How Does Oedipus Show Honor

700 Words3 Pages
The battle between family and state is ever present in Greek literature. The conundrum is a thought provoking debate that occupies the minds of many Greek heroes. Warriors fool themselves into thinking that violence and victory are services to the state when in fact they are services to the self. People choose the military for honor, and honor is a self-serving virtue. Men would truly be serving the state if they chose family, because the military entails reckless and selfish killing; both Hector and Oedipus kill recklessly, Hector for honor and Oedipus for egotism. The Iliad by Homer presents such a dilemma when the character Hector must choose his family or service in the Trojan military for the war. He chooses to serve Troy over his responsibility…show more content…
His rule as king builds and feeds his ego which leads to a reckless killing. While traveling on the road, Oedipus experiences an encounter with a band of travelers, who he recklessly kills by overreacting and attempting to defend a strike on his ego. Oedipus justifies his actions at the crossroads when he recounts “The guide there tried to force me off the road […] In my rage, I lashed out […] Well, I retaliated in good measure, then I killed them all.” (Fagles, 890-896). If Oedipus would have stayed home with his family in Thebes he could have been an effective father figure to his children, and groomed his children to stay to become effective guardians or servants of the Good. Instead Oedipus fulfills the prophecy and kills his father. Oedipus then wants to honor the state by holding Laius’s murderer accountable. Because he is Laius’s murderer, Oedipus punishes himself by gouging his own eyes out and performing actions that lead to his exile. Oedipus robs the city of a perfectly capable man and effective servant all in the name of satisfying the selfish desire to fulfil

More about How Does Oedipus Show Honor

Open Document