Oedipus Rex Paper

Submitted By danasyndergaard
Words: 913
Pages: 4

Dana Syndergaard
Mr. Krause
SNC English 101
9/18/14
Eyes without Sight
In most cases, everyone would prefer to know the truth over being told a lie, but there are cases where the truth doesn’t necessarily need to come out. Oedipus Rex is a tragedy where finding out the truth does nothing but harm everything in its path. Although a cure to the plague is found, the consequences of the truth that Oedipus and the people around him have to deal with turn the story into a tragedy. In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, a reader can learn that sometimes the truth is better untold through Teiresias’ words to Oedipus when Oedipus asks him about the murder of the king, relationships with Oedipus that are tarnished, and Oedipus’ fate that he tries to escape from but can’t. Teiresias, the blind prophet, warns Oedipus throughout their dialogue that the truth about the murder and who did it will hurt Oedipus. To show that nothing good will come out of the truth from Oedipus’ past or what he has done, Teiresias says, “How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be/when there’s no help in the truth!” (303­305). Teiresias knows that Oedipus has killed this man but chooses not to tell him as he fears it will not do any good. The fact that Oedipus shouldn’t try to change his fate and that Teiresias cannot fix what has already been done is explained to a reader when Teiresias says to Oedipus, “Bear your own fate, and/I’ll bear mine”
(307­308). Teiresias also mentions that Oedipus’ fate is no one’s fault but his when he says to
Oedipus, “You weave your own doom” (364­365). Throughout their entire conversation, it is

apparent that although blind, Teiresias can see that fate will come to Oedipus no matter what he seeks out to learn about the murder of the King. Throughout the tragedy, Oedipus’ relationships with people around him change greatly due to the fact that Oedipus isn’t okay with the fate that has been chosen for him according to the blind prophet. Kreon, Oedipus’ brother­in­law, is wrongly accused of murdering the king by
Oedipus which causes some tension between the two. Because of the words of Teiresias,
Oedipus feels as though Kreon is trying to take over the throne and wants to accuse him of treason. This shows that even though he has been told the truth, Oedipus would rather not believe it and focus on someone else, even if it is someone close to him. Iokaste, Oedipus’ wife is faced with a death that she wouldn’t have been faced with had fate not taken its course. Oedipus’ feelings toward this event are shown through the quote, “A great sob broke from him, heartbreaking to hear, As he loosed the rope and lowered her to the ground,” (1217­1219). After she found out that Oedipus was in fact her son, she couldn’t live with herself any longer. The truth is what kills her and some may wonder if a different outcome would have come out of
Oedipus not knowing the truth of his past and present.

Oedipus Rex takes its readers though the journey of a man who is originally searching for

the man who killed the King in order for the plague to be lifted off the city, only to hear that he is the one that he is looking for. Although he still acts oblivious towards the truth, a reader can tell that he feels defensive about it. He starts to wrongly accuse people of…