Was Oedipus a good father in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex?

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Oedipus' two daughters are very briefly in the play Oedipus Rex, though they do not speak and only appear as crying, young girls; however, we can see that Oedipus does care for his children, particularly his two daughters Antigone and Ismene. When Oedipus realizes the truth of the circumstances surrounding his birth, he blinds himself and exiles himself from Thebes. He asks his uncle, Creon, to see to several things for him, including ensuring that Jocasta has a proper burial.

OEDIPUS: This destiny of mine, let it go where it may, but for my children, Creon—don’t worry over my sons; they are men, so that they will never lack a livelihood, wherever they may be. But, for my poor little girls, they’ve not so much as eaten a meal apart from me; but whatever I touched, those two always had a share in all of it. Worry over them, and most of all I beg you, let me touch them with my hands and mourn our woes. Please, my lord! Please, o truly noble man, could my hands touch them, I’d think I held them as I did when I could see. [Servants lead onstage the two girls.] What’s this now? By the gods, do I somehow hear my two dear girls crying? Has Creon pitied me and sent to me the dearest of my offspring? Is it true?

CREON: You are, for I am the one who prepared these things, knowing the joy they have long brought you.

Oedipus tells Creon not to worry about his sons, who are grown men, because they will always be able to take care of themselves. He tells Creon that his daughters have never even eaten a meal without their father and that anything he had, he always shared with his daughters. He begs Creon to allow him to touch his daughter's faces. He rejoices when Creon tells him that he has sent for the girls because he knows how much joy Oedipus' daughters bring him.

Oedipus then speaks to his daughters, lamenting their fate. He does not believe anyone will want to marry them and that they will be made fun of for their parentage. He begs Creon to take care of his daughters so that they are not unwed and beggars. He asks his daughters to pray with him that they have a better life than he has had.

Based on this brief section of Oedipus Rex, it is my opinion that Oedipus was a good father to his children and doted on his daughters, especially.

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The problem with assessing Oedipus' role as a father in Sophocles' Antigone and Oedipus Rex is that the children are not characters in the first play and the father is dead in the second. Ismene, in Antigone, seems to blame Oedipus for his persistence in searching out the source of pollution in Thebes but the mention is brief and in passing:

ISMENE: Ah me! think, sister, how our father perished, amid hate and scorn, when sins bared by his own search had moved him to strike both eyes with self-blinding hand; ...

Oedipus' relationship with his children is portrayed in more depth in Oedipus at Colonus, where he is seen as invoking a curse on both Polynices and Eteocles. Antigone acts as a prop to her father and Ismene tries to function as a peace-maker. Oedipus himself seems more concerned with large scale religious and political issues than with his children as individuals. In many ways, Oedipus' abdication of the position of fatherhood with respect to his sons can be blamed for the the fratricidal war.

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