Theme Of Abandonment In Oedipus The King

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Oedipus The King, written by Sophocles, is an ancient play featuring Oedipus, the king of Thebes, and the pursuit of the murderer of King Laius, the former king of Thebes. It is later revealed that Oedipus blindly killed his own father, Laius, and is charged for the murder. When Oedipus was an infant, he was given to a shepherd to abandon him, so he never knew his real parents. The other major abandonment which occurs later in the play is when he witnesses his own mother’s suicide. With that, Oedipus’ downfall was caused by various reasons, however all of them had one theme; abandonment. Abandonment in Oedipus’ case caused; PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder of abandonment, irrational outbursts of anger, and insecure, conceited behaviors. Oedipus’ behaviors show signs of some type of mental disorder, specifically PTSD. PTSD of abandonment, described in the article - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of Abandonment, is “[..] a psychobiological condition in which earlier separation traumas interfere with current life.” As an infant, Oedipus underwent a traumatic experience, as stated here; “As for the son-three days after his birth Laius fastened his ankles together and had them cast away on the pathless mountains” (41). It is demonstrated here that this particular instance of abandonment possibly caused him to acquire PTSD at a very early age. Having his ankles pinned at such a young age had to have a deep psychological effect on Oedipus, subsequently ruining his life.

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