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Oedipus's Transition From the Beginning to the End.

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Ryan Sy November 22, 2003 English IBS 1-2 Mrs. Ching Oedipus's Transition From the Beginning to the End Sophocles' Greek tragedy, "Oedipus" displays how fate and destiny, rather than chance, determine the events within human life. It is this fate that turns Oedipus' seemingly perfect existence full circle, leaving him with less than nothing in the end. During the course of this story, Oedipus undergoes a complete conversion because of his personal quest to find out his true identity. He eventually learns the truth, but at a great cost. He finds that he isn't who he believed himself to be, and he loses everything in the process. Oedipus therefore undergoes an absolute transition from a kingship to exile, from wisdom to confusedness, from admirability to utter shame. When Oedipus is first seen, he is clearly noted as the ruler of Thebes. The priest in fact regards him as, "Great King of Thebes and sovereign Oedipus..." (Line 14). At the moment, Thebes is afflicted with a terrible and mysterious plague, which can only be eliminated when the murderer of Laius, the former King of Thebes, is exiled or killed. ...read more.


The riddle was, "What has four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?" Oedipus was the only one who answered, "Man", causing the Sphinx to finally kill herself. Man crawled as a baby in its youth, walked with both feet during mid life, and walked with a cane when old. Answering this riddle saved the kingdom of Thebes from the feared Sphinx, and so Oedipus was forever recognized for this. Oedipus' wit, however, was also the cause of his downfall. This is shown during Oedipus' debate with Teiresias. As Oedipus exclaims, "...my skill has brought me glory", Teiresias replies, "And this success brought you to ruin too" (lines 441-443). In other words, Oedipus fulfilled the dark prophecy placed upon him by defeating the Sphinx and thus, marrying Iocasta. In this tragedy, Oedipus is faced with the riddle of his identity. However, despite his wit, he is never able to solve the riddle on his own. In fact, he is confused practically throughout the course of the story. Iocasta even solves this riddle before he does, explaining her sheer reluctance of him trying to find out. ...read more.


And thus, killing one's own father was the most dishonorable action, next to marrying one's own mother. Oedipus, sadly, performed both of these shameful crimes which were considered worse, even, than mass murder. So Oedipus went from being the pride of Thebes to its worst shame. Oedipus is indeed so ashamed of his actions that he tells his advisor, "...Quick as you can, I beg, banish me, hide me, slay me! Throw me forth into the sea, where I may sink from view... There is no man alive can bear this load of evil but myself". Oedipus' transition is evident in how he is now pleading and begging his own advisor to banish him from Thebes. Thus, Oedipus loses everything, including his own dignity. In conclusion, Oedipus makes a tragic transition from having everything to having nothing. Because of his quest for the truth, he finally found it and suffered the most in the end. However, despite the shame in what Oedipus did, one must still admire his spirit to continue looking for truth. It is admirable how he chose blindness rather than death, and in a way, punished himself for his past sins. Such a trait still makes him a hero, at in that sense. Sources: 1. http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/myth.htm#interpretation 2. http://cgi.sparknotes.com/hlite.rmpl?words=oedipus&pd=0&page=section5.rhtml&guide=%2fdrama%2foedipus ...read more.

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