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The Change in Oedipus

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The play of Oedipus began with an energetic, healthy, and wealthy man who was a famous king of Thebes. He was a man with a high strength of mind and courageous. He was a hero and a man of people for the pleasurable things that he did for them. This made him boastful, he could be heard declaring loudly that all knew him and the world too for his fame. At the start, his emotional and psychological state is stable. He is happy because of the honor, and respect he receives for his will power. Oedipus was an adopted child of Polybus the King of Corinth, and his wife Queen Merope, a fact that he did not know.

As a grown-up man, someone told him that he was not Polybus’s real son. This triggered a state of mental and emotional instability. This fact makes him to undergo a state of repression as he thinks about his identity and physical appearance (the cause of the clubfeet).Physically, he is a man of strength, handsome, and fully sighted but he has a bodily defect. He has clubfeet (swollen feet), a defect he got when his real father, Laius, the King of Thebes, hanged him to die. This was after the gods’ prophesized that Oedipus would kill Laius, and marry Queen Jocaste (Oedipus’ real mother). Oedipus’s psychological state is agitated by this fact and he is very anxious. He moves from Corinth and goes to Thebes to search for the truth. He is mentally disturbed and feels that he has to know his identity and the reason for his adoption. The prophecy that a man would marry his mother after killing his father gave him overwhelming fear that he runs away from Corinth. On his way to Thebes, he meets a man and because he is irritated, they argue on who should pave way for the other. This act further irritates the psychologically disturbed Oedipus. He relieves his highly charged emotions by killing the man who happens to be Laius, his father.

In Thebes, he is desperate to find the truth. The city was in a distressed state. The Sphinx, a monster was killing the people of Thebes after they failed to answer a riddle. He answered the riddle and the monster killed itself. Oedipus got the honor of the people who crowned him the King of Thebes and consequently married the widow of the dead king, Jocaste. At this level, his emotions are at a latent stage. He calms his emotions and temporarily abandons the search for his identity. He is happy as a king and is emotionally satisfied. They give birth to four children; two sons, and two daughters.

After the death of Polybus, a messenger comes from Corinth to request Oedipus to take the place of Polybus. Oedipus reveals what the oracles had told him and he feels relive that he had not killed Polybus. At this stage, the psychological and emotional state of Oedipus is unstable. Jocasta told him that his husband was killed by a stranger and not by his own son. Oedipus notices that it was he, who had murdered his father and married his mother. His clubfeet make Jocaste realizes that she has committed incest by marrying her own blood. She kills herself due to shame and denial. On the same note, Oedipus is mentally unstable, angry with the issue, and undecided on what to do. He takes a pin from Jocaste’s dress, pokes his eyes, and blinds himself. This act indicates marks the peak of insanity, and emotional instability of Oedipus.

Oedipus and his two daughters are forced to go into exile by the Thebans. They seek refuge in Athens. It is clear that before his death in Athens, he psychologically goes into a state of denial and. Like a dying man, he isolates himself (both from the physical and mental state) aware of imminent death. Just before he died, the divided people of Thebes wanted him to return to Thebes, a fact that made Oedipus to start bargaining. He thinks of his destiny and the gains the Thebans will get from his return. These results into his mental depression die finally he accepts the universal fate of every mortal man-Death. 

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