Oedipus Group Essay
, Kin g Oedipus is put to the task of finding the murderer of King Laïos in order to save his city from a vicious plague overcoming Thebes. Throughout his investigation to find the murderer,
Oedipus is headstrong in his efforts, demonstrating his form of justice, which is misguided by his arrogance and highhandedness. Although his efforts in the search for justice are successful, his success comes at a high price: Jocasta's life and his own sight.
Throughout Oedipus's efforts of finding King Laïos's murderer, Oedipus is demanding and small minded. From the start, Oedipus takes the task on with good intentions, but his hubris blinds him from the advice of his Choragos and the seer, Teiresias, and acts as if he can find the murderer all on his own. Teiresias refuses to tell him anything that he knows, claiming that it's for Oedipus's own good. He declares, "Let me go home. Bear your own fate, and I'll / Bear mine. It is better so: trust what I say" (1.1056). In spite of this, Oedipus insists that Teiresias tells him everything he knows; the first instance of his arrogance and ignorance. Oedipus neglects the fact that what Teiresias is saying might be what is in Oedipus's best interest and insists on obtaining the information. Oedipus soon discovers that the murder of King Laïos was a situation extremely similar to one he had in his past. Something should have rung a bell in
Oedipus's head, but he was ignorant and did not take a moment to put two and two together.
Oedipus's understanding of justice is that he must approach the situation without first looking into himself for answers and avoid listening to the people around him for guidance.
This search for justice, although not gone about well, is successful because Oedipus isable to discover who the murderer is; himself. Oedipus is able to successfully save the city from the plague it was under, but it comes at a price. Although Oedipus did find justice for the city, if he had gone about the issue differently, there would have been a much less negative outcome. If Oedipus had listened to the people around him, such as Teiresias, he would have understood that it was for his own good that he did not know everything. He went about the situation with arrogance from the very beginning. Oedipus says, "... if "it" is bound to come, you are bound to tell me" (1.125) and further insists on Teiresias telling him. He also could've had a better outcome if he had taken the time to look within himself and into his past before anything else. If he had taken a moment to put all the pieces together and connect the dots, he would have discovered his horrible fate sooner and could have possibly handled the situation better earlier on. It was because of his ignorance that Jocasta's life was lost as well as his own sight. Oedipus is successful in his search for justice for the city, but at the cost of learning the lesson of arrogance and closemindedness.
There is much that we can learn from Oedipus's experience with justice. Through this work, it's made clear that Sophocles is aiming towards teaching the audience a lesson. Oedipus, whilst seeking justice, is not willing to listen to the counsel of those around him and is