The Hero In Oedipus

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Downloaded 5 times

My literature professor, Dr. Rhoda Sirlin, asked the class one Saturday afternoon whether Oedipus was a victim of fate or of his own actions. I ventured to say that maybe it was his destiny to suffer, but Dr. Sirlin asked me to explain why Oedipus, in the act of gouging his eyes out, cries explicitly: No more, no more shall you look on the misery about me, The horrors of my own doing! Too long you have known The faces of those whom I should never have seen, Too long blind to those for whom I was searching! From this hour, go in darkness! (Sophocles 830) Clearly, Dr. Sirlin pointed, Oedipus was aware that he alone was responsible for his actions. Moreover, Dr. Sirlin also stressed the fact that if Oedipus was not responsible for his actions, then he could not be viewed as a tragic figure since he would be a mere puppet of fate or the gods.

I was not prepared to argue one so scholarly as the professor, so I stayed silent. Roy, the loquacious spokesperson of the class, and the professor then discussed Oedipus's explosive temper whether it was a tragic flaw or not, as seen in what the professor aptly called the earliest recorded incident of "road rage." Dr. Sirlin believed that his volatile temper was one factor that contributed to his downfall. I cannot remember now the salient points of Roy's argument, but I do recall that I partook in the debate by urging the class to look at Oedipus as a hero who was trying to assert his rights, as a hero who was trying to defend his honor, when he slew those who violated his right of way on that fateful day where the three highways came together: There were...