Tyranny Is Defined As An Oppressive And Absolute Power Vested

1107 words - 4 pages

Tyranny is defined as an oppressive and absolute power vested in a single ruler. From a noble leader of a city-state such as Thebes to a self-centered husband in a middle class home, there have been many faces of a tyrant throughout literature. Dramatists have used tyranny as a foil to the triumph of the human spirit and in turned, showed us how easy it is for a man to fall victim to hubris, the tragic vice of tyranny. Such was the Case of Oedipus in Sophocles's Oedipus Rex.A tyrant was roughly what we should call a dictator, a man who obtained sole power in the state and held it in defiance of any constitution that had existed previously. This might be done by mere force for the sake of personal power, but the common justification of dictatorship, then as now, was the dictator's ability to provide more effective government. There are times when it can plausibly be asserted that the existing machinery of state is unable to cope with a crisis arising from external pressure or internal tension, and it was mainly at such times that support could be found in a Greek city for the strong rule of a single tyrant.Oedipus was a man of noble birth, who proved his noble traits again and again. Upon hearing the Delphic prophecy of patricide and incest, the well-intentioned Oedipus took radical steps to thwart fate: fleeing his parents and his home in Corinth. He did well on his own in the world. Strong and cunning, he proved himself many times, most of all when he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and saved Thebes. After Oedipus became King of Thebes, Delphi spoke again, suggesting that the only way to end a severe blight plaguing Thebes was to avenge the murder of the former king, Laius. With god-like certainty Oedipus set out to find the murderer and mete out justice.Unfortunately, Oedipus's search for truth unearthed a history he never suspected, and would never want to know. The audience and all the other characters in the play , even the blind Teiresias, see the appalling truth long before the proud and cunning king. Creon exclaims, "I can see you are blind to truth." His mother-wife Jocasta cries, "My poor child! These are the only words I shall ever have for you." Two frightened servants at last yield the pieces of the puzzle to Oedipus. The former Theban king, Laius, and his queen Jocasta, also hoping to avoid the Delphic prophecy, had put a stake through the feet of their infant and abandoned him to die. A shepherd had rescued the child and sent him to Corinth. Oedipus killed a stranger on the high way, who turned out to be the father he was running away from. Unaware of his kinship, Oedipus claimed the widowed queen, Jocasta, as his wife. Oedipus the King believed that he could simply discover who killed Laius and mete out appropriate justice. Hubris, exaggerated pride and self-confidence blinded Oedipus. When at last he sees the truth he wishes to be blind again.The audience had a sense of the truth before they even sat down to see the play since...

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