Oedipus can be described as a Greek mythical personality in the Greek culture. He is described as a person who came to fulfill a certain prophecy. The prophecy itself involves this third king of Thebes killing his biological father. Later on, he unknowingly marries his biological mother.
All of this began with a prophesized oracle after the birth of Oedipus. Therefore, Laius orders his death to avert this prophesies. Unfortunately, while he was left out there in the wilderness to die, a shepherd picks him up and hands him over to a friend. Through the shepherd’s friend, he ends up in Corinth in the Kings house. The King and Queen take him as their own son. They see him as a blessing as they did not have a child.
Initially, Oedipus was not aware of the fact that the King and Queen were not his true parents. Therefore, when one day a drunk mentioned that he was adopted, it troubled him. He became even more troubled on visiting several oracles.
Even though the oracles told him the truth, it was more troubling because at that time, he could not make sense of it all. One day, while Oedipus was on his way, he had a dispute with the King of Thebes and unknown to him he killed him after having the argument. He did not even know that he was the king of Thebes when he was killing him.
Later on in the town of Thebes, his wits enabled him to answer a riddle and thus saved the people of Thebes. He thus went on to fulfill the prophecy by marrying King Laius’s widow. However, when mother and child came to learn later on their true relation to each other, the mother decided to commit suicide. Oedipus on the other hand decide to blind himself.
Strength of character by Oedipus
Oedipus has an outstanding central strength. This strength is his curiosity or in other words his truth seeking zeal. This strength can be termed as being part of him. This is first witnessed after he gets a tip of his true Identify. Since he wanted to really know the truth behind it all, he is seen visiting various oracles just to find out the truth.
Even though it took quite a while for him to know the truth about his parents, he finally did find out the truth, though a bit late. His truth seeking nature can also be thanked for enabling him to earn the throne of Thebes. This riddle of Sphinx enables him become a ruler and gets a ready wife.
The truth seeking nature of Oedipus can almost be described as being hard-coded in him. This is evident as he ignored all warnings to keep away from the truth. An example is a warning by the prophet who was blind, i.e. Tiresias. Terisias points out to him “You don’t’ want to know the truth” It is in fact disappointing to him when he finally learns the truth. In fact it is the truth itself that brings Oedipus down and not even his defiance of the gods.
The desire to know the truth thus forms the strongest motivating factor in Oedipus. His period of reigning as king comes down to being characterized as a truth seeking mission. It is no wonder that despite the big title that he held, his life had many uncertainties that formed a riddle around him (Simon, 201).
It can be put down that in the whole play; the truth is vividly guarded from Oedipus. When it however finally dawns to him, the same truth shocks him. He however embraces this truth with open arms. Therefore one can say that his ability to move from being in pain and confused about the truth is a strength in character. It actually shows just how Oedipus has finally become wise.
Throughout the play of Sophocles, Oedipus seems extremely careless on his quest for the truth irrespective of the consequences that are ever so painful. Even though one can say that his quest for the truth was accompanied by lots of despair, this same quest is the one that is attributed towards having changed Oedipus.
Due to his many tribulations, Oedipus is forced to come to terms with new responsibilities. These were to affect not only his family and kingdom, but also himself. He is thus seen to have come out stronger. This strength of character also shows that he indeed has become mature.
Come to think of it, there was only one way through which Oedipus could have attained his strength of character. Therefore, Sophocles just puts out a simple fact through this strength of Oedipus. This simple fact is that every single person is always in a quest to find the truth about something. It is not a must for the quest to set you free. The fact however is that the journey on your quest will shape you
Simon, Peter. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 1(2). USA: W. W. Norton & Company. 2009.