From Odeipus Tyrannus, what is one specific thing we are meant to learn?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is not but one thing to be learned from the drama of Oedipus.  There are many truths to be learned from his narrative.  I would think one of the most important elements to learn is that complexity marks human consciousness.  Oedipus believes that there are simple and direct answers to everything.  The plague and suffering has hit his people?  Simple:  He will "fix" everything.  Tiresias says something to his disliking?  Simple:  He will "banish" him.  There is an oracle saying something ominous?  Simple:  Oedipius' autonomy and free will can overcome it.  In the end, this is what the play teaches us in that there are no simple answers to the fundamental questions of human consciousness.  Individuals must wade through complex waters and reflect in order to find whatever an appropriate answer might be.  In the world of questions such as, "Who am I?"  or "Why is there suffering?" or "What shall I do?" one cannot hope to find simple and rash answers.  There is only obscurity.  When Oedipus sees the results of his desire for simplicity in the form of his dead wife/ mother, it is clear that he understands this.  This is why his blinding is the ultimate response to the simplicity he has displayed.  The ending of the narrative is one where blindness and obscurity will always accompany him.

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