Analyze the significance of this quote from Oedipus Rex: "My poor children, what you desire is known and not unknown to me, for I see well that everyone is sick and being sick, still not one of you is as sick as I am."
I think that one of the most significant elements of Oedipus' characterization. Oedipus is made clear to how the plague and sickness is suffocating his people in Thebes. Oedipus' reference to them as "his children" helps to illuminate how much of a caring leader he actually is. Oedipus is an honorable leader who really does wish the best for his people. It is here where the quote signifies much. Spoken in the earliest portion of the drama, Oedipus is able to clearly link his own condition with that of his people. He feels "sick" to see the sickness that his people suffer so endlessly. The statement is also significant because Oedipus is fundamentally "sick" in his own being as one in which he has killed his father and married his mother. While he does not know this yet, at his very basis, he is more "sick" than any of the citizens of Thebes. Yet, on face value, the quote shows how committed Oedipus takes his position of leadership. He does not distance himself from the pains of the body politic. He suffers when they suffer and it is in this vein that he sets out to find out what the truth is and how to alleviate their own pain, even if it is at the cost of his own.