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The Theme Of Oedipus Rex Essay

913 words - 4 pages

In Greek mythology, one of the major themes is the importance of fate and free will. The story of Oedipus Rex is a perfect example that shows this theme. The major theme explored in Oedipus Rex is that fate and free will are intertwined with the main character, Oedipus. Oedipus is not only fated to perform such detestable acts, but his infamous behavior (which leads him to commit these terrible acts) determines his fate. The crimes that he commits against his father and mother are abhorrent but not as hateful as that of ignoring the very signs, which could have prevented the horrible tragedy. By not paying attention to the prophecy or following up on the rumors about his heritage, Oedipus set into motion the fate that is ordained him. His assumptions and arrogance about who he truly is leads to his downfall. In the story of Oedipus Rex, Sophocles demonstrates that it is Oedipus who chooses his path, the one of ignorance rather than clarity, and in doing so; he must take responsibility for his actions, which lead to his tragic downfall.One of the ingredients of Oedipus' personality that leads to his horrific fall is the characteristic of arrogance. During his conversation with Tieresias, Oedipus says, "Say what you will. Whatever you say is worthless." (Page 20) This quote shows that Oedipus believes that he is special and is better than anyone else. Throughout the conversation, Oedipus treats Tieresias with such disrespect and acts as if the man is inflicted with some sort of horrible disease. He acts as though he is on a different level then him. Oedipus believes that Tieresias has no feelings and is ignorant to the city. However, it is clear that Tieresias told Oedipus the truth of the murder as if he were trying to help him open his eyes from Oedipus' blindness, but like most of the time, Oedipus' arrogance spoke instead of his mind. Throughout the play there are a number of other scenes that show Oedipus arrogance, which also lead to many other dangerous characteristics of his personality.The second characteristic of Oedipus is his anger that he develops from his arrogance. Because Oedipus is arrogant and self-centered, he begins to defend himself and, in doing so, he builds up a great amount of anger against certain characters in the play because he believes that they are not worthy of stating their thoughts. This anger of his mostly occurs in the beginning of the play when Tieresias visits the kingdom. After Tieresias tells Oedipus the true murderer of Laios, Oedipus begins to claim that Creon has plotted against him to overthrow him as king. Oedipus says, "Creon desires in secret to destroy me! He has brought this decrepit fortune-teller, this...

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