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HUM 1 V 1st Semester, 2015-2016

Position Paper on Sophocles Oedipus Rex

The Innocent Suspect
Thesis Statement:
Oedipus may be innocent in his predetermined path, but the actions that ultimately led
him to it are of his own conscious choices; and these are all because of his character towards life.
I. Oedipus has a lack of self-identity, contributing to his unawareness of his true personality.
A. Oedipus knows in himself that he has only little knowledge about his own identity,
since he was suspicious of the truth told by his parents in Corinth .
B. He declares Oedipus, the simple man, who knows nothing (547).
C. He feels the need to consult other people of the truth among things unknown to him.
1. Tell me what it is. Though it seems slight, you must not hold it back (551).
2. I have taken too much upon myself without inquiry; therefore I wish to
consult him (561).
D. Even Teiresias pointed out the ignorance of Oedipus in his identity: If you could
only see the nature of your feelings (552).
II. His arrogance is the main unconscious culprit of his malevolent acts.
A. He constantly argues indifferently among his men.
He accuses immediately: And Ill tell you what I think: you planned it,
you had it done, you all but killed him with your own hands; if you had eyes,
Id say the crime was yours, and yours alone (552).
He insults Teiresias, saying: There is: but not for you; not for you! You
sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man! (553).
Choragos pointing out: He may have spoken in anger, not from his mind
B. He was easily provoked by his rage, bringing him even more evil actions.
III. His pride blinded his mind from the truth making him unable to evade the crimes he committed.
A. Oedipus is innocent of parricide but is guilty of homicide after he killed his real
father, Laius, the king of Thebes before him, whom he did not know.
VI. Oedipus was blind to the facts that could have led him to the evasion of committing parricide and
incest and he committed crimes that were due to his ignorance of his parentage and not
entirely due to his freewill.

A. A shepherd saved Oedipus from being killed as ordered by his true parents, Laius and
B. Oedipus would not have had committed incest if he had known his mother was really,
Jocasta, the queen of Thebes.
1. Greeks believe that everything that happens in their life is somehow related to the
resolve of the gods.
2. Oedipus was involved in a prophecy that complicated his life.
3. Oedipus was able to conquer a group of men on his own.
4. The answer to the Sphinxs riddle was only known by Oedipus and was made the
King of Thebes

Hamilton, E. (1942). Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. Ney York: Little Brown
and Co. Accessed from http://www.misdtx.schoolwriters.com./pdf.
Sophocles. (1949). Oedipus Rex. (D. Fitts & R. Fitzgerald, Trans.) New York: Harcourt Brace.