Oedipus the King


Oedipus worries that he will assassinate his father as the prophecy foretold. But the shepherd from Corinth informs him that Polybus has passed away. Both the populace and Oedipus himself claim that Polybus is Oedipus' parent. Oedipus is reassured by Jocasta that the event he had feared his entire life has past and he no longer needs to be concerned. Oedipus, however, believes that destiny has not yet changed since it foresaw him marrying his mother. He chooses not to bring the Shepherd and the Corinth back for his crowning as a result. He takes this action out of concern that the prophecy's second part will come to pass. The messenger reveals to Oedipus that Polybus is not his birth father to reassure him the prophecy will not come true. The Corinth continues to tell him about his upbringing: how the shepherd raised him after Laius’s servants had abandoned him. At this point, the story rises Oedipus’s curiosity about his parents. He asks who knows of the shepherd – all answers are unanimous – the shepherd’s sent for (Sophocles 56).

Jocasta's Realization

Jocasta then realizes the identity of Oedipus and that he is her son. She sees the prophecy is both real and fulfilled. She tries to stop the king from his investigation, but her work is futile. He is eager to know the truth for the sake of the prophecy which he fears.

Alternative Outcome

After Jocasta realizes that Oedipus is her son, she commits suicide. An alternative result of the scene can be Jocasta finding out Oedipus is her son and Oedipus never finding out about that. One can identify that Jocasta already killed herself because of the unfolding events. Under this new circumstance, they could launch an investigation about the reason she killed herself. The advisers of the king may point out many people or the events that might be the cause for the Queen’s suicide. Conversely, the king would never believe that his mother killed herself without any valid reason. Some other individuals in the palace could be accused and lie that she killed herself. Then, they will be executed for the murder they did not commit because the real reason for her death never became known.

Oedipus's Fate

With the news, Oedipus gouges his eyes and becomes blind. He also wanders off to a town outside Athens with the help of his daughter Antigone. During his absence, his sons share power yearly. However, if Oedipus had never known about Jocasta being her mother, she would have been still ruling the kingdom. A possible bonus to this ending might be the death of the Oracle causing Oedipus to feel as if the Oracle lied. The king could continue to live in confusion and doubt, and years of denial. The prophecy weighing him down over time as the prediction is still a possibility. In addition, Oedipus would not be able to rule the kingdom correctly because of his paranoia. Jocasta’s death would also be a real source of pain for him. With his weakening power because of his fears, the sons would take over the kingdom. Knowing the gullible Oedipus’s sons – one might murder the other, so they alone could rule forever. In the end, Thebes would inherit a mad king and descend toward the inevitable destruction that will result in the loss of thousands of lives.

The Daughters' Role

Antigone and Ismene help to care for their father after the loss of their mother. When Oedipus becomes blind, Antigone helps him. Ismene is away at first with her brothers before joining her sister and father later. In a different outcome, the two daughters of Oedipus would have a better life. Antigone who went to live with her father outside Athens would still be in the kingdom. One can identify Antigone as the only sibling that wants the best for Thebes. Despite her father’s weakening grip on the throne and downfall, Antigone would make a significant contribution to the state of the kingdom. Ismene would not make a difference. She was more keen on ruling the empire and helping her father than Antigone.

The Kingdom's Fate

In conclusion, with Oedipus being depressed about the death of his wife, the kingdom would suffer. Both his sons’ lust for power and Oedipus’s pain of losing Jocasta would have weakened his rule. The result would be his death at the hands of his sons. In this case, the kingdom will be reigned by two power-hungry people. It is likely that one would eventually kill the other leaving the nation with a mad king. Furthermore, any challenges to the new power will experience punishment or death. A different outcome other than the original would be a disaster for the kingdom regarding lives lost. Both outcomes will not benefit the kingdom at all. The first outcome resulted in the king being shunned by his people. In the second outcome, the king will eventually be overthrown by his sons. As such, both options are still detrimental to the people and Oedipus himself as well as her daughters.

Works Cited

Mays, Kelly J. “Tragedy and Comedy.” The Norton Introduction to Literature, 12th ed., W.W. Norton & Co., 2017, pp. 1526–1565.

Sophocles, E.A. Oedipus the King. Findaway World LLC, 2009.

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