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Infant, Man, Elder Essay

764 words - 4 pages

Greek mythology frequently has a superior ruler, a ruler that figures out difficult circumstances with superior intellect. Sophocles' "Oedipus the King" is no different. Before Oedipus arrives in Thebes, the Sphinx haunted the city by asking travelers her dark riddle "What walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three in the evening?" With simplicity, Oedipus solves the riddle, destorys the Sphinx, marries his mother, and takes the throne. Although Oedipus figures out the riddle with ease, he also cannot comprehend that the riddle has much to do with his own life. Within Oedipus' life, there are three phases in which he realizes his identity. The riddle of Sphinx is a metaphor for these phases.
In the morning, Oedipus' begins as an infant on four legs, remaining unaware of his line of descent. It is concealed by mystery, like the Sphinx. Before Oedipus’ birth, his father Laius, travels to the Oracle at Delphi, who prophesied that his unborn son, Oedipus, would kill his father and marry his mother. To prevent this, Laius proceeds to take his son to a herdsman and orders him to be killed. Although Laius leaves his son for dead, destiny could not escape the morning. Oedipus survived and was later adopted by the King Polybus by Corinth. As an infant, balanced on all four legs, Oedipus depended on the herdsman and his newly adopted parents to fend for him. This marks the beginning of Oedipus' oblivion of his mysterious upbringing.
As Oedipus approaches middle age, he still has no knowledge of ancestry. Until one night, a man at a feast proclaims that Oedipus has no idea who is father is. Although his adoptive parents urged Oedipus to ignore the man's ravings, he could not put his mind to rest. Feelings of uncertainty led Oedipus to go to the Oracle at Delphi and ask about the identity of his parents. Unfortunately, the Oracle did not tell Oedipus about his parent for fear of revealing the prophecy of Oedipus coupling with his mother and killing his father. Left with no resolution, Oedipus did not return to Corinth with his adoptive parents, but instead heads to Thebes. Along the way Oedipus surprisingly kills his father, solves Sphinx riddle, which leads to his rising in power. At...

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