What kind of ruler does Oedipus appear to be in these opening scenes?
At first, Oedipus seems to be a compassionate ruler, agreeing to hear the suppliants’ requests; he says that only a heartless ruler would be unmoved by their pleas (11-13). But he also reveals a selfish, arrogant side, telling the suppliants that although they suffer from the plague afflicting the city, they do not suffer as much as he, their ruler, does. Later on, once he is more concerned about finding the man who killed Laius and brought the plague upon Thebes, he dismisses the suppliants and their offerings entirely (142-3). However, he does so in order to attend to the very plague that they were...
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