Who Is Responsible for the Downfall of Oedipus Fate or Free Will?

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  • Topic: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Creon
  • Pages : 4 (1653 words )
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  • Published : November 3, 2012
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In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus is responsible for the tragedy of his downfall. Oedipus is presented with a series of choices throughout the play, and his arrogant and stubborn nature push him to impulsively make the wrong decisions, the decisions that ultimately lead him to his downfall. While Oedipus and those around him consider "fate" the source of Oedipus' problems, Oedipus' decisions show the audience that it is he who is responsible.            Oedipus is a man of constant action. When the priests come to ask for his help, he has already dispatched Creon to the oracle to find out what the gods suggest. When the chorus suggests that he consult Tiresias, Oedipus has already sent for him. Oedipus decides quickly and acts quickly—traits his audience would have seen as admirable and in the best tradition of Athenian leadership. But Oedipus’s tendency to decide and act quickly leads him down a path to his own destruction. "I have already done the only thing that came into my head for all my search. I have sent the son of Menoeceus, Creon, my wife's brother, to the Pythian House of Phoebus...." Sophocles is able to drive his message about the pitfalls of human arrogance through Oedipus' fatal flaws and the use of metaphorical and literal blindness. Sophocles' motif of blindness throughout the play seems to be a direct reference to Oedipus' flaws. From the very beginning when he declares, "I see- how could I fail to see..." to the middle when he realizes, "how terrible- to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees!" to the end when he laments, "dark horror of darkness, my darkness" sight and blindness, the absence of sight, are literal and figurative motifs in the play. Oedipus' words while taunting the blindness of Tiresias: Night, endless night has covered you up so that you can neither hurt me nor any man that looks upon the sun. Tiresias'...
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