The Universal Lessons of Oedipus the King

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  • Topic: Oedipus, Jocasta, Oedipus the King
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  • Published : December 5, 2011
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The Universal Lessons of Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King is a dramatic tale of a great king brought down by “fate” and the destiny of the gods. It is a story of strife over events that were out of one’s control but mainly handled in a way that only caused further destruction and heartache. There are many universal lessons to be learned by Oedipus and his tragic story; lessons that every man today could benefit from, such as the downfalls of arrogance and selfishness, the grave mistakes in being judgmental and sanctimonious, and the repercussions of being quick to act without sufficient knowledge. “Now, I am here. I will begin the search again, I will reveal the truth, expose everything, let it all be seen” (160-163). This line spoken by Oedipus toward the start of the play clearly demonstrates his tendencies toward arrogance and insolence. He boasts of his abilities above others previous and states how he will come to find the truth when they could not. He goes on to reveal that he is doing so mostly for selfish reasons. “Justice and vengeance are what I want. […] Family, friends—I won’t rid myself of this stain, this disease, for them—they’re far from here. I’ll do it for myself, for me” (165, 167-169). Oedipus allows his selfish ego to get in the way of him here. The people are in need of help and he claims to be the only one who can provide it. He takes matters into his own hands and decides that for his own glory he is going to discover the secrets of the past and lives before his arrival in Thebes. He then reveals that he is doing so mostly for his own benefit. I think he proves himself haughty in his claims to be able to uncover the truth and such actions and attitude prove to be met with unpleasant ends. After Oedipus makes these bold claims that he and he alone can uncover the culprit he seeks, he compiles his mistakes by being smug and quick to judge. He proclaims his unquestionable innocence and quickly denounces whosoever is the guilty party. “I...
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