Preview

The Selfishness of Oedipus

Good Essays
Open Document
Open Document
979 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
The Selfishness of Oedipus
"Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race," as quoted by William E. Gladstone, supports my thought that selfishness is what causes most of our problems in the modern world. Currently, we are living in an era that is filled with much gluttony and selfishness. However, selfishness is a trait that all of us possess, but the amount of selfishness that we have can determine the type of person we are. For instance, parents should always put their children's needs before their own. Selfish parents would rather buy materialistic items for themselves than anything useful for their children. In Sophocles's "Oedipus Rex," the protagonist is literally blinded by his own arrogance. This attitude begins before he even travels to Thebes, and that is apparent due to the circumstances of his father's death. Oedipus seals his own fate with his egotistical attitude and he cannot change his destiny after everything is set into motion. During his journey on the road to enlightenment, Oedipus's selfishness causes him to transcend from being completely ignorant of his fate to holding on to the last shreds of denial to having an overwhelming sense of realization.
The selfishness that Oedipus possesses causes him to have abundance of ignorance. This combination is what leads to his father's death. After fleeing Corinth and his foster family, Oedipus gets into a skirmish with an older man. The reason for the fight was because, "The groom leading the horses forced me off the road at his lord's command" (1336). Oedipus is filled with a rage after being insulted by the lord and feels the need to act. The two men fight, but Oedipus ends up being too much for the older man, and he kills him. What Oedipus is unaware of is that the man was actually his birth father and by killing him, Oedipus has started on the path of his own destruction. Not only does Oedipus kill his father, but also everyone else, "I killed them all" (1336). The other men had no part in the scuffle,

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Oedipus Selfish Quotes

    • 1428 Words
    • 6 Pages

    How does Oedipus treat those who are reluctant to obey him throughout the play? What does this tell you about his character?…

    • 1428 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oedipus is a man of pride and arrogance. E.R. Dodds says, “Oedipus, they point out, is proud and overconfident; he harbors unjustified suspicions against Tiresias and Creon; in one place he goes so far as to express some uncertainty about the truth of oracles” (Dodds, 39). He believes that he can control his own fate. In reality, he cannot, and ends up responsible for marrying his own mother, having children with her, and murdering his father. In the Greek…

    • 948 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oedipus Complex Analysis

    • 382 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The most common theory for the actions of Oedipus in his story is the Oedipus complex, theorized by Freud. In the story Oedipus, it was his fate to marry his mother and have children with her, and kill his father. The Oedipus complex says that this must happen at a young age. However, this complex doesn’t apply to Oedipus, because of the different circumstances in which these actions occurred.…

    • 382 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    According to Adade-Yeboah, Ahenkora, and Amankwah (2012), “Tragedy is of action and not character as Aristotle puts it” (p. 10). Therefore, Oedipus’ tragedy deals with his ignorance and not his character. Oedipus is ignorant in the fact that he does not realize he is committing patricide or incest (Adade-Yeboah et al., 2012, p. 11). Oedipus grows up knowing two opposite people that he thought were his parents, which leads to him killing his biological father and marrying his biological mother. Oedipus then goes on to search for his biological father’s killer and soon realizes that it was he himself who committed the atrocious acts toward his family. He came to this realization after it was revealed to him by an oracle. Originally, Oedipus believes that the man he originally kills is only just a shepherd, when in return it is his biological father. According to Greenburg (2012), “Oedipus has been told, and has come to believe, that at the end of his life and in death he will have the power to protect the city that has taken him and buried him” (p. 52). Oedipus maintains the belief that things will always be the way he knew them to be and he would be in charge of the city he knew and loved. He maintains this belief until an oracle reveals his misfortune. At first, Oedipus and his wife (biological mother) refuse to believe that what they were told is true. According to…

    • 1506 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    This instantly places him right on top and boosts him up to fulfill the Kings position. His intuitive instincts and drive to put together his life signified him as a man always on a hunt. These qualities where huge attributes to his life however, he also had many negative traits which would end him. He was a man with a huge temper which leads right to his downfall. Since his temper is what ultimately killed his father, it was obvious that it would not stop there. His lack of emotion and sensitivity to these killing sprees was a sign of a broken man unwilling to wear his heart of his sleeve. A man of pride. This follows even more problems for Oedipus as time continues. He refuses to listen to Teiresias, the blind seer of Thebes. He is informed about his future and is taking back by all that makes sense to him now. He is left alone to figure out what to do next. Instead of handling the situation calmly and effectively, he goes out on an rampage and seeks to kill his wife/mother for not telling him to the truth. Once he arrives, he instantly finds her hung by her own hair. This forces him to completely lose his right state of mind and punishes himself by gauging his…

