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Odepus Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

Character Flaw of Oedipus In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, the king of Thebes, is faced with a problem: Who is the murderer of the former king, Laius? But as the play progresses, the question changes shape into a different problem: Who am I? The answer to this question is not what Oedipus expects. In fact, it is a complete reversal. Teiresias, the old blind prophet, is summoned to Thebes before Oedipus to tell of Laius' murderer and, somehow, end the plague on the city, but the behaviors of Teiresias are not what Oedipus anticipates.During the confrontation scene between Oedipus and Teiresias, Oedipus truly exhibits his character flaw of impulsiveness.Initially, Oedipus is a very ...view middle of the document...

He impulsively says to Teiresias, "What you say is ungracious . . . / Do not refuse to speak"(17).Teiresias holds out even longer, stating, "No; I will never tell you what I know"(18).Oedipus eventually begins begging from sheer exaspiration. He states, "In God's name, we all beg you"(17). His impetuous nature causes him to be unable to think logically about the reason for Teiresias' secrecy.Teiresias feels that he should not share his misery by telling the truth.Meanwhile, Oedipus' exaspiration has now become anger as he speaks in an accusatory tone: "You betray us all and wreck the state? (18). Now Oedipus' impulsive behavior is no longer hidden; it can be clearly seen. He has accused the prophet of betraying the people of Thebes. His accusations are a result of his inability to think logically. He also insults Teiresias. He states, "What a wicked old man you are!"(18). Teiresias replies, "if you could only see / The nature of your own feelings"(18).Oedipus' accusations have gone from charges of betrayal to charges of planning Laius' murder to committing the act. Oedipus is very angry and is still unable to think clearly. His rashness causes him to make bizarre accusations. He declares, "I'll tell you what I think: / you planned it, you had it done"(19). The words of Oedipus, by this time, have angered Teiresias, who is forced to tell Oedipus that he is the murderer. He states, "You yourself are the pollution of this country"(19). At this point, Oedipus' emotions, which sprang from his reckless behavior, have caused him to become uncontrollable; he is in a state of complete shock and anger. Oedipus, fed up with Teiresisas' bold words, tells the prophet "You'll pay for it"(20). His feelings have blinded him from all reason and control. His impulsiveness reigns. As Teiresias sticks to his proclamation, Oedipus reacts to him with disbelief and rage, calling him a "sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man"(20).Teiresias tries to tell Oedipus that his fate is not from him, but from the gods.Oedipus believes that the old prophet has purposely tried to cause him trouble. He says to Oedipus, "That lies within Apollo's competence"(21). As soon as he says "Apollo," Oedipus remembers sending Creon to Delphi to receive an oracle. Oedipus immediately starts charging Creon outrageously. He believes that Creon coerced the "decrepit fortune-teller," Teiresias, into delivering this message, so that he, Creon, may become closer to...

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