Write a paper between 500 and 1000 words in which you develop an original line of thought (that is, one that is not simply a summary of a point someone else has already made in class) in regard to the play Oedipus Rex. This paper should incorporate at lest two direct quotations from the text and two direct quotations form material, which you have written or placed in your commonplace book.
The emotions that Oedipus is feeling, although in some cases intensified, are emotions that many people can relate to. He goes through many emotions such as sorrow, anger, and the feelings of despair and abandonment. So many of the emotions and situations that Oedipus goes through are situations that occur in our own lives. By observing the parallel, we are able to see that many times we act in the same way as he did. Many times, we curse and judge others, because we assume they are responsible for something, or because they are trying to tell us a truth about ourselves that we would rather not believe. By observing the mistakes that Oedipus makes, hopefully we can see how powerful our emotions are, and how necessary it is that we learn to control them.
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 you have 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!" And as he spoke,
He struck at his eyes--not once but many times:" (69)
Have you ever punched a door when you were angry or upset? How
about thrown a book across the room? Many times, we do stupid things
when we are angry. I know a kid who punched a wall when he was angry,
and he broke almost all of the bones in his hand. They didn't know if
he would ever be able to even play the guitar again. You may think
that you are above what Oedipus did, or that he was completely
stupid, but look at your own life. You may not have done something as
drastic as gouge your eyes out, but I am sure that you must have done
something in a moment of anger or sorrow that you regret, or that you
wouldn't have done had you not been so upset. Emotions can be very
powerful, and we need to learn that it is very important to control
those emotions, because if we don't, something terrible may happen.
Because if you are distraught with emotions, and you don't know how
to control them, you may hurt yourself just like Oedipus hurt
Although our emotions of sorrow, anger, despair, and abandonment may be caused by different things, we may still react in similar ways as Oedipus, as shown above. There is something else very important that we can learn from Oedipus, and that is how we respond to other's advice.
Teiresias: Creon is no threat. You weave your own doom.
Oedipus: Wealth, power, craft of statesmanship!
Kingly position everywhere admired!
What savage envy is stored up against these," (21 )
Oedipus goes on to insult and curse Teiresias, and does not
believe what anything that he says. Many times, we are given advice,
and many times, we pay it no heed.
"If we keep our assumptions in reason, they may be right. But there is still that small percentage of times that you could be wrong." (Commonplace Book 4) Just because our assumption that what someone is telling us is reasonable, we can not always be sure. Look at Oedipus. It seemed very reasonable to him that Teiresias was not telling the truth, therefore he made the very large mistake of not listening and thinking about what the man had to say. "Many times because of making assumptions about the way people look, act, or appear on the outside, we decide that they are a certain way." (Commonplace Book 16) Oedipus made a huge mistake by judging Teiresias by the way he looked.
Teiresias: I can, if there is power in truth.
Oedipus: There is:
But not for you, not for you,
You sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man!" (20)
Oedipus missed a very important truth by judging Teiresias. He assumed that because he was blind, he was witless and senseless, and he did not want to hear what he said.
By observing the two different ways in which Oedipus allowed his emotions to take control of his actions, he made two very large mistakes. The first one was that he blinded himself and caused more pain, and the second was by allowing his anger to get in the way of his judgment, and assume that Teiresias was Iying to him. By assuming this, he missed a very valuable truth. We need to learn from Oedipus's mistakes, and try and control our emotions so that we will not do anything that we will regret, or judge someone and miss an important truth.