Oedipus the King by Sophocles
How it works
In Sophocles’ story, Oedipus The King, the title concerns the main character Oedipus, King of Thebes, who married his own mother without knowledge and killed his own father. When Oedipus was born, King Laius gained from a prophet that he was bound to be slaughtered by his very own child, thus requested Jocasta, his better half, to kill Oedipus. At the Town of Corinth, he was raised by King Polybus and his wife, Merope, as their own child. Oedipus learning about the prophecy left the town of Corinth to prevent it from happening.
In Thebes he became a father, a husband and a ruler. Although Oedipus makes rash decision, we sympathize with him because he cares for the good of his own people. In the novel, before Oedipus was born his life is already ill-fated due to the prophecy. His legitimate parents, King Laius and Jocasta, tried to get rid of him to prevent the prophecy from happening.
However, he was saved by King Polybus and his wife, Merope, from the misfortune and made him as their own. Years passed and Oedipus knew about the prophecy of killing his own parents so he left Corinth to be able to forestall himself from killing Polybus and Merope. When he was in Thebes he solves the riddle of his current hometown from the cruel singer-Sphinx (Sophocles, 2&3). By saving the hometown he also saved the people of Thebes that made him as hero. Oedipus then soon marries Jocasta and became King. When he was ruling Thebes they were struck by some phenomenal catastrophe and decided to send Creon to the prophetic oracle of Apollo in order to get some advice on what to do to solve the problem (Sophocles, 4). He was able to save the town of Thebes from Sphinx and yet he was unable to solve his own personal problem about the oracle. Moreover, Oedipus love and care for his current hometown is undeniable as he must follow what the God prescribes in order to free his people from the catastrophe. Later in the story, Oedipus’ mindset with his situation began to change.
As he began searching for his true identity and at the same time King Laius’ murderer, he noticed that the story about the King is the same story of what he encountered when he ran away from Corinth and came near the triple crossroad (Sophocles, 56). Revealing the true murderer of the King, Oedipus himself took his own eyesight due to disgrace brought by the prophecy that he was the true killer. He cannot endure to look upon himself. Although the truth was revealed, we all know that Oedipus, himself, tried everything at his power to prevent the oracle from happening. In addition, he realized that no one’s to blame to the catastrophe happening in Thebes except himself. He was blinded by the truth that cause to happen such chaos among the Thebans and most definitely to his own family. Oedipus told his children to pray in order to find a place where they’ll be accepted by the society and to experience a happier life compared to his (Sophocles, 105). At the end, oedipus choose to be exile away from Thebes as a result of his crime and shame to his people.
The suffering that Oedipus encountered while searching for the truth resulted to chaos. He had done things he shouldn’t have and he had suffered for crimes he didn’t meant to do. It was clearly seen that one cannot prevent things from happening. Escaping or controlling the fate of one’s person cannot change the reality that God already planned everything. Knowing may not be the best and perhaps sometime ignorance is bliss.