In Oedipus the King, what good qualities does Oedipus have?

1 Answer | Add Yours

lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Like many great kings, Oedipus has many good qualities. First, he learns of the prophecy that he is to grow up and kill his father and marry his mother. Not knowing that he is adopted, Oedipus leaves his home and family in order to prevent the prophecy from manifesting itself true. No doubt, he is saddened by the fact of leaving his homeland, but he does so to protect his parents. He proves he is unselfish by leaving. He proves he cares about others more than himself.

Sadly enough, in all his efforts to prevent the horrificĀ homicideĀ of his own dear father, Oedipus runs directly into his terrible destiny. Unknowingly, he murders his father and marries his mother. Again, unknowingly, he seeks out the murderer of King Laius, his father, in order to rid the land of the plague from the gods. Oedipus displays a genuine, deeply concerned attitude. Truly, Oedipus cares for his new kingdom and its people. He meets directly with his subjects and promises to kill the man who has caused the plague. Oedipus deeply cares about others.

Lastly, not knowing that he himself is the murderer, Oedipus searches the land for King Laius' killer. When learning that he himself is the murderer of his own father, Oedipus tragically takes his own eyesight through blinding himself. He cannot bear to look upon himself. Although his horrible fate comes to pass, Oedipus had tried in every way to prevent it. Nonetheless, Oedipus accepts total responsibility for the tragedy that occurs in his life. He doesn't blame anyone but himself. Again, this is a great quality. He did all that he could do to benefits others. The real tragedy is that so great a man had to suffer for crimes he never meant to commit.

Overall, the reader has no ill will toward Oedipus. The reader only has pity for such a horrible outcome in his life. After reading the Oedipus tragedy, the reader views the character of Oedipus as a good man who could not escape a terrible prophecy. Due to Oedipus' honest character, the reader never questions the integrity if Oedipus. The reader is left with the impression of a great man who greatly suffered despite his good intentions.

We’ve answered 318,982 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question