"There is no man blessed amongst us. All the works of man are known and every
soul is tried," sings the chorus at the beginning of Oedipus Rex. After answering the
riddle of man, Oedipus becomes the foremost of living men and takes his turn on the top
of the wheel. Oedipus believes, "it is better to rule over man than over a wasted place;
since, a walled township is nothing if it is empty and has no man within it." But, what he
does not realize is that very soon he will have fallen to the bottom. Oedipus believes three
people are out to get him: Tiresias, Creon, and Jocasta. Believing he is blessed, Oedipus
does not listen to the words of those close to him. In doing so, he will be forced to learn
of his unimagined shame.
Bearing his burden to the end, Laius' murderer will eventually see the truth.
Oedipus delivers a proclamation to pursue the truth. Tiresias, the blind prophet, comes to
convict Oedipus: "I charge you to obey the decree that you yourself have made. You are
the differ of this land." He tells of the plague not leaving until the murderer is found.
Tiresias, being a great prophet, knows all but will not tell: "I will speak no further. Rage if
you have a mind to." Only after Oedipus persists does the prophet say Oedipus is the
murderer: "I say that you are the murderer that you seek." Tiresias further states that
Oedipus is married to his mother: "You are living with your next of kin in unimagined
shame." Oedipus, unwilling to turn the mirror on himself, resorts to insulting Tiresias:
"Was it Creon that planned this or you yourself...the riddle about man is about himself."
A man's fate is his character; at...