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Oedipus Rex

Dec 02, 2000 297 Words

In the tragedy Oedipus Rex, Oedipus commits several immoral acts. Typically, society views these as evil and unjust. However, although Oedipus commits several licentious deeds, Sophocles makes the reader sympathize because Oedipus is oblivious to the incriminating facts.

Throughout the play Oedipus Rex commits numerous crimes the society see as immorally wrong. Oedipus believes that if he leaves Corinth he will be able to avoid his fate. The oracle says the Oedipus will kill his father and bear children with his mother. Needless to say, he unknowingly kills his father in a chance meeting. Because he is able to kill the unavoidable Sphinx, Iokaste, who is unaware that she is his mother, wants his hand in marriage. After they marry they have four children together. Oedipus remains clueless that the oracle's prediction has come to pass.

Furthermore, most consider Oedipus' wrongdoings justifiable despite their horribleness. When he leaves Corinth, he has the well-being of his "mother" and "father" in mind. He does not want to jeopardize his family. When Oedipus kills a man and his entourage, he has no idea that it is his father, Laios. He believes he is only doing it in self-defense. When Iokaste hears of Oedipus' feat against the Sphinx, she becomes interested. Later they marry, and he is ignorant to the fact that she is his mother. Most of Oedipus' evil doings are justified since he is completely ignorant when he commits them.

At the time he participates in his wrongs, Oedipus appears innocent because Sophocles' is able to present him in a compassionate way. In this play, Oedipus shows virtue and character by carrying out his own exile without hesitation. Despite all of his flaws, Oedipus has good motives and a heart for his people.

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