Category: Literature

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There are so many unique writings which captivate people’s souls and minds; the writings that are created to make people think about life and destiny. Talking about a piece of literature that will always be a symbol of heated discussions, a revolution of mind and soul and a source of contradictory thoughts, it is Oedipus the King by Sophocles that truly deserves to be called a masterpiece of the classical literature. Oedipus the King is the most successful poetic representation of reality of the whole epoch.

Big stories provoke great myths. There are so many questions that specialists in the literature cannot answer till these days. What is implied by Oedipus’ personality? Is he a hero and why? What makes or does not make him a tragic hero? Is he a bad and deeply flawed person or is he the most courageous individual, whose life was doomed to unhappiness? These are those questions that will probably never be answered for sure. However, let us give a try and analyze the interconnection between Oedipus’ inner world, his greatest and worst features of character as well as his unspeakably tragic fate.


Probably one of the greatest features of Oedipus is his courage. It seems that this enormously courageous king is ready to fight for his city, for his dignity and family at all costs. Any challenge should be accepted if the one pretends to be a king. Oedipus does so and defends his right to be called a true ruler. He saves people from Sphinx, protects his family and does everything possible to find out the truth. On the other hand, this courageousness is his tragic prophecy. While being a brave man, Oedipus protects himself and kills a person for no solid reasons. Some people can find an excuse for this tragic hero as his life was in danger and that act was no more than self-protection. Here lies the true fatality that sometimes the greatest features can be a reason of the most evil things and actions. One should not judge this character for being too imprudent or unwise, but, at the same time, one should not forget that life and destiny of the person is always in his or her hands.

One more significant feature of Sophocles’ hero is tenacity. Oedipus does everything possible to find the person that killed his own father. This situation also reveals another vital feature, i.e. humiliationty. If the case with searching for the father’s murderer depicts Oedipus as a very tenacious person, then accepting the result of this search demonstrates the character’s readiness to take a full responsibility for his deeds. How can the one accept the fact that he has killed his own relative? This seems to be impossible. Once again, one of the best Oedipus’ features reveals the enormously tragic predestination. This was not the hero’s fault. It seems that if he knew the person he was fighting with and finally killed his father, he would never do that.

What philosophy has Oedipus? Apart from being a courageous man and a devoted person to his wife and folk, he "betrays" his adoptive parents. This situation reveals Oedipus from a completely different perspective. In one moment, courageous and self-confident man appears to be a coward "little boy", who is not ready to stay and prove to the whole world that he is not afraid of his tragic destiny and ready to prove that the human’s fate is only in the person’s hands. He is not completely available to bear such responsibility. Moreover, instead of making some correctly weighted conclusions, Oedipus doubts and changes his decisions too frequently. This is not one of the best features of a person that pretends to become a king.

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Another feature that demonstrates not the best side of Oedipus is the lack of sober mind. Instead of making a deep analysis of every action, the character is not clever enough when choosing a woman to marry. The king knew that his destiny was to marry his mother. However, he does not even consider that a woman being so old as his mother can be not the best candidate for the role of his wife.

Taking all these characteristics into consideration, it is important to remember that in most cases Oedipus is a great person with his own tragic fate. As it can be seen in the end of the story, the character still takes the responsibility for his actions and does not poke out his eyes just because he wants to escape the reality. Oedipus understands that everything he has done cannot be forgiven. The hero realizes that there will never be enough explanations to find an excuse for all his actions. The fact that Oedipus has killed his own father and married the mother does not give him a single chance to remain the person he was many years ago. It is better to be blind to the world than to see the reality in which he has done the most horrible things without a single intention. It is better to leave the city he is the king in than to see the disappointed eyes of people who trusted him the most and called him a King. Here the tragedy lies not in those horrible things that were done but rather in understanding that it is impossible to live further and consider himself as a good person. This is a key moment when Oedipus has to accept his tragic fate.

Oedipus is a tragic hero. His life is a perfect example that the person should never give up and believe that nothing is impossible. Oedipus was a good king of his city, but a subject of his destiny. The character evokes admiration and disappointment at the same time. Nevertheless there are so many weaknesses one can mention about Oedipus’ character, it would also be a mistake to underestimate what this person has done to the city. His inner strength helped so many people in the city. Probably he was not so much responsible for some of his actions. However, the hero stays devoted as a king, a good husband and simply as a man.


Finally, what else can be said about Oedipus the King? This unique mixture of great features and evil flaws make Sophocles’ character very close to every reader. Again, no one is perfect. Oedipus is the same too. His courage and readiness to accept terrible gifts of destiny make him a tragic hero that will be popular in any epoch. What is a recipe of this tragedy? For sure, this is Oedipus’ complex personality. Even though he is truly courage, and this feature saves so many lives, exactly his courage kills his father. How can it be more tragically, when great thoughts bring the rotten fruits? Oedipus’ tragedy demonstrates that in order to become a true king of your destiny, it is not enough to be a courage man. In order to become a king of your destiny, it is not enough to be a self-confident individual. To become a true ruler of your fate is far more difficult than to be a good king of the city or a devoted husband. The story of Oedipus the King clearly demonstrates that the fate sometimes has no desire to be a subject to a person. When it happens so, this is called a tragedy. Obviously, Oedipus’ destiny wanted to be a ruler of his life.

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