Essay by psloneUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2002

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A man's actions are truly his own. These actions determine his character. In order for a man to be considered noble he must possess outstanding qualities and show these qualities through his actions. In "Oedipus the King," by Sophocles, Oedipus proves that all though his destiny is predetermined, it is his actions that make him the "noblest of men" (Prologue 48). Oedipus, though the gods have kept him tragically blind to the truth remains noble of character.

In Greek tragedies the gods control human destiny. They are frequently cruel, petty, and unjust. They have condemned Oedipus before his birth for the trangressions of his parents. He is their noble pawn, to be played with and sacrificed when he is no longer of amusement or value. The gods prefer to keep Oedipus blind to the truth that surrounds him.

Blind to the deceptions, Oedipus's first noble act, leaving Corinth to save his parents from a dreadful prophesy, sets in motion a downward spiral in his life.

This action does not cause his downfall; however, it opens the door which allows his true destiny to proceed. He might have never left Corinth had it not been for the deceitfulness of his "parents" and the confusion the oracle creates when he refuses to answer his questions and presents him only with a riddle.

At a crossroads, Oedipus comes to a crossroads in his life. In defending his honor, he kills Laios. Unaware that the gods have used him, and that he has fallen into their trap, he completes the first part of the prophecy: "I should be my father's murderer" (2.267).

Upon approaching Thebes, he solves the Sphinx's riddle, freeing Thebes and condemning himself to complete the prophecy. The gods have allowed him to have the intellectual ability to...