Oedipus Rex: The Punishment Of The King



At the end of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, king of Thebes, ends
up banished forever from his kingdom. Additionally, Oedipus physically puts
out his own eyes, for several reasons which will be discussed later. The
question is: Did Oedipus deserve his punishments? There are many factors
that must be considered in answering this, including how Oedipus himself
felt about his situation. His blinding was as much symbolic as it was
physical pain. After all factors have been considered, I think that only
Oedipus' banishment was the necessary punishment..

It is important to keep in mind the whole basic reasoning for
Oedipus' search for Laius' killers: he wished to put an end to a ...

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could
have serious repercussions on the rest of the kingdom. So in the end, the
only way to cure the plague and keep the kingdom stable seems to be the
banishment of Oedipus. In this case, the question of whether or not he
deserved to be punished seems irrelevant; Oedipus' only goal was to stop
the plague and by leaving, he has accomplished that goal. Banishment was
the only choice.

But what exactly was Oedipus being punished for? Even after re-
reading the play, this still seems to be a gray area. Incest? Immoral, to
be sure, but Oedipus was obviously ignorant to his actions, and to my
knowledge, in Sophoclean times, there was no written law against it and
therefore no punishment for it. Oedipus' punishment may have been for
killing Laius, but how could you punish someone for being a victim of fate?
Greeks believed at the time of the play's writing that a man's life was “
woven” by the 3 fates (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) and that he was
irrevocably bound to that destiny. ...

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Added: 5/23/2006 10:02:21 AM
Category: Arts
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1163
Pages: 5

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