What makes us think there is some other reason for these events (even is we already know that Oedipus himself performed the crime)?In Oedipus Rex, as readers or playgoers, we would not question the...

What makes us think there is some other reason for these events (even is we already know that Oedipus himself performed the crime)?

In Oedipus Rex, as readers or playgoers, we would not question the sincerity of Oedipus's extended speech if we didn't already suspect that someone other than a cold-blooded murderer is responsible for the death of Laius and the state of Thebes.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I find this question about Oedipus confusing.  Itimplies the audience assumes there is some other cause for the tragedies (curse) which have fallen on Thebes, and it implies the audience questions Oedipus's sincerity as he calls down punishment on whoever brought this curse down on the city (which is the "extended speech" to which you refer, I assume).   It doesn't seem to me the audience can think anything but that Oedipus is sincere.  He is a prideful and arrogant man, it's true, but he is a king who loves his people.  Oedipus sends for help from the gods even before the people ask him to do so, and he sends Creon on his own when he doesn't hear anything right away.  Now, his arrogance and "blindness" don't allow him to "see" what is becoming obvious to the audience because the idea that he is the murderer is ludicrous to him. That's a flaw in his personality, for sure; but I see no evidence in the text which suggests Oedipus is not sincere when he lists the punishments for the murderer, anyone who housed the murder, or anyone who knew about the murderer.  He's arrogant, but he's also ignorant of his own role in this devastation.  It's hard to doubt his sincerity when, after he discovers the horrifying truth, he immediately blinds himself in such a violent way and requests to be banished as one unworthy to live.  Perhaps I misread the question, but I see no reason why we should doubt Oedipus's sincerity.  His ability to discern truth, yes; his sincerity, no. 

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Oedipus Rex

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