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Oedipus Essay

839 words - 4 pages

Is truth always the right way? When is there a time when too much truth is revealed? In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is the tragic hero whose truth is revealed at considerable costs. His plight for truth about what is going on with his kingdom revealed that he has been the cause for the vast majority of the suffering. Upon learning about Oedipus’ actions, several different situations occur. These situations exemplify the fact that truth’s helpfulness is subjective to the person who is facing the truth.
Knowledge of a situation isn't always a good thing, but in the case of Thebes it’s not a bad one. By gaining knowledge of Oedipus’ past actions, the people of Thebes discover how to eliminate the plague. The severity of the plague is summed up thoroughly by Priest of Zeus saying, “Thebes is dying, A blight on the fresh crops…the women die in labor…Black Death luxuriates in the raw, wailing miseries of Thebes” (33-8). Because of this, Oedipus sends out Creon to Delphi for answers, and with his return a solution is voiced: “Banish the man, or pay back blood with blood. Murder sets the plague storm on the city” (113-14). The people found their answer, find the murderer and get rid of him. By doing this, all will be well.
Oedipus discovers all the suffering he causes his people just by being in Thebes saying, “cursed in the lives I cut down with hands” (1311).
Truth has always been regarded as something a person should always know and be told. But how much of the truth is safe to say to avoid the pain and agony it is destined to cause? The few beholders of Oedipus’ past try to withhold it, but the drive for it is too strong and eventually it spills out, causing anguish to everyone who hears. Tiresias is one of these men who try, only for it to surface in the end, fulfilling his expectation of destroying Oedipus. “I’d rather not cause pain for you or for me. So why this...interrogation? You’ll get nothing from me” (377-379). Tiresias believes no information is safe to tell; he prophesies that Oedipus’s horrendous past is a truth so painful that it will destroy Oedipus, his family and Thebes. Once the final details of the story are voiced, just that happens. “Now I weep like a man who wails the dead...now you bring down night upon my eyes” (1346-1351). The truth set agony on Thebes, by presenting...

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