Oedipus the King is one of the most recognizable literary characters. His name is generally associated with fate, sin, and sorrow. The famous founder of psychoanalysis used the name of the character to depict one of the peculiarities of the human mind. Admittedly, Sophocles’ tragedy has become one of the famous literary works in the history of humankind due to its profoundness. The tragedy evokes strong emotions and it makes people think about the most important things in life. As for me, I keep thinking about fate and people’s freedom whenever I read (or hear about) Oedipus the King.
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To my mind, the central point of the tragedy is fate. Oedipus the King committed horrible crimes without knowing it. More so, he was doomed to do all he did. There was a prophecy even before Oedipus was born. Basically, Oedipus did not have much of a choice. He was doomed to be one of the greatest sinners. This predestination makes me think of humans’ free will.
I tend to think that people are responsible for their actions. I do believe that there is no such supreme power (like fate) that can bring a man to such disgrace. However, Sophocles, as well as Ancient Greeks, had a different viewpoint. Of course, this can be easily explained by the values contemporary people rely on. We think that people are free to create their own destiny whereas Ancient Greeks believed people just followed a predetermined pattern. Admittedly, there can be no Oedipus in the contemporary world.
Such ideas came across my mind when I was reading the final passages of the tragedy. Oedipus laments over his fate and considers his sins. The King never stops blaming himself. He says that he is the greatest sinner. However, this man cannot be judged as he did not know anything.
What triggers me most is that the gods who knew everything about the prophecy and could prevent everything did not do it; instead, they punished the wretched man. I cannot understand the Ancient Greeks who contradicted themselves. According to them, people were doomed to sin and were doomed to be punished strictly for their sins. Such perception of the world is rather erroneous. It contradicts my outlook as I know that people are responsible for their deeds and they should be judged accordingly.
I also think that the idea of blindness is one of the most important and the most interesting in the tragedy. Basically, all people are blind to see really important things and sight has nothing to do with people’s ability to see. Oedipus had to blind himself to perceive the truth. This can be interpreted in the following way. People are distracted from the most important things by trifles. The tragedy of Oedipus the King shows that it is vital to pay attention to really meaningful things and leave behind something less important.
On balance, I should admit that the tragedy touches upon really essential issues. Being written long ago before my birth, it also speaks to me. Of course, my perception of the tragedy differs from that of people who lived at the times of Sophocles. However, it makes me think of basic values I should rely on. The tragedy also makes me think of such issues as humans’ free will which is central to people living in the twenty-first century. This makes the tragedy one of the greatest literary works ever.
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