Who is to blame for the misfortunates that occur in Oedipus Rex  by Sophocle:  Laius, Joscasta, Oedipus, the shepherd, fate, the gods, etc?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. One of the most important points to keep in mind about great works of literature like Oedipus Rexis that there is no one clear cut answer. So, some will say that Laius and Jocasta are to blame; they should have gotten rid of Oedipus themselves instead of giving the child to be exposed to a shepherd. However, if they went in this direction, then they would be guilty of murder! Not a great alternative. 

Some would say that the shepherd is the one to blame, because he did not go through with the "murder" of Oedipus. However, once again, his task was not an easy one. 

Still others would say that the blame should fall on Oedipus and that it was his pride or as the Greeks would say, "hubris" that caused his downfall. After all, Oedipus does come off as proud throughout the play and pretty sure of himself, to say the least. And one is also able to make the point that he drives the work with his searching. 

In the end, there is no clear answer. In my opinion, Oedipus is to blame on account of his pride, but this is only a partial answer, because it was also fated. 


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Oedipus Rex

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