Emotions Of Oedipus Rex


Emotions Of Oedipus Rex Essay, Research Paper

In the play, Oedipus Rex, Sophocles carefully gives each

character their own personality, so they will react differently

to their problems as they come about. The way each character deal

with his or her feelings is what makes this play so powerful.

Through out the play we know for a fact the main character,

Oedipus Rex, had indeed killed his father in a confrontation, and

went on to marry his mother, Iocaste. As Oedipus learns this, he

goes through a great deal of emotions throughout the story,

ranging from one extreme to the other.

After Oedipus learns about his prophesy, he becomes deathly

afraid the Oracle might become true. One problem, Oedipus doesn?t

know the people he has been living with are not his birth

parents. He leaves his native place so he would not fulfill his

prophesy. On the road leading away form his supposed home he

meets King Laius, not knowing of course, King Laius is his real

father. In a sudden quarrel strikes him dead. After Oedipus

solves the riddle of the Sphinx, the city is saved. He is

rewarded with the hand of Iocaste, and becomes king of Thebes. At

this point the prophesy has been fulfilled, by the unknowing King

Oedipus. This would bring a great deal of pride to a man, and

can easily lead to arrogance, which is later seen.

Throughout the story Oedipus gets several clues, which makes

him believe the oracle came true, he later shows he is sincerely

hoping for the best from his fate. He is talking to a messenger,

and to Iocaste, about his prophesy. Iocaste?s says the following

to Oedipus:

?Why should anyone in this world be afraid,

since fate rules us and nothing can be foreseen?

A man should live only for the present day.

Have no more fear of sleeping with your mother:

How many men, in dreams, have lain with their mothers!

No reasonable man is troubled by such things.?

(Sophocles, p. 192)

This is in relation to what Freudian Freud?s psychoanalytic

theory about the Oedipus complex. Freud states:

?An Oedipus complex consists of a double set of

attitudes toward both parents: (1) An intense love and

yearning for his mother is coupled with a powerful

jealousy of and rage toward his father…The whole

Oedipal experience is so frightening that it is

thoroughly repressed, and cannot be recalled without

the aid of psychoanalytic therapy. Its effects may well

become obvious, however, as when a man marries a woman

who closely resembles his mother.?

(R.J. Corsini,Ed., p. 512)(Also page 3 of packet).

Iocaste is basically saying the same thing Freud states, almost

twenty five hundred years later. Marrying someone that

unconsciously reminds you of your mother, and actually going out

and marrying your mother is two different things, which is why

Oedipus gets so disgusted when he find out that Iocaste is not

only his wife, but also his mother.

Oedipus goes through a great deal of emotions in the next

few pages of the story, from one extreme to the other. Oedipus

goes through fear of guilt, he starts thinking, maybe he is

guilty of killing his own father. From here he learns about a

Shepherd from Choragos, the Shepherd might know more about his

childhood, and there may be hope for King Oedipus, that maybe the

prophesy is not true. After disguising the baby with the Shepherd

Oedipus cries:

?Ah God! It was true! all the prophecies! -Now,

O Light, may I look on you for the last time!

I, Oedipus,

Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned,

Damned in the blood he shed with his own hand!?

(Sophocles, p. 198)

Oedipus is enraged about learning that the entire prophesy has

come true, and to make things worse for him, he finds out that

his mother/wife kills herself. He is so extremely disgusted with

the whole prophesy, which explains what he does next.

I would blot out from my mind what happened next!

For the King ripped from her gown the golden brooches

that were her ornament, and raised them, and plunged

them down straight into his own eyeballs, crying ?No

more, no more shall you look on the misery about me,

the horrors of my own doing! Too long have you known

the faces of those whom I should never have seen, too

long been blind to those for whom I was searching! From

this hour, go in darkness!?

… He struck at his eyes–not once, but many times.?

(Sophocles, p. 201)

What Oedipus had gone through is beyond anything an average

person ever experienced, or will ever experience. Which is why

his reaction to the situation is so drastic, permainatly blinding


When the truth is known about Oedipus?s life, Oedipus is no

longer King, Creon defiantly lets Oedipus know about it, with a

remark. At the very end of the play, Oedipus is totally fed up

with the way his life ended up, and wants to end it all. He

demands that Creon and Choragos bring him to the top of the

mountain to where he was originally placed, by his parents to

die. Oedipus wants to take his four children with him, but Creon

doesn?t allow it to happen. ?Think no longer that you are in

command here, but rather think how, when you were, you served

your own destruction.? (Sophocles, p. 207).


“Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles

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