What do you make of Oedipus as a leader?

What do you make of Oedipus as a leader? In a posting of approximately 250 words, use specific detail from the play and include at least two quotations, “properly formatted” (Sophocles 4).  You may write this posting somewhat informally; however, you must still use formal language and proper spelling/grammar.  Deadline for the post is Thursday, October 6th at 6 p.m.  Your post is worth a mark out of /15. NOTE:  Remember that even if other people have posted what you want to say, you still contribute to the conversation by noting what they have said, perhaps agreeing (or disagreeing) and adding your own personal “take.”  Enjoy the conversation.

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~ by Ms. Cox on September 27, 2011.

27 Responses to “What do you make of Oedipus as a leader?”

  1. Oedipus is a great leader. Before the time period in which the play began, Oedipus had already ruled Thebes for 15 years. He led the country with success and prosperity. Most of the citizens liked him and looked up to him. Any person in a position of power will become partially cocky. Oedipus says that he is “Known far and wide by name” (Sophocles 1). As a person, Oedipus may not be a perfect but as a leader, he does his job well. He cares about the land he rules and its’ inhabitants. Sophocles illustrates this to his audience when Oedipus says “but my heart at once/Groans for the city, and for myself, and you” (Sophocles 3). Much later in the play, I believe that Sophocles shows his audience that Oedipus is a man of action. This is illustrated when Oedipus is determined to find out who Laius’ killer is. He threatens the entire Theban society with death and exile. In my opinion, a good leader needs to be aggressive to invoke a little bit of fear into his/her people. That way, their people will be less willing to break the law. Strength is another important quality in a leader. Sophocles shows that Oedipus is strong at the end of the play when Oedipus chooses not to kill himself. He instead blinds himself so he doesn’t have to look upon the world. Oedipus decides to live on and fight through the eternal pain that lives inside of him. Society shouldn’t pity the dead but instead pity the living, especially those who live without love and friendship.

  2. As a leader, Oedipus would get a grade of a B, maybe a B-. What makes him a good leader is, primarily, his ego. He is so self assure, at the beginning at least, that he believes that he can fix everything in Thebes. One example of him stroking his ego for a lack of a better way of saying it is when he says his first lines in the play, with quotations like “Children, you modern brood of Cadmus old” and “Known far and wide by name” (Sophocles 1). He does come off as an hothead to, but that can mean that he means business as king, giving him the attitude to get things done right the first time. When he consults his brother on his accusations, he doesn’t sugar coat them. He’s very straightforward uttering “ When he who plots against me in the dark comes swiftly” (Sophocles 22).

  3. After fifteen years as the leader of Thebes; Oedipus truly proved himself to be an outstanding and known leader. He was always fair and honest; “Great Oedipus, my country’s governor” (Sophocles 1). Oedipus never lied about what he knew he was always open with his people allowing them to know about every issue they had. This next quotation shows how Oedipus does tell all that he knows and sympathizes as well:
    “Ah my poor children, what you come to seek

    Is known already—not unknown to me

    You are all sick, I know it; and in your sickness

    There is not one of you so sick as I.” (Sophocles 3)

    Oedipus was respected to be a great leader for this very reason. Oedipus from the very start was a natural leader solving the riddle of the Sphinx; he always made it his personal mission to solve the riddles and unanswered questions. At the culmination of his reign; Oedipus had a horrible downfall and tragic peripeteia. Oedipus had his change of fortune because he is a great leader always trying to solve problems; i.e Lauis’ killer. Even when Oedipus discover he is the killer of Lauis and his son; he does the noble thing as he promised to his people and expels from Thebes. Oedipus is a man of his word; any king would have great pride in themselves, but is takes a true leader to give away his position as king and to vanish; leaving behind his legacy. As a result of his awful discoveries; he is compelled to leave as he is a true leader and lives by his word. “Out of his country cast me with all speed/ where I may pass without accost of men” (Sophocles 50). This quotation is important as it shows Oedipus being a leader without even knowing so making that kind of harsh decision for himself will affect him forever. Sophocles portrayed great characteristics of a leader in Oedipus; Sophocles emphasized a true leader in Oedipus with actions and words. Throughout the play; Oedipus remained true and strong in his position as leader. He fought everyone and questioned everything until he found the truth behind Lauis’ death. As a leader one must take control of any situation and be determined. In being a leader inner strength is an important characteristic. Oedipus showed total inner strength when making the decision to let himself live in shame and exile without taking his own life. Fate set his fortune and Oedipus is committed to let fate decide his death.

  4. I believe Oedipus is a great leader. He is in constant pursuit of the truth, in order to solve the problems of Thebes. He says at first “hard-hearted must I be/ did I not pity such petitioners” (Sophocles 1), meaning he would be a crappy leader, and frankly, a jerk if he were to not do what it takes to solve the Thebans’ problems. He then seeks the truth so he can resolve everything that is going on. Once he finds out that Laius’ murderer needs to be expelled for the pestilence to go away, he pursues the truth with everything he’s got. He constantly searches to find out who Laius’ murderer is. He continues to seek the truth in spite of having multiple people not wanting him to know. Even when his own wife tells him to stop looking for the answers, he tells her to shut up, saying “Nay, it cannot be/ That having such a clue I should refuse/ To solve the mystery of my parentage!” (Sophocles 38). No matter what anyone tells him, he continues to attempt to solve the problems of his kingdom. He knows his people are going through tough times, and he acknowledges that a good leader should solve these problems, and tries to be the best leader he can possibly be. Until he discovers the truth, there isn’t a single point in the story where he does not look for the truth. In the end, he’s a great leader, caring about and doing the best he can for the people of his kingdom.

  5. While Oedipus might not have been the best king that Thebes ever had, he certainly was a good leader. His perseverance and caution undoubtedly served him well during his reign as king, though very little evidence in the play exists to tell us so. For example, Oedipus describes himself as one who “often came by many ways through labyrinths of care; And the one remedy that I could find by careful seeking – I supplied it.” (Sophocles 4). While Oedipus may be egotistical and full of hubris, he is certainly not an idiot. In his speech he is referencing other occasions that he has helped Thebes in times of distress, including saving them from the Sphinx. After all, if Oedipus had not dealt with the other crises but instead enjoyed his position as king, would the Thebans have gone to him for help? Or importantly, would he have made it his personal mission to solve King Laius’s murder? During the play Oedipus demonstrates just why the citizens trust him. As the play progresses Oedipus rapidly realizes that he could have been the murderer of Laius. If Oedipus did find proof that he was the murderer of Laius, then he would have been exiled from Thebes, leaving his family and loved ones behind. Yet he continues his investigation. When Oedipus learns that Polybus is not his true father, he declares that “I shall not hesitate, low though it might be, to trace the source of me” (Sophocles 38) meaning that he’ll do his utmost to discover his parentage, whatever it might be. In the same episode Jocasta realizes that Oedipus is her son. While Oedipus will not discover his lineage until the next episode, he is undoