Oedipus the King


Oedipus the King is a story of a great king who was brought down the fate and destiny of the gods. It is a narration of strife over circumstances that were out of a person’s control but were mainly dealt with in ways that led to further destruction and sadness. There are many lessons to be learned from the story of Oedipus that include the lesson of modesty, one cannot outrun fate, and thirdly, the lesson of humility.

One cannot Outrun Fate

The story depicts Oedipus as a typical hero who is helpless in the hands of fate. Everything he did would have the same results. Each possible act would result to him killing his father and having relations with his mother. When Oedipus was first informed about this prophesy, he made the decision of leaving his city in order to escape it. He, however, did not know that those parents were his adoptive parents, and that leaving the city would lead him closer to his biological parents though he wanted to prevent it. Oedipus rashes at his attacker on the road who he did not know was his biological father. Therefore, just as he starts thinking that he had fled from his fate, Oedipus runs straight into it. The story teaches that one cannot outrun fate, and resisting it would be a sin and an insult to the gods. However, the story also teaches that even when is faced with a terrible fate awaiting them, they should always be strong, courageous and upright. It was not the fault of Oedipus that he slayed his father and slept with his mother. It is not the intention of the writer for his audience to judge Oedipus for those actions. Instead, the writer wants his audience to pity Oedipus. Oedipus had to go through this because of a traditional curse that had been cast on his family for an offense that one of his ancestors had committed. His actions, however, illustrate that he was able to maintain his honor and bravery all trough that experience.


During his life, Oedipus was a brave and brave king. On finding out about the fulfilment of the prophesy, he plucked his eyes to punish himself instead of committing suicide like his mother. He abandoned his kingdom and went to mountain Cithaeron to prevent his subjects from suffering because of his mistakes and to ensure nobody would be in a position of seeing his shame. Oedipus also abandoned his children as he did not want their lives to be cursed and full of shame due to him. He accepted the results of his fate with honor and endurance. Additionally, Oedipus’ desperate effort of escaping fate originated from an understandable and pious desire to live without committing heinous offenses. Oedipus shows his distinctive brilliance and self-confidence in what he takes to be his brave search for the killer of Laius. He hunts the mystery persistently, with confidence that its answer will give him back the glory he took pride in when he solved the riddle of the Sphinx. The self-assurance that Oedipus possesses that he has solved his fate makes him blind and starts the fall that ends with his literal blindness. Therefore, he ends up becoming the victim of fate instead of being the conqueror. Also, the efforts of Laius and Jocasta to escape the fate prophesied for their child they were prohibited from conceiving may be seen to originate from the best intuitions in human nature, but they end up being punished.

The lesson of Modesty

The play teaches its audience the percept of know thyself. The reader is taught the lesson of cultivating the virtue of modesty or self- restraint. The personality of Creon is used to illustrate this virtue and is ideals are used to measure and find wrong the arrogance of Oedipus. Creon is always respectful, careful, and humble. Even at the end, Creon insists on not exiling Oedipus until he was certain that it was the will of the gods for him to do that. In the last scene, Creon points out that Oedipus will now believe in the gods. The last minor conflict that Creon and Oedipus have is due to the question of modesty. Oedipus wishes to be exiled at the spot, but Creon fails to promise this until the gods have been made clear. Creon emphasizes on not doing or saying anything unless he has the knowledge or justification of doing or saying it. Creon character is sharply contrasted with that of Oedipus that has been depicted as being that of pride of awareness. Creon demonstrates a desire of avoiding the responsibilities of kingship as they are dangerous and hurting. Creon preferred the public approval and nobilities that bring gain. Creon is kind enough to bring Oedipus children to meet him in the final scene. He is also an innocent person who was unfairly accused and reacts mildly and appears not to bear any hatred at the close. Although Creon is decent in his way, Oedipus’s personality of being bold and intelligent and ease of command stood out.

Lesson on Humility

During his first speeches, Oedipus seems to be kingly and speaks formally, distant from the suffering of the people, and he sneeringly addresses them as children. Oedipus fails to heed to the delicate advice of the priest, that he solved the riddle with God’s help, and designates himself to be a stranger, to what happened. Through the depiction of Oedipus’ lack of real piousness, his surpassing of each boundary separating man’s authority from heavenly power, the writer demonstrates the necessity of Oedipus to see his identity as a human being. The writer also seeks to help in the understanding of the god’s sphere of influence. Oedipus’s talk about the gods at the beginning of the story is not convincing but is the speech to the end of the story is stated with appreciation and admission. Oedipus is seen to be more admirable and more human when the story comes to an end. He does not stand on the place steps anymore and he is at the level of his people as he does not look down at them Oedipus’s humility, his uncertain questions, and his blindness identify him as part of the people, and they escape Oedipus’ questing hands.

The writer uses the characters of Oedipus and Creon to illustrate his case for the authority of gods in human beings. He argues that a human being has to identify himself and his place in the world. He adds that to impinge on the places that are the territories of the gods may imply the invitation of dreadful punishment. Sophocles, the writer, makes a distinction between ignorance and innocence through showing that since Oedipus is a man, he has to know and see. Oedipus, without knowing, chooses his own fate that had been prescribed before he was born. At the end of the story, Oedipus is seen to have good intentions apart from is temper, pride and recklessness that at times override his judgment.

Creon’s moderate life is shown to be safe. As compared to Oedipus, Creon is depicted as not having the fire and ambition that is used it the definition of Oedipus. The writer states that a man such s Creon has better chances of surviving in the universe.


The Oedipus story is a narration of a king who tried to escape his fate but as not successful. The proud king was given the prophesy that he would end up slaying his father and sleeping with his own mother. To defy the gods, Oedipus left his home thinking that he would prevent the curse from happening. He did not know that he was not living with his biological parents and he came to meet his real parents in his escape. From this story, one learns several lesson that include humility, modesty and that one cannot outrun their fate. On the lesson of humility, there is depiction of Creon as being humble as compared to Oedipus’s proud character. The life of Oedipus before the prophesy has been shown as that full of pride and disregard of fellow men as is even said to have referred them as children. At the end of the story, Oedipus is shown to be humble and at the level of the other people. The lesson from this is that one should be humble as no one knows what the future will bring. One should not despise other people due to their present conditions as fate may have one in the same condition tomorrow. There is also the lesson that one cannot escape their fate. Oedipus tries to run from his fate but ends up running to the same fate. One should embrace his fate wit bravery rather than conceding to defeat like Oedipus’s mother who committed suicide. The lesson of modesty has been illustrated through the use of Creon, who is slow to judge, does not hold any grudge and is very humble.

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