Oedipus the King Essay

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Roberto Rodriguez Cacho
Dr. Hulett
English 151-34
21 April 2009
Tragic End in the Kings Life
Throughout the history of human kind there have been plenty of tragedies among the royal families. Sometimes the murder of a member of a royal family have led to war, like it happened on “June 28, 1914 when the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated”(Lebow) provoking tension among the European powers of that time, and inciting what later on became World War I. In other occasions the kings are the reason of a kingdom's problems, as it happens in Sophocles's play Oedipus the King, where the only way of saving the kingdom of Thebes is by getting rid of the ruling king, Oedipus. Some other times the tragedy stays within the royal family, causing multiple deaths and practically vanishing the heritage of the family. This situation is described in one of Shakespeare's finest plays, Hamlet, where the king is assassinated and it induces the other characters in the play to revenge the king's death causing a major tragedy. These are some examples of the consequences that a murder of a royal family member may bring, but if we analyze the reasons why these tragedies happen we can find some common patterns throughout history too. While analyzing the plays that take this subject as the main theme of the story like in Hamlet and Oedipus the King, there are some options that could answer the question, why the kings die in the story?. The options I found interested in analyzing to answer this question are: because the discontent of the people in the kingdom, because of envy of those close to the king that are seeking power, and because of the hubris and excessive ambition kings have and are unable to control.

Sophocles wrote Oedipus the King at a time where the people of Athens were having a lot of problems. “The Athenians had just lost a war in 431 B.C., against Sparta and the city was infested with a plague that wiped out at least a quarter of the Athenian...
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