Revenge in Oedipus at Colonus
A prevailing concept throughout Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus is that of revenge. Oedipus is given the opportunity to avenge many of the wrongs he has accumulated in his lifetime, and he takes the opportunity.
Oedipus suffered through the latter portion of his life. Although the gods should be credited with the majority of his pain, he was wronged by mere mortals during his life. Did he have the right to seek revenge in general? Yes, he did. There is more to Oedipus's vengeance than just to inflict pain upon others. Those who intentionally harm others must face the consequences, even if they themselves will not be changed by such consequences. If no person ever hated or sought revenge, the world might well become a paradise, especially for the thieves, liars, and other criminals. If no one seeks punishment for the actions of any other individual, the less moral will begin to take advantage of their unchecked actions. Even if their actions are not criminal, there is a great number of discourteous actions that are only prevented by the thought of retaliation (Oedipal road rage again?). We cannot completely remove anger and revenge from anyone, even Oedipus. Doing so would leave the mean and discourteous free to ride the back of society.
More specifically, Oedipus's sons acted wrongly and deserved the curse they received. Oedipus was old and incapable of caring for himself, yet they saw no problem with throwing him into exile as soon as he no longer wished to leave of his own accord. When he was of no use to them, they tossed him out, giving him no support. Of course, as soon as he once again became of value, he was sought after by his...