    • 471 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oedipus Essay

    • 775 Words
    • 4 Pages

    rule of thebes: "What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet…

    • 775 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Odysseus Is Selfish

    • 331 Words
    • 2 Pages

    I think Odysseus is not a hero. Most people would say he is, but I think this because he is a selfish man and kills people. At first, he sounds like a good guy who is an excellent man. Wait till you find out what he has done.…

    • 331 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Antigone Essay

    • 560 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Oedipus was one of the reasons for death in his family. The prophet Tiresias said that one day Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother one day. And because of this his parents sent him to die. But he still lived and fulfilled the prophecy without anyone even himself knowing at the time. Once the shepherd came, he was able to create the picture for Oedipus and he knew he was the one who killed his father. He was blinded to the truth all this time by the amount of pride he had within him. Jocasta his wife killed herself because she found out that she had married his son and even had kids with him. And because of this Oedipus kills himself. Sophocles once said, “…He digs them down the sockets of his eyes, crying “you’ll see no more the pain I suffered, all the pain I caused!”(237) this reveals that Oedipus realizes what he has done and wants to end all the suffering going on. Oedipus once said, “It’s mine alone, my destiny-I am Oedipus!” This shows who he really is now and what he was destined to become.…

    • 560 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oedipus Rough Draft

    • 566 Words
    • 3 Pages

    One of the many aspects that Oedipus failed to perceive were the clues of his own past that he refused to analyze. Oedipus learned that Lauis was traveling with four men and was killed by one, yet he never connected the fact that he knew he killed a man of the same description. These foresights to his own identity would’ve been vital to his potential wellness, but his passion overtook reason as he failed to observe all possibilities. Not only did Tiresias give Oedipus the clues to solve his riddle, but says: “Oh yes, detected in his very heart of home: his children’s father and their brother, son and husband to his mother, bed rival to his father and assassin.” Tiresias plainly tells Oedipus his identity, and how he has sinned by marrying his mother and killing his father. However, Oedipus decides to ignore this more than plain explanation and forget about it, being determined to put the blame on Creon out of his passionate rage.…

    • 566 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oedipus: a Tragic Hero

    • 686 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King is Sophocles 's first play of "The Theban Cycle." It tells the story of a king that tries to escape his fate, but by doing so he only brings about his downfall. Oedipus is a classic example of the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a basically good and noble person who causes his own downfall due to a flaw in his character.…

    • 686 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    To be selfless is to be concerned more with the needs and wishes of others rather than one's own wishes; whereas to be self centered is to be preoccupied with oneself and one's affairs. One may easily refer to someone as "self-centered" simply because that someone may be acting very vain. However, one has to be ignorant of others emotions, actions, etc. to be definitively considered self centered. In Oedipus Rex written by Sophocles, Oedipus' life is haunted by a prophecy that he would kill his father, marry his mother and also have children with her. When King Laius is killed, Oedipus steps in and becomes the new king of Thebes. He makes it his duty as the new king to solve the crime that he unknowingly commit. Although Oedipus thinks he is…

    • 167 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Throughout history, all great fallen leaders have shared one common trait: an overinflated ego. Oedipus from Sophocles' Oedipus the King is no different. From his beginnings as the prince of Corinth, Oedipus had always been held as a man of great status. After cleverly defeating the Sphinx to gain the rule of Thebes, he was considered more highly than ever, until his sense of arrogance grew to dangerous proportions. Eventually, this fatal flaw of pride effectuated Oedipus' destruction by leading him to hunt down the murderer of Laius, ignore the advice of Teiresias, and disregard Jocasta' fear of the truth.…

    • 746 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Throughout the play of Oedipus the King, Oedipus and other members of the play makes some decisions that ultimately decide Oedipus’s fate. Some of Oedipus’s decisions are a result from an oracle, but his personal decisions ultimately lead to his fall to death. His decisions of running away from his home kingdom, pushing the oracle to speak more, and searching for the shepherd that knew where Oedipus came from leads to Oedipus’s fate.…

    • 567 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oedipus and His Pride

    • 855 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Oedipus likes himself and Oedipus lets his audience know this from the very beginning of the play and quite often. Even within the first words of the play "My children" (page 43, line 1) we see him asserts all the citizens of Thebes as his subordinates. Even before another character talks he states "I, Oedipus, who bears the famous name," (43, 8) shows his boastful self love. This pride in himself acts as an inhibiting factor for his as well which prevents him from seeing his own mistakes. These barriers based on pride enable Oedipus to fulfill his prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother.…

    • 855 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In my humble opinion I do not believe it is a fair self-analysis when Oedipus refers to himself as, “the worst of men.” He undoubtedly appears arrogant, ill tempered and somewhat narrow-minded in his statements but the worst of men, he is not. It seems to me as though the Gods preordained all his past and fate and he was simply inserted into this life without that foresight. Thus, the limited knowledge he had prohibited him from being able to choose differently.…

    • 82 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays