The famous play Oedipus the King was written by Sophocles to depict an Athenian tragedy. The first performance of the play took place in 429 B.C. and it was part of a trilogy by Sophocles. The play’s main character is known as Oedipus, the ruler of Thebes, who unfortunately married his mother and killed his father. This tragedy shows that even noble kings can suffer from a tragic downfall. Human beings will always make mistakes, but they should not be judged by the bad acts they have committed. They should be judged by the wise decisions that they make for the benefit of others. This paper seeks to give a critical analysis of why Oedipus was a noble king based upon his many desirable qualities.
The play depicted Oedipus as a man who had an extremely great insight and possessed the power of swift action. During the opening scenes of Oedipus the King, many exceptional qualities were present in the life of Oedipus. He was an excellent ruler who constantly kept on anticipating the needs of his subjects. For example, when the citizens of the city of Thebes begged him to take action to address the plague problem, his true nature came to the fore. Oedipus was, in fact, a step ahead of his people as he already knew about the plague and had even come up for a solution to end the pandemic. He had already made plans and sent Creon to an oracle that was situated at Delphi in order to obtain advice concerning the measures to deal with the plague. Later on, it was evident that a looming danger existed because Oedipus had a habit of acting swiftly, a character that had dangerous effects (Plumptre, 2005).
Strength and determination are some two unique qualities that Oedipus often displayed. The play, written by Sophocles, has attempted to portray the king of Thebes (Oedipus) as being an extremely dignified and powerful man. Throughout the course of the play, Oedipus’ classic tale is brought to life and audiences are marveled. There are many times that life became quite unbearable especially in the life of Oedipus, but he was able to handle it well. He was able to maintain his trustworthiness and nobility during the difficult times in his life. Sophocles was able to let the readers as well as audience to know from the start that the fate of Oedipus had already been pre-determined. In the future, he would marry his own mother and end up killing is father (Plumptre, 2005). Owing to the fact that Oedipus was not aware of this destiny, one starts to view Oedipus as being a person as well as a king. In addition, throughout the entire play, the audience clearly sees the dignity, strength, and power of Oedipus. There are times that the nature and character of Oedipus changes, but he still continues to display the qualities of a trust-worthy and noble human being.
There are not many individuals who would claim or even prove that they love others more than themselves. It is no wonder that Oedipus acted out of love because he dearly loved his city as well as his family. This shows that Oedipus was a man who demanded a lot of respect because of the manner in which his actions seek to show his character. He did not act out of wrath or pride, and the reason why he his quick tempered can be explained. Oedipus wanted to find the quickest solution that would assist him to stop the tragic flaw in the city of Thebes from affecting his people. He was an individual who displayed his intellectual honesty and this enabled him to make quick judgments that had a beneficial impact (Plumptre, 2005).
The identity held by Oedipus is similar to that of other heroes that existed before him. His identity was present in his name and that was the reason why Sophocles kept on echoing his name throughout the play. This shows that even Sophocles had a deep respect for the character known as Oedipus. There is good and sufficient ground to justify why Oedipus was extremely confident in everything that he did. He was able to save the city of Thebes from the curse brought about by the Sphinx. In a matter of time, Oedipus was able to gain power and clinch the throne as the king of Thebes. It even reached a point whereby Oedipus constantly proclaimed his own name in a profound manner. He believed that his name was powerful to the point that it had healing powers. He often proclaimed that “Here I am myself-/ you all know me, the world knows my fame: / I am Oedipus” (Plumptre, 2005).
The confidence and swiftness of Oedipus is still seen even at the culmination of the play. It is easy to see that while interrogating Creon, he calls for Tiresias and even makes threats to banish Creon and Tiresias. He had earlier on demanded that he be exiled after calling a shepherd that took him to Corinth. In addition, before being exiled, he ensured that a servant that had escaped from Laius would be called. He was quite confident to the point that even when he was in constant motion, he always kept in mind what awaited him. There are times that his fate could not be controlled, but he was able to contain it owing to his noble nature. Oedipus knew that in order to succeed in life he had to find peace. It was because of his noble nature that he was able to forge friendships easily. The friendships were responsible for influencing his success whenever he wanted to solve issues affecting people he cared about (Plumptre, 2005).
Determination is another unique attribute that Oedipus employed to accomplish many things. If he was not determined, he would never have known the true identity of the real killer of Laius. In addition, he would never have known the truth regarding his life, which in my opinion is not in any way a flaw. Instead, this shows that he was an admirable and prized human being, as brought out by his determination. In order to save his people from eminent disaster, Oedipus had to solve the mystery (Plumptre, 2005). He believed in the information he received from the Delphi oracle concerning banishing the killer. If he had not heeded to the oracle’s warning, Thebes would have been destroyed. This shows that Oedipus acted in the same manner as any good and noble leader would act in a bid to uphold the interest of his citizens. In conclusion, all the evidence proves that Oedipus was a noble king but he had to face his tragic fate
Plumptre, E. (2005). Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Retrieved from Digireads.com
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