Oedipus: A Thinker At The Crossroads | Issue 75 | Philosophy Now
A tragedy evokes emotions of pity (for the tragic hero) and fear (it Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) is part of the trilogy called the .. In Oedipus the King, Jocasta says that Laius was slain at a place where three roads meet. The tragic flaw, or mistake that a character makes, in Oedipus Rex does not actually take place servants and his being killed where three roads meet. Oedipus. To have complete access to the thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please Laïus, the king of Thebes, learned from the Delphic Oracle that any child born of his But at “the crossroads where three roads meet” he encountered an old The myth of Oedipus differs from the standard myth of a hero in that Oedipus.
The servant takes pity on the child and gives him to a shepherd who is a servant to King Polybus of Corinth. Oedipus hears rumors that Polybus is not his real father and seeks advice from the oracle at Delphi. Before he gets an answer to his question, the priestess tells him the prophesy about killing his father and marrying his mother. To avoid the prophecy, Oedipus flees Corinth, vowing never to return. Oedipus gets into an argument with a man Laius on the road and kills him. He then goes to Thebes and saves the city by correctly answering the riddle of the Sphinx.
As a reward, Oedipus becomes king of Thebes and marries the queen, Jocasta.
Oedipus: A Thinker At The Crossroads
Twenty years later the city suffers from a plague of infertility indicating someone had polluted the city. A plague has happened in Thebes and the community goes to Oedipus to complain about it.
He answered the riddle of the sphinx, and saved Thebes. Know this because the chorus keeps repeating it. What do the people of Thebes want Oedipus to do for them? They want Oedipus to end the plague, the pollution, and to solve the murder of the former king Laios.
Restore life to the city, to save them. Who does Oedipus send to Delphi to learn how to save Thebes? What suggestion does Creon make when Oedipus asks about the message from the god, Apollo? He suggests to come talk to Oedipus in private, but Oedipus says no lets do it right now. Oedipus wants to be transparent, thinks he has nothing to hide from the people. Why has no one made an attempt to find out the truth about what had happened to Laios? Because everyone was occupied with the riddle of the sphinx.
To which three gods does the Chorus pray for help? Athena, Apollo, and Artimus. What does the Chorus want the gods to do for them? Help the people of the city from the plague and to restore Thebes.
Scene 1 and Ode 1: They will have a save exile out of the city, and anyone with information won't come to any harm. Why does Oedipus berate his people with regard to King Laios? Because they never bothered to find out who killed Laios in the first place, and if there had been no command from the oracle then the situation would have gone unsolved forever.
Who does the Chorus suggest could help Oedipus locate the whereabouts of the murderer? He suggests going to speak with Tiresias. What conclusion does Oedipus jump to when the prophet continually refuses to give specific information about the events surrounding the death of King Laios? That Tiresias had something to do with the murder himself. Who does the prophet finally reveal as the murderer of King Laios? A foreigner that has married his mother and killed his father.
Apollo is the god that is most concerned. Who does Oedipus accuse of being behind a plot to destroy him? Oedipus believes that Creon has a plot to destroy him. Who does the Chorus say will follow the killer wherever he goes?
Wherever he goes, the pollution will go. Scene 2 and Ode 2: Why is Creon upset at the opening of scene 2? He is upset because Oedipus accused him of trying to steal his place at the throne. Accuses him of treason. All of the parts none of the headache. Who does the Chorus claim can settle the dispute between Oedipus and Creon? The Chorus says that Jocasta can settle the dispute between Oedipus and Creon. What convinces Oedipus to allow Creon to leave?
Jocasta convinces Oedipus to allow Creon to leave. He asks why Zeus has willed him to do this, and for Jocasta not to question him anymore. Then he continues to ask more questions about Laius.
He was sent to the country to tend the flocks, so that he could be far from the sight of the city. Why had Oedipus fled Corinth many years before?
He had heard that he had been cursed and would kill his father and marry his mother, and he didn't want to do that to his parents so he fled only to end up killing his real father and marrying his real mother. Who does Oedipus insist Jocasta send for? That she sends for the servant that survived when Laius was killed. According to Ode II, what can be said about the hearts of mortals? Scene 3 and Ode 3: To whom does Jocasta make an offering? To Lycean Apollo 2. What news does the messenger from Corinth bring to Thebes?
The couple had four children and lived happily In the process of the investigation, Oedipus discovers that it was he who killed the old king at the crossroads, and that he had married his own mother.
Tragedy and Enlightenment
The dreadful prophecy has thus been fulfilled! Uncannily echoing the Sphinx, Jocasta commits suicide. Oedipus blinds himself before going into exile. The myth of Oedipus differs from the standard myth of a hero in that Oedipus acts of his own volition, and alone he conquers the monster previously, Athena had often assisted heroes.
He does not kill the Sphinx using physical force, but drives her to suicide with a word. In an agonistic dialogue with seer Teiresias, Oedipus boasts: There was a riddle, not for some passer-by to solve — It cried out for a prophet. Did you rise to the crisis? Not a word, you and your birds, your gods — nothing. No, but I came by, Oedipus the ignorant, I stopped the Sphinx! With no help from the birds, the flight of my own intelligence hit the mark.
Through his intelligence and courage alone, Oedipus earned? But is that enough to be a complete human being? Many years after the encounter at the crossroads and the victorious combat with the Sphinx, Oedipus comes to another defining moment: The Quest For Truth: He is a hero full of contradictions: He repeatedly comes to the crossroads within himself: When the plague rages over Thebes, the man who conquered the Sphinx with his intelligence and a word consults not his reason but Apollo and his prophet Teiresias.
He also makes a number of logical blunders. Impossible, Unless conspirators paid him off in Thebes… If anyone knows the murderer is a stranger, A man from alien soil, come speak up. Oedipus remembers killing three; Jocasta tells him that there were five, of which one, the slave, escaped. This slave who, rather surprisingly, also turns out to be the shepherd is called as a key witness. This completely distracts Oedipus, and the question concerning the number of robbers is never asked of the key witness.
Sorry, your browser doesn't support frames...
So at the crossroads of mythos and logos, Oedipus seems to have got lost. Oedipus never questions this. By contrast, rational thought is hinged upon regularly-revised opinion. Inference is based on the balance of probabilities, and thus the conclusion must be open to revision. By contrast, mythos yearns for certitude: Oedipus can tolerate neither not-knowing nor the postponement of finding, and he never revises his assumptions.
- The crossroads of Oedipus and the present Greek dilemma
By contrast, the categories of thought in mythos as in dreams and in insanity are either malleable or non-existent. The action of the play is suspended in an eternal present. In a strange metamorphosis of identity, the shepherd becomes a slave, and then a shepherd again. Words are endowed with a magical power and can physically determine the course of events. Remnants of this mythical guilt can still be observed in the delusions of the psychotically depressed.
This malleability of words results in the abundance of word-play and linguistic puns in Oedipus Tyrannos. At the crossroads of self-knowledge he takes a Socratic path of enquiry. In the Hippocratic treatise On Ancient Medicine, Oracular magic gave way to prognosis based on observation and past history, so that foreknowledge became an achievement of the human mind rather than the prerogative of the gods.
But what drives Oedipus in his quest for truth? Is it curiosity, or is it fear?
Over half nine appear in the dialogue between Oedipus and Jocasta when both become panic-stricken. When Oedipus was answering the riddle of the Sphinx, he seemed to behave like a cool scientist; but when he was searching for his identity, it was, I suggest, fear which made him vacillate at the crossroads between rational and mythical ways of thinking.