Mrs. Johanek Boro
“Oedipus Rex” Paper
4 September 2013
Grief Is Self-Constructed
“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.” Grief can be caused by many
different things, although I would agree with this quote in that the greatest grief we could ever
have is grief that we create for ourselves. This quote is perfect for most of the grief that occurs
to Oedipus in this play. Many people can directly apply this quote to their life and to many of
the grief they go through.
Oedipus has many different things that cause him grief within the play. A major grief
that occurs to Oedipus within the play is that he doesn’t know who his real parents are. In the
beginning of the play a drunken man tells Oedipus that he is no son of his parents. Oedipus
says, “…a man in his cups said I was no true son of my mother and father”. Oedipus could have
avoided this grief by knowing that it doesn’t matter who his biological parents are, but who his
caretakers are. Oedipus says, “So having heard, I put Corinth far behind me.” Oedipus doesn’t
fully cause this grief on himself, but he does take it too close to heart. When Oedipus lets this
grieve him, he causes many more future grievances for himself by leaving Corinth.
Another grief that Oedipus causes himself was trying to escape his fate. When Oedipus
hears that he is no son of his parents he decides to visit a Seer. Oedipus relays what the Seer
said by saying, “I was fated, he said, to defile my mother’s bed and bring forth progeny
intolerable to the light.” After hearing his prophecy Oedipus decides to leave Corinth to escape
his prophecy of killing his father and defiling the bed of his mother. As Oedipus thinks he is
outsmarting the gods, he runs smack dab into the middle of his fate where three roads cross.
Oedipus kills his biological father, King Laius, where the three roads meet. Oedipus is made King...
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