Oedipus the King is a story that considered one of the most tragic. A play created by Sophocles portrayed a very horrible life story of Oedipus who really does not know his real identity. We understand that King Oedipus was afraid as well as his father, King Laius, of the Oracle of Delphi’s prophecy: to kill his own father and marry his mother in whom they will produce siblings. The mythology portrayed a tragic story; a story that brought King Oedipus’ realization of his identity into a horrible outcome of the story. We argue that the two Greek thought, know thyself and nothing too much have a big role in discovering King Oedipus’ discovery of his identity, hence being too much eager to know his own track and background that brought their fate upon them.
The Tragic Quest of Oedipus
In this mythology, King Oedipus’ tragedy started when a prophecy of Delphic Apollo pronounced. Oedipus father, King Laius was afraid of the said prophecy saying that he and his wife, Queen Iocasta will have a son whom will grow up to kill his father and marry his mother later on. As Laius wanted to thwart the prophecy, he pierced his son’s feet and took the child on the Mount Cithaeron to be abandoned.
As the slave was felt pity towards the child, he then gave the baby boy to Corinth’s royalty, Polibus and Merope. Years have passed and the grown up Oedipus became bothered after a casual argument along with his friends, calling him a fake son. As for the thought know thyself, Oedipus started to wonder about the truth.
The Greek thought know thyself made Oedipus ask the Oracle of Delphi about the reality. The approach that Oedipus made to Oracle of Delphi was an act of discovery without realizing that it was the first stage of the oracle’s percept. If we are to analyze the stages of the story, the death of King Laius was the start of the prophecy’s fulfillment. Since Oedipus did not know anything about his past, he let the old man’s death be buried in his memory and again, without knowing that the old man was his king father. The worse part of Oedipus’ tragic quest started to form when he unknowingly married Laius’ widow, Queen Iocasta, his mother.
As the new king of Thebes, the wise King Oedipus wants to know the reason behind his kingdom’s plague. He asked the oracle and received the answer that the Gods are angry because justice was not yet served to the old king’s death. The thought nothing too much was then exercised when Oedipus extensively searched for the king’s perpetrator. Towards the end of the quest, he then found out that the person responsible for the old king’s death is non-other than himself, along with his realization that answers his question about his true identity. He then realized that the prophecy that the Oracle of Delphi was fulfilled.
The two Greek though knowing thyself and nothing too much were the themes that can be noticed within Oedipus’ tragic quest. Knowing thyself was behind the reason of his skeptical approach towards his identity. While he is in process of knowing his true self, his act of being engaged in extensive investigation to know the truth fulfilled the thought nothing too much. So as for the most authoritative and prestigious oracle among Greeks; the Oracle of Delphi, its prophecy has been also been fulfilled covering the two Greek thoughts: knowing thyself and nothing too much.
oedip-story.html. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://mason.gmu.edu/~oarans/oedip-story.html