Oedipus Rex- Conflict and the Essence of Drama

Essay by sublimemilyCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2004

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Conflict: The Essence of Drama

In the story of "Oedipus the King" by Aristotle, the main conflict is Oedipus' internal struggle with his pride and egotism. He likes to be praised, always having to get things done and be known for it. Oedipus himself is also off balanced due to the nature of his controlling character, and because of this he is almost destined to self-destruction. In other words, his tragedy is to be predicted because balance cannot be achieved by constantly questing to be number one. Oedipus is an imitation of this kind of character who will always end in destruction.

One of the best examples of this conflict comes from Scene 4 (page 1412) where Oedipus finally comes to the realization that he is the one who killed his father and is causing a plague among the city. One of the reasons why this scene is so significant is that it shows his struggle with personal freedom versus his fate.

Because of Oedipus' take-charge personality, he is unable throughout the play to accept the idea that the fate assigned to him by the gods was true. Many years ago he was told by Apollo (as stated on page 1409) that he "was the man should marry his own mother, shed his father's blood with his own hands." And yet throughout this whole chain of events, even after a plague was upon his city (just as the gods stated) because the King of Thebes was slain, Oedipus remained unaware of the truth.

The scene begins with Oedipus bringing in the Shepard (who had saved him as a baby) for questioning. Prior to this, Oedipus had been searching relentlessly to find who had killed Thebes' king. Because of his aggressiveness, Oedipus would not let the natural balance of...