Oedipus the King

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In Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, Oedipus was told from an oracle that was going to murder his father and marry his mother. He left Cornith, his home, to get away from this omen but he did, in fact, end up killing his father and marrying his mother. Once he found out the truth, Oedipus punished himself by stabbing his eyes out in a fit of rage and exiling himself from the city of Thebes. When one considers the crimes committed by Oedipus, the first thought that may cross one’s mind is that he really deserved his punishments and that they fit his crimes. After all, murder and incest, of which he was guilty, are two horrendous crimes. Giving the matter a little more thought, however, and how everything came to be, one realises that perhaps we should not be so harsh when judging Oedipus. Oedipus’ punishments were largely his parents fault and he was obviously unaware of his actions. Oedipus may not have been a particularly good monarch, his intentions, however, were good: he wished to put an end to a deadly plague which would only be stopped when the murderer was  killed, or driven from the land. He became king of Thebes only because it was his destiny to murder Laius and kill the Sphinx, therefore his actions were not by choice, but acts of the gods. Had he been aware of who is true parents were, he would never have killed his father or slept with his biological mother. One concentrates on the two most obvious of Oedipus' punishments, however there was an additional one that may not seem so clear right away. Oedipus was a man of much pride which grew as he became more powerful. Once he realised her was a murderer and had committed incest, he was stripped of that pride. To lose the very thing that was the driving force behind his whole personality was worse than any physical pain or even death itself and that was, in fact, Oedipus' ultimate punishment. In conclusion, I do not feel that Oedipus truly deserved the punishments he was handed. Indeed, he committed...
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