these actions

maybe, innocent. Who would want to murder their own father, let along marry your

mother? It was his curiosity of wanting to know his own faith. It is not his choice to

change it and he is guilty of that. His action of leaving innocent, but the Oedipus not

accepting his faith which he desired is selfish.

Oedipus’ persistence and curiosity overpowered reason. In the First Episode on page

226 Tiresias the blind oracle say “ I’d rather keep you and me from harm. Don’t press me

uselessly. My lips are sealed.” Tiresias consciously tries to cover up the knowledge

Oedipus desires, but eventually sets the knowledge free. Oedipus’ curiosity and

persistence lead him to the beginning of his own doom. Oedipus’ actions stop being

noble when he becomes suspect to the crime. From the moment Tiresias tells Oedipus

that “The rotting canker in the State is you.”, Oedipus’ noble search becomes a personal

one in which he can not refrain from settling his curiosity. This is where sometimes the

truth is better left unsaid, but Oedipus refuses to refrain from his overpowering curiosity.

The arrival of the shepherd answers all the questions Oedipus desires. The

messenger helps explain what happened in the woods and during his childhood.

The shepherd and messenger were neighbors on