What makes a good ruler, a leader for their country? Is strength and a portrayal of protection all that matters, or is a good, capable ruler entitled to a few flaws and mistakes? If there were a situation where people were given the choice to vote for Oedipus or not as a leader for a country, I would vote against him. While he does in fact possess the skills and traits that would be well-suited in ruling a country, he has encountered many misfortunes and has shown some negative qualities that could cause people to overlook him and vote for another.
In looking for a good choice in leaders, many would want someone who has a love and devotion toward the people as their main concern, someone who shows a clear, genuine interest in what is best for their people and country. Oedipus is someone who shows this trait. In Sophicles’ Oedipus the King, the people of Thebes were coming to Oedipus for help from a terrible plague, Oedipus showed concern and sadness:
Poor children! You may be sure I know all that you longed for in your coming
here. I know that you are deathly sick: and yet, sick as you are, not one is as I.
Each of you suffers in himself alone his anguish, not another’s; but my spirit
groans for the city, for myself, for you.
(Prologue, ll. 60-67)
He also is someone who does not leave his people in the dark. At the return of his brother-in-law’s visit to an oracle to find out what can be done to get rid of the plague, he wanted everyone present to listen to the news, “Let them all hear it. It is for them I suffer, more than for myself” (Sophicles Prologue, ll. 95-96). I feel that this is impressive in him due to the fact that many leaders hear news and will then make decisions without informing the country’s people, which could lead to the people, not the leader, paying the price for his decisions and actions, and in the end suffer. In a way Oedipus gives the people a chance to play their part in helping anyway that they can, by...
Cited: Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia, editors. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing. Fifth Fifth Compact Edition. New York: Pearson Longman. 2007
Sophicles. Oedipus the King. Translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Kennedy and Gioia 887- 924
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