Temperament In Oedipus The King

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People are not like a ship, so there is no “instruction manual” that tells our brains how to operate. According to Psychology.about.com, Erik Erikson says our personalities constantly change based on new experiences. The surrounding environment is extremely influential; for this reason, I feel that the idea that one’s temperament dictates his or her actions is completely and utterly incorrect. In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus displays many characteristics that line up with the temperament choleric. However, some of his actions do not fit in with his “inborn temperament.” Generally, cholerics are very goal-oriented, but Oedipus doesn’t solve any problems over the course of this play. If anything, he actually creates more problems. Thebes…show more content…
Well, I have no idea what about Oedipus gives anyone the idea that he thrives in an emergency. When the people of Thebes come to him for help, he responds by trying to keep the peace, which does seem to be the best thing to do, given the circumstance. However, instead of the best of him coming out, we really see his ugly side. Tiresias refuses to tell Oedipus who really killed Laius. That’s when we see Oedipus really lose it for the first time. He says, “You most disgraceful of disgraceful men! You would move something made of stone to rage! Will you not speak out? Will your stubbornness never have an end?” (lines 399-402). There is a little old blind man standing here in front of him, and he yells at this guy. That doesn’t seem like thriving to me. Another time that he displays his inability to work under pressure occurs shortly after he discovers the truth. His wife and mother hangs herself to escape the inevitable damnation and humiliation that would follow his (and consequently their kingdom’s) understanding. When he sees her body, he loses it again. This time, though, he goes a step further. He brutally and repeatedly stabs his eyes out. Again, that doesn’t seem like “thriving” to me. Since Oedipus doesn’t exactly thrive under these emergencies, then his choleric temperament could not possibly be “calling the

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