No one would doubt Oedipus as a glorious king, especially the King of Suffering. His confronting with Sphinx, his tender empathy for the Thebans, and his resolve to rescue Thebes from the plague successfully prove his greatness, which makes him an honored king. In addition to a successful king, he possesses the capabilities of investigating as well—swiftness, perseverance, and wisdom. However it is also these great traits that curse Oedipus and lead him to the ultimate truth which he strives for and, ironically, he fatefully suffers from. He saves the Thebans from the Sphinx but fails to do so from Laois’s murderer—Oedipus himself, which makes the investigation so agonizing and eventually leads his life to an even poorer end.
Oedipus, like Sherlock Holmes, moves ahead of others. Holmes visualized the geographical characteristics of the moor with a detailed map before he arrives at Devonshire, a preparation which largely helps him. Similarly, Oedipus’s swiftness also gives his investigation a good start. He anticipates the subject and has already sent Kreon to Delphi for oracles. After Kreon came back from Delphi with Apollo’s words, Oedipus starts to summon witnesses to decipher those vague clues. However he sometimes acts too fast and cannot ponder the outcome. When Oedipus travels down the crossroads, he has a road rage with Laois and his company (1045). They try to shove him off to make the way for the king. Both Laios’s and his driver’s aggressive behavior stimulate Oedipus’s defense in a sudden which causes Laois’s death and agitates Oedipus to kill the band with only one survivor left. Had Oedipus not hastened to travel on the road but waited until Laios passed him, this whole story would not have happened regardless of the fact that he is doomed to kill Laios.
Besides his swiftness which starts the whole investigation, his determination triggers his perseverance and thereafter motivates him to continue this difficult process which lacks witnesses’ cooperation and clues. As indicated by his assertive claim, “Now I am here. I will begin the search again, I will reveal the truth, expose everything, let it all be seen” (160-162), his determination is so firm that it reassures the Thebans’ fear, his perseverance enables him to expose everything, and finally he blinds himself due to what he has seen.
At the very beginning, Oedipus’ s resolve makes him crave details. For him, “rumors, news from messengers, they are not enough” (7). After hearing Kreon’s vague response which mystifies Oedipus by “plague” (121) and “Apollo’s victim” (126), Oedipus raises questions through a long conversation with Kreon because he needs any source of information so that “one small clue might lead to others” (145). With this belief, Oedipus is informed that “Laios was killed on the way to Delphi” (140-141) and the prophet Teiresias is then brought to Oedipus. Teiresias’s reluctance challenges Oedipus’s determination of revealing the truth to save his beloved Thebans. Teiresias’s ridiculous accusation of Oedipus as a murderer further irritates Oedipus, whom Thebans trust and rely on. Never imagining he would be involved in the crime, Oedipus’s strong disagreement with Teiresias’s words indicates his stubbornness, resulting in veiling his reasoning and preluding his pathetic destiny.
Oedipus’s straightforwardness solved Sphinx’s twisted riddle with a direct answer “human” and once again, here comes the riddle of Laois’s death. His concise and strong order “Speak” (108) and his refusal to address issues with Kreon privately—“Stop. Say it. Say it to the whole city.” (110)— explain his directness and present a contrast with Kreon’s vagueness also shared by other witnesses. His straightforwardness also leads to his impatience with any mysterious and unclarified words, which finally triggers his abusive language as part of his investigative characteristics. As the sacred prophet refuses to tell what he knows, Oedipus insults…