Why Is Oedipus Wrong

657 Words3 Pages
Sophocles’ play, “Oedipus the King”, is about a man named Oedipus who becomes King of Thebes by solving a riddle. It opens with the citizens of Thebes pleading to their king to end the destructive plague brought on by the god Apollo. Tiresias, a prophet of Apollo, claims that the only way to end the suffering is by finding King Laius’s killer. Through Oedipus’s irrational quest to find the murder, he uncovers the disturbing truth about his past. In the end, Laius is dead, Jocasta hangs herself, and Oedipus stabs his eyes out to live in blindness exile. Sophocles's play “justifies the gods” and shares the idea that “we get what we deserve” (Dodds 1). In the beginning King Laius appears to die an unwarranted death when in reality he committed…show more content…
He thought he was outsmarting the gods when in reality, every decision he made moved him closer to fulfilling the god’s prophecy. His first bad decision comes when he encounters an old man on a road, unaware that it is his real father, King Laius. In a fit of anger, Oedipus knocks “him out of his high seat” on the carriage and killed the old man (895). He was fully aware that the prophecy destined him to “murder his father” but let his irrational anger take over and never considered the possibility the old man might have been his father (795). Oedipus is also to blame for marrying Queen Jocasta. He knew the prophecy destined him to “couple with his mother”, yet he put little thought into marrying an older woman (925) . On the other hand, some believe “the oracle was unconditional” and Oedipus did not deserve his punishment. He tries to do what he can “to evade his destiny” (Dodds 4). “He resolved to never see his supposed parents again” and ran away from home to a foreign land (Dodds 4). How was Oedipus suppose to know that a random old man on the road was his father? What are the odds Queen Jocasta was his mother? He was merely a pawn in the god’s plans and nothing Oedipus did could have changed his
Open Document