Character Development of Oedipus from “Oedipus the King” Through “Oedipus at Colonus”

Character Development of Oedipus from “Oedipus the King” Through “Oedipus at Colonus”
  • Page:
  • Words:
  • Downloads:
Disclaimer: This work has been donated by a student. This is not an example of the work produced by our Essay Writing Service.

The key character of Oedipus from both plays is being a determined person, which is his will to uncover the mystery and be able to control reality. In the play Oedipus at Colonus, the tragic hero hangs on his will and determination, in spite of his age, banishment and blindness (Alister 140). His determination and brilliance character serves him well when solving mysteries. For an instant, his determination helps him to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. The reason why Oedipus is determined is in order for him to save his people. Oedipus also has a character trait of being a responsible leader. During the opening Oedipus the King the petition of the chorus attests the responsible leadership of Oedipus (Helmbold 293). Both plays show evidence of Oedipus being a good king; in crisis, he moves with firmness in saving his city.

Oedipus is imperviable to reason and advice as he abides by his will with a passion that is intellectual. Nevertheless, his focus in unearthing the mystery and being proud to perform his intellectual feat when the city is watching ends in horror; he finds out that the mystery of his grim search is himself. At the end of the play, Oedipus the King, Oedipus accepted opprobrium and begged to be punished which is contrary to the Oedipus’ character in Oedipus at Colonus where we see him furious because his agonized past was not his own doing. All the noetic passion that Oedipus was once committed when solving the mystery of the Sphinx and find Laius’ murder, now he diverts them to his self-defence. He still retains his integrity and regains his sight, thus becoming one who has the power that he once tried to escape and deny at the end of the play Oedipus at Colonus (Alister 153).

The key plot event that marks the journey of Oedipus is the solving of the murder mystery in order to end the plague that has been cast upon the city of Thebes. Oedipus journey is composed of Incept, politics and psychological whodunit. Sophocles bring out the journey of Oedipus as ironical as the he is determined to tracking down, exposing and punishing the Laius’ murderer, who turns out to be Oedipus. King Oedipus summons the blind prophet who accuses him of being the murderer of Laius but Oedipus angrily rejects and mocks the prophet’s accusation; therefore, ordering him to leave. Oedipus is able to unfold the mystery riddle and uncovers that he is the murderer of Laius. Sophocles shows that Oedipus is a good, prosperous and respected leader. In the early sections of the play, there are many times that Oedipus has been referred to as “great” (Helmbold 295).

Sophocles considers Oedipus as a tragic hero because of his actions in finding the murderer of Laius so that in the end to salvage the city from the plague. Even though Oedipus has been warned that he is the murderer of Laius, he takes up the challenge to find the murder so that he can secure his own kingship. The play depicts how Oedipus has committed unspeakable crimes, thus suffering untold agonies while, in the same position, no human being could or would do any better. Through his tragic suffering, he is thus both a noble exemplar and an object lesson (Helmbold 298). He has One should be able to bear and take responsibility for their action just like Oedipus did by reconciling himself with his fate thus gaining a heroic stature because of his wisdom.

Works Cited
Cameron, Alister. The Identity of Oedipus the King. New York: New York University Press, 1968. Print
Helmbold, W. C. “The Paradox of Oedipus.” American Journal of Philology 72, 3 (1951): 293–300.