Political Issues In Oedipus Rex

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As illustrated in the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, ancient Athenians were concerned over social, political, and the moral well-being of their land. The people looked to their ruler to help them in solving the issues that plagued their land, such as spoiled crops and the lack of fertility. The citizens were worried since their land had been “Stricken in the budding harvest of her soil, Stricken in her pastured hers, and barren travail Of women; and He, the God with spear of fire, Leaps on the city, a cruel pestilence… The blackness of the Grave made opulent” (2). Based on the words from the priest, it is evident that the people looked to their ruler in hopes of finding relief from the terrible plague; the citizens hoped that their king would guide them and show them a way out of the terrible situation that they were in. They begged the king to “...find some way to succour [them]” and to “... build the city in stability” (2-3). The citizens expected their almighty ruler to step up and defend them from any harm, as well as to bring prosperity to their glorious land. They saw their superiors in a god-like way, expecting them to solve any issue that arose within the land. The actions of the ancient Athenians show that they were faithful in the power of their rulers. The citizens of Athens saw their ruler Oedipus as their “... life’s establisher… the mightiest head” (2). The Athenians viewed Oedipus as their savior when he solved the Sphinx's riddle, freeing them from her claws.

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