Moratlity in Sophocles: Odeipus Rex

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Sophocles ingeniously used the idea of fate in his play Oedipus Rex in such a way that Oedipus was without a doubt guilty of committing both patricide and incest but yet at the same time making sure he was clear of all responsibility for his actions with fate as the key stone for this effect. Many people have argued whether or not Oedipus is guilty of these crimes since he is assumed not to have any knowledge of who his real mother and father were or the crimes he was committing but that fact still stands that he did do the crime. Although Sophocles portrayed Oedipus as guilty of the crime of incest he used ignorance in order to divert the responsibility of the crime away from him. When the question of Oedipus’ responsibility for the murder of his father is brought to light there are strong arguments for both guilty and not guilty but when we look at the idea of fate controlling Oedipus it is clear that he is not responsible. Sophocles creates parallels between Oedipus and his father Laius by creating a fear of fate in both men driving them to do what they otherwise would never have done. This drive to run from fate is what will ultimately cause Oedipus to commit the crimes which he would later punish himself for. In the simplest conviction having done the crime automatically means you are guilty of it, if so then there is no other conclusion to Oedipus’ innocence. When we look at the definition of guilt it clearly states that guilt is the fact of having committed or taken part in a crime against law, both moral and judicial. If by this definition we look at the murder of Laius there is clear support to say Oedipus is guilty since he alone committed killed Laius and even confessed to the murder “In this way I would not have come to shed my father's blood, or been known among men as the husband of the woman from whom I was born.” (Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, 1360). The

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