Cash | 1Box # 108Sandra CashProfessor BouchardENG 132Paper # 5 Thoughts on “Oedipus Rex”February 15, 2012 Thoughts on “Oedipus Rex” While looking at this through a biblical lens, Oedipus Rex seems to be another version ofSecond Samuel chapters eleven and twelve. There are some differences, but the plot of this storyis almost completely the same as in Second Samuel chapters eleven and twelve. Although, thereis the difference, since that the Greeks believed in fate instead of free will. This makes Oedipusthink he was just born for all the horrible deeds he did, and that he could never have stopped it.The difference is that David accepts that it was by his own free will that he made a mistake andnow must accept the consequence of his mistake. Lastly, the characters in this story all havesome flaw that causes problems. Both of these stories deal with kings, to whom a prophet comes to them to tell them thatthey have committed a horrible sin that the gods or God is not pleased with them. The sin thatboth the stories deal with is murder: Oedipus murders his father, and David murders Bathsheba’shusband. Both Oedipus and David, after hearing what the prophet has to say, condemn the man,and say that he should die. What they do not realize is that they are condemning themselves, forthe prophet is really talking about their sins, not someone else’s.
Cash | 2 Now the motive of these murders differs for each story. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus says hemurdered the man, which turns out to be his father, because of this: “There were three highways coming together at a place I passed; and there a herald came toward me, and a chariot. Drawn by horses, with a man such as you describe seated in it. The groom leading the horses forced me off the road at his lord’s command; but as this charioteer lurched over toward me I struck him in my rage. The old man saw me and brought his double goad down upon my head as I came abreast. He was paid back, and more! Swinging my club in this right hand I knocked him out of his car, and he rolled on the ground. I killed him.” (Sophocles, p. 979)Oedipus murders his father because he nearly ran him over on the highway. David murdersBathsheba’s husband because Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s child, and because hewanted her as his wife (BibleGateway.com 1). They both then took the widow as their wife, onlyOedipus later finds out that it is his mother. Later, once they have realized that it is their sins that the prophet talked about they bothhave consequences. In David’s case, he asks God for forgiveness, and God does forgive him, butDavid still has the consequence of losing the son that he fathered with Bathsheba. As forOedipus, he makes himself blind, and is sent out from Thebes. Oedipus is exiled, so that the godswill not curse the town of Thebes for his horrible sins. Oedipus has a couple of flaws that are his undoing. First, he is very rash, this is shownwhen he accuses his brother-in-law Creon of treason. It is also shown when he explains why hemurdered the man that almost ran him off the highway. Second, he is very prideful; his pridecomes from killing the sphinx. Oedipus is not the only character in this story that has a majorflaw, which is their undoing. Oedipus’ wife, Locaste, seems to deny the truth. She hides in herignorance, so she will not have to deal with the fact that she has married and had kids with her
Cash | 3own son. Later, once she can not deny the truth any longer, she kills herself. Even Oedipus’sadopted parents have a flaw. Their flaw was the fact that they did not tell Oedipus that he wasn’ttheir biological son. If they had told him this, he might not have left them. He said he left hisparents in fear of a prophecy, that he would kill his father. Then there is the towns people, theydid not care that their king was murdered. They only cared that Oedipus had killed the sphinx;they did not care about their king enough to find out who had murdered him. Lastly, the prophetTeiresias also has the flaw in the sense that he did not want to tell Oedipus why Thebes will comeon hard times. He seems at first too afraid to anger Oedipus, but later when Oedipus starts to saythat Teiresias is crazy, and then in his anger he tells Oedipus his prophecy. Oedipus Rex, if looked at through a biblical lens, seems to be a different version of Davidwhen the prophet Nathan confronts David about Bathsheba. Part of the difference is a culturaldifference, in the sense that the Greeks believe in fate, where as in the story of David it was byhis own free will that he sinned. Lastly, the characters in this story have a flaw that is theirundoing. Their flaws seem to be shown in a way as if teaching the audience.
Cash | 4Works Cited BibleGateway.com. n.d. 16 February 2012 <http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/? search=2%20Samuel+11&version=NIV>. BibleGateway.com. n.d. 16 February 2012 <http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2012%20&ersion=NI>. Sophocles. "Oedipus Rex." DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Approaches to Fictioin, Poetry, and Drama. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. 959-998.