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Sahar Khan Honors English: Mr.

Cooke Oedipus the King- Essay Thursday, January 26, 2012 The play Oedipus the King by Sophocles is about the most unfortunate of men; Oedipus. It describes a baby who is born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes, who his parents hear a prophecy that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother. When his parents hear the prophecy they give him to a shepherd to have him killed, but the Shepherd ends up giving him to a messenger. The messenger then gives him to King Polybus and Queen Merope. Once he's older a man at a feast tells him hes not the son of the king and queen, so to learn more Oedipus goes to the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi where he hears the prophecy, and he runs from home. Along the way he kills his real father, solves the riddle of the sphinx, becomes the king of Thebes and marries his mother, Queen Jocasta. There are many people to blame for Oedipuss downfall in the play and the horrible outcome he ends with. However, the three people most responsible for Oedipus downfall are, the Theban Sheppard, Polybus and Merope, and Oedipus himself. The Theban Sheppard is responsible for Oedipuss horrible outcome because he failed to follow through with an order given to him by the King and Queen of Thebes. The Shepherd was given an order to take King Laius and Queen Jacostas baby to mount Cithaeron and to leave there to die. The Shepherd failed to follow through, he explains, In pity master I thought he would take it away to a foreign country-to the place he came from (69). For a good deed the Shepherd was trying to do, he did just the opposite. The Sheppard didnt help prevent Oedipuss prophecy from happening he helped complete it. King Polybus and Queen Merope, also Oedipuss adoptive parents, are a major cause of Oedipuss tragic outcome. Once the drunken man at the banquet told Oedipus the King and Queen arent his parents they should have told him the truth when he asked them. Instead

Polybus and Merope lied to him. Oedipus says, On the next day I went to my parents and questioned them. The were enraged with the man who had so taunted me (45). This reaction to a situation so serious should have ended with the truth coming out. Oedipuss parents King Polybus and Queen Merope should have finally told him they were not his real parents. This would have helped him avoid the awful prophecy. If Oedipus had known they werent his real parents he could have lived his life with them without worrying about whom his real parents are or the terrible prophecy given to him by Delphi. Also if Oedipus wanted to know who his parents were really badly he would have gone to the Oracle of Apollo and heard his prophecy. Once Oedipus was told his prophecy he would not want to know who his real parents are, if he is going to kill his father and marry his mother. Staying with his adoptive parents would keep him safe from the horrible prophecy. The biggest person to blame for the horrible outcome for Oedipus is Oedipus himself. Some of Oedipuss traits like his arrogance, quick temper and stubbornness lead him to his awful fate. Oedipus ran away from home before learning the whole story about who his real parents are. He explains, Without telling my parents. I set off on a journey to the oracle of Apollo, at Delphi. Apollo sent me away with my questions unanswered but he foretold a calamitous calamitous future for me- to lie with my mother and beget children mens eyes would not bear the sight of- and to be the killer of the father that gave me life. When I heard that, I ran away (45). If Oedipus were not so stubborn or quick tempered he would have given Merope and Polybus time to explain to him his prophecy which would have benefited him than running away. If Oedipus had told Polybus and Merope his prophecy they could have easily told him they were not his real parents and there was no need to stay away from them.

Oedipus is also very quick tempered. He easily gets angry. If Oedipus was not so hot headed he could have easily escaped from the first part of the prophecy. The first prophecy is Oedipus killing the father that gave him life, Liaus. Once Oedipus comes to the triple crossroad that is where he fulfills the first part of the prophecy. He tells Jocasta, The driver, and the old man himself tried to push me off the road. In anger I struck the driver as he tried to crowd me off. When the old man saw me coming off the wheels he aimed at my head with a two pronged goad, and hit me. I paid him back in full, with interest: in no time at all he was bit by the stick I held in my hand and rolled backwards from the center of the wagon. I killed the whole lot of them (45). This multiple murder occurs is due to Oedipuss quick temper, easily because he is set off and angered. The Shepherd, King Polybus and Queen Merope, and Oedipus himself are the most to blame for Oedipuss horrible outcome in the end of Oedipus the King by Sophocles. In the end Oedipus is blinded and abandon from his home, hes also the cause for both his parents death. Oedipus is truly the most unfortunate of men. Many people had a contribution to Oedipuss tragic downfall, these three are the biggest contributors.