Oedipus Rex Essay

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Riley Ferrill

Mrs. Weed

English II

12/17/12

The Torments of Oedipus

Oedipus began this tale as a king, only to end the tale as a blinded beggar. Oedipus' fall from his kingly status was not by accident or because of some other person. Oedipus is the only one that can be blamed for his misfortune. Oedipus' character traits are shown most clearly during his spiraling downfall, thinking he is "a simple man, who knows nothing", yet knowing more than he realizes by the end of the story. Throughout the story, Oedipus' haste or lack of patience is most evident. Wishing to end this mystery of the death of Laius as quickly as possible, Oedipus passes an edict to kill or exile anyone who conceals information. Teiresias tested Oedipus' patience in the beginning of the story with the information he was holding; "You'd try a stone's patience! Out with it". This impatient accusing of Teiresias proved to be apalling, especially since Teiresias foretold the ending of the story. If Oedipus had been more patient and waited, he might have not been quite so upset about the future, and could have prevented it. However, that one trait did not alone take away his position of high authority. Oedipus displayed anger throughout the whole story, which did not help him. During the story, we learn of his anger as he knocked a passerby at the meeting of the three highways,"I struck him in my rage". Later, this passerby whom he angrily and quickly killed, was revealed to be Laius, Oedipus' father. Oedipus' anger also quickly shifted his judgment of Teiresias. "We are in your hands. There is no fairer duty.” Oedipus' respect for Teiresias quickly changed as the blind man refused to tell of what was the cause of the city's scourge. Oedipus began claiming that "Creon has brought this decrepit fortune teller" to mean that Teiresias was thought of as a traitor in Oedipus' eyes. Whenever new facts presented themselves, Oedipus gave them an honest consideration. As soon as it was...
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