Oedipus Tragic King And Hero Essay

567 words - 2 pages

Solving the riddle of the Sphinx earned Oedipus the kingship of Thebes. Although he liberated Thebes from the grasp of the Sphinx, he remained unaware that his own transgressions, killing his father and marrying his mother, would cause Thebes to suffer famine and infertility. Against the wishes of his less civically minded advisors, Oedipus acted for the common good by seeking to discover the truth regarding the murder of Laios, regardless of the potential consequences to himself. As both king and tragic hero, Oedipus ultimately chooses exile in order to punish himself and to save his country.By crowning him king, the people of Thebes entrusted Oedipus to make decisions that would keep Thebes prosperous. He accepted this as his role and attempted to act in their best interest. From his opening line, "my children" to his final exile and Creon's comment, "leave your children," he held himself as king responsible for the welfare of his people. When the Priest comes to tell him of the famine, Oedipus says "my spirit groans for the city, for myself, for you." His kingly attitude is reflected when he chooses to end the famine and thereby exiling himself by saying "the truth must be known." Although mortal, Oedipus appears god-inspired to the people of Thebes. In his first encounter with the city, the priest said to him " You are not one of the immortal gods, we know; …It was some god breathed in you to set us free." As a tragic hero, though, Oedipus yearns to know the truth about his past. As a child, he wanted to search for his identity after...

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