Oedipus' dislikeable qualities do not change throughout the books Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonuss

Essay by iceman9954High School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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Throughout one's lifetime, he or she learns many different sayings that hold true in many different facets of life. Many of these sayings regard things not being what they seem. A specific example comes to mind when analyzing Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. It is that "looks may be deceiving." To the naked eye, it appears as though Oedipus changes throughout the two plays. However, upon further inspection, many, if not all, of the dislikeable qualities that appear in Oedipus Rex are also prevalent in Oedipus at Colonus.

In both of the plays, Oedipus regularly displays a very short and vicious temper. It was, in fact, his temper that led him to kill Laius to set off the whole chain reaction that lead to his downfall. Tiresias and Creon bear the wrath of Oedipus' temper once he first hears what Tiresias says. This defilement of the word of Tiresias, who is supposed to know all, shows the lack of respect Oedipus has towards the prophesy and the gods, which leads Tiresias to say "you see and still are blind--appallingly" (23).

When his unquenchable thirst for the knowledge of his birth history leads Oedipus to the old shepherd, his temper takes over during the interrogation. When the shepherd started to answer his questions in a vague and reluctant manner, Oedipus had a fit of anger and started to threaten him with physical harm if he did not start answering in more definite terms. Considering that Oedipus was the king at the time, it is reasonable to assume that, at all times, he should be expected to behave in a much more civilized manner. Oedipus' lack of emotional control is also well documented throughout Oedipus at Colonus as well. Creon comes to Oedipus in Colonus to ask his forgiveness for...