Oedipus character essay

Oedipus is the king of Thebes, married to Jocasta.

Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

He is unaware, at the start of the play, that he has murdered his father and slept with his mother. Soon he learns that it was he that put his kingdom at such terrible risk, and blinds himself using a brooch. He has a 'tell-tale limp', a piercing wound in his ankles, made as a child by the father who exposed him. This echoes his name, which roughly translates as 'swollen-feet'. In line with most tragic 'heroes,' Oedipus has a clear hamartia - or tragic flaw - which precipitates his woeful fate.

Achilles and Oedipus in Compare and Contrast Essay

That said, Oedipus' hamartia is not always so clear - since it appears that his prideful sins occurred long before the start of the play. Indeed, Oedipus' greatest sin appears to take place when he kills a man at a roadside in a fit of temper, suggesting that no deed goes unpunished. Ultimately, however, Oedipus must pay the price for dismissing Teiresias' judgment and the Oracle's prophecy, as yet another reminder that the Gods are infinitely more powerful than men.

Jocasta is the wife and mother of Oedipus and queen of Thebes. Before marrying Oedipus, she was married to Laius.

Oedipus the King Analysis Essay

She commits suicide at the end of the play, perhaps in guilt that she left Oedipus to die as a baby, thus precipitating his course towards a tragic end for their whole family. Teiresias is the blind prophet, led by a small boy, who knows the truth about Oedipus's parentage. Oedipus calls on him to find Laius's killer but becomes furious when Teiresias claims that Oedipus himself is the killer.

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Teiresias's words, however, prove true ultimately, suggesting that he is a mouthpiece for the Gods and an oracle to be trusted far more than the convictions and hopes of man. Teiresias is often represented as being part-male, part-female in classical literature. Creon is Jocasta's brother, who shares one third of Thebes's riches with Oedipus and Jocasta. He is a devout follower of the oracle of Apollo, and as the play opens, he is returning from the oracle with the news that Laius's killer must be found.

He is a loyal friend to Oedipus, and ultimately remains forgiving and kind to Oedipus even when Oedipus turns on him and suggests he is conspiring against him. He is to take over Thebes after Oedipus' exile.

Creon also takes center stage in Sophocles' play, Antigone, which adds another chapter to Oedipus' doomed lineage. The Messenger from Corinth arrives to tell Oedipus that his father, Polybus, is dead, and that the people of Corinth wish Oedipus to be their new king. He says that long ago a stranger from Thebes gave him a baby as a gift to the king and queen of Corinth.

Oedipus Rex Character Analysis Essay Example For Students - words | Artscolumbia

This baby was, of course, Oedipus who would grow up to be king himself. The Messenger, then, provides the audience with the first real clue of dramatic irony that suggests that Teiresias' words and those of the Oracle are true - long before Oedipus discovers their veracity. Without a doubt, the plague affects all facets of life, from the products the soil produces to the very life that inhabits the land. Thus, Oedipus acquires the image of a plowman, and his hunt becomes twofold.

Moreover, he is the sailor who navigates the ship to safety.

A+ Student Essay

Unfortunately, an exchange with his wife, Jocasta, leaves him incapable of assisting them. Finally, Oedipus has the recognition that he is the murderer of Laius.


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Accordingly, he is no longer in control of the ship. During his hunt, Oedipus concludes that his past choices create the plague that corrupts the soil. In the end, he realizes that the reckless navigation of his life creates his disaster.

In short, Sophocles brings to light that all humans possess the ability to navigate his or her life; however, the direction one chooses to sail determines the outcome of his or her life. If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please:. Essays English Literature. Essays, UK. November