William Shakespeare 's ' Oedipus '

1977 Words8 Pages
Immediately Oedipus boldly launches a campaign to do what is best for his people and for himself…
I also, as is meet, will lend my aid
To avenge this wrong to Thebes and to the god.
Not for some far-off kinsman, but myself,
Shall I expel this poison in the blood;
For whoso slew that king might have a mind
To strike me too with his assassin hand.
A touch of selfishness is revealed in the above passage, a not-unexpected accompaniment of “godlike mastery.” Oedipus, in his public proclamation regarding punishment for the killer of King Laius, shows more lenient treatment toward the guilty party if he confesses his crime…
Thebans, if any knows the man by whom
Laius, son of Labdacus, was slain,
I summon him to make clean shrift to me.
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. . .(106) Additonal strength is displayed by Oedipus, a mental strength, in addition to pride, with his remarkable fluency and verbal manhandling, demonstrated in his cross-examination of the holy man Teiresias, “Monster! thy silence would incense a flint. /Will nothing loose thy tongue? Can nothing melt thee, /Or shake thy dogged taciturnity?” When the king is confronted with Teiresias’ accusation, “Thou art the man, /Thou the accursed polluter of this land,” Oedipus’ equanimity comes from a prideful inner strength? Teiresias pursues with another even more condemning accusation, “I say thou livest with thy nearest kin /In infamy, unwitting in thy shame.” Indeed, a less self-confident king would have succumbed to a fit of rage; self-control is an aspect of Oedipus’ strong confidence and mastery. Oedipus, because of Teiresias’ strange behavior, suspects collusion between him and Creon, and publicly expresses his suspicions vociferously. Shortly, Creon, motivated by the rumors, emerges to defend himself in a friendly manner…
Friends, countrymen, I learn King Oedipus
Hath laid against me a most grievous charge,
And come to you protesting. If he deems
That I have harmed or injured him in aught
By word or deed in this our present trouble,
I care not to prolong the span of life. . . .
Creon expresses deep feelings of regret that he should be thought hurtful to his fellowmen – a most charitable notion flowing from the heart of a truly upright
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