Ensnared by the Gods in Oedipus Rex Essay

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Ensnared by the Gods in Oedipus Rex

A citizen of Periclean Athens may not have been familiar with the term entrapment, but he or she would surely have recognized the case of Oedipus as such. The tragedy of Oedipus is that he was ensnared by the gods. As Teiresias points out, "I say that with those you love best you live in foulest shame unconsciouslyÖ" (italics mine) God is continuously indicted for having caused Oedipusí troubles. The chorus asks, "What evil spirit leaped upon your life to your ill-luckÖ?" And Oedipus himself is well aware of the source of his troubles: "It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, that brought this bitter bitterness, my sorrows to completion." Blinded and humiliated, Oedipus thanks Creon for
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We also detect a lack of human feeling when we see Oedipusí jubilation upon learning that Polybus of Corinth died of natural causes. Yes, it did seem to release him from an old curse, but, after all, Oedipus did think that Polybus was his father at that point. During the spitting match between Oedipus and Creon, Creon points out another fatal flaw in the kingís character: "If you think obstinacy without wisdom a valuable possession, you are wrong." Oedipus does seem stubborn to a fault. Creonís argument that he has no reason to conspire against the king, because he already enjoys power without the headaches, is commended by the chorus, but Oedipus rejects it. When Creon suggests that Oedipus may be taking action on the basis of a misunderstanding of the facts, Oedipus replies, "But yet I must be ruler." In other words, better to act wrongly, perhaps even tragically, that to seem indecisive or less than regal.

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