The Illusion Of Man Is An Essay Written To Explain How Oedipus Contributed To His Own Fate With His Ignorance And Character Flaws.

1013 words - 4 pages

The Illusion of ManMany Greek tragedies depict man as being foolish and refusing to face the truth head on. Instead, he creates a reality to suit his own needs, thereby perpetuating an illusion of happiness. The main character in Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, represents a man who must come to terms with his identity, even if other factors created this persona. Oedipus is the classic hero, equipped with all the human frailties, who attempts to escape the predetermined fate that the gods have in store for him. In this tragedy, Sophocles illustrates how man becomes both victim and co-conspirator against himself by perpetuating his illusion with arrogance and self-denial.In Oedipus the King, Oedipus must fight against the predestined fate that the gods have in store for him and the secrets of his true heritage. The truth of his birth and adoption were concealed by other mortals in hopes that they could escape their own fate. Iokaste, Oedipus's birth mother, explains that after she and Laios find out about the prophecy, they fastened Oedipus' ankles together, and had him cast away on a mountain. Most of Oedipus's troubles were caused by Laios and Iokaste's panic stricken mistakes at handling their problems. Also, the unwillingness of his adoptive parents to tell him the truth doomed Oedipus to years of insecurity and unexplainable feelings of isolation. When he hears a revelation that he was not really of royal blood, this longstanding insecurity drives Oedipus from Corinth. The uncertainty of his maternal connection brings forth dark feelings of estrangement. Now that his head if full of misinformation and half-truths he flees the city in hopes of escaping his fate. The gods and the mortals worked harmoniously to make certain that Oedipus would follow the incorrect path.Curiously, while Oedipus seemingly searches for the truth, the haughtiness of his character leads him to ignore the apparent reality right in front of his face. When the blind prophet, Teiresias, confronts him, Oedipus says to him, "You sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man,"(1323) but actually it is the hero who can not see the truth. On the road, trying to escape his fate, Oedipus has an emotional run in with Laios and kills him, thereby fulfilling the first part of the prophecy. Arriving in Thebes, he immediately becomes involved in solving the riddle of the Sphinx to demonstrate his skill. So busy trying to save the day that he never makes the connection between the king's death and the person he killed on the road. Additionally, all full of pride over answering the riddle, he impetuously marries Iokaste, a woman old enough to be his mother. In doing so, the second part of the oracle's prophecy was realized. Many times in the story Oedipus's makes statements that foretell his actions but he remains unaffected by his own words. For all intent and purposes he repeats the prophecy word for word when he states, "now I, having the power that he held before me,...

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