Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

Sight Through Blindness: Reason and Irrationality in Oedipus

Until the very end of Oedipus the King, Oedipus retains his steadfast belief in the absolute efficacy of reason and logic, basing all decisions and actions solely on these golden principles. However, as the plot runs its course, the reader can observe that this obdurate mindset only goes so far. Rather than saving Oedipus, the principles deteriorate and eventually become useless in the face of the irrationality of life.

From the beginning, Oedipus is portrayed as the epitome of a dutiful king, relying on logic for his decisions. For example, when the plague strikes the city, he says, "not one is as sick as I...my spirit groans for the city, for myself, for you" (5). Yet rather than simply despair, Oedipus employs reason tc to anticipate the people's cry for relief: He has already sent Creon to the oracle of Delphi to ascertain the reason for the plague. At this point, Oedipus is very confident in his ability to help the people solve this problem, proudly reassuring them, "...I have come myself to hear you--I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name" (4). After all, he has already once vanquished another seemingly irresolvable problem, the Sphinx.

Therefore, when Creon returns from the oracle, Oedipus...

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