The Many Faces of Oedipus

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The duality of Oedipus could be reflecting a split or multiple personality. Oedipus could be lying about being a kind and just king or he could indeed be a person with more than one face. This is not to imply that he is two-faced in the sense of personality, but in the sense of his mentality due to a repressed childhood or the knowledge of his fate. In the play, Oedipus had no recollection of killing the king until confronted about it by Tiresias. Long ago Tiresias prophesized that Oedipus’ fate was to kill his own father. Later in his life the young protagonist had heard of the very same prophesy from a strange man who knew Oedipus’ real origin. Perhaps the knowledge of his own fate created an alternate identity in Oedipus, making him unaware of certain actions that had rooted from anger and rage. Oedipus, the protagonist of this classical tragedy, is a character ruled by fate and conflict. Oedipus’ character is controlled by his fate, yet at the same time his impetuous and short-tempered nature contributes to his fate. In the beginning of the play we see Oedipus as a great leader who honors and respects the elders of the city. When Tiresias began to challenge Oedipus, the king lost his temper and immediately transferred from that respectful behavior to anger and impatience towards the blind old prophet. His outburst of anger could be the result of a mental problem and the fact that he could not remember what his actions were pushes one to believe that he may have Multiple Personality Disorder. According to, “Multiple personality disorder (MPD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by having at least one "alter" personality that controls behavior. The personalities transpire unexpectedly and unintentionally, and function separately from each other”. A person can go a large part of their life and not know that they have this mental disorder and they can have up to hundreds of these alternate versions of themselves. In the case of Oedipus, the man he...
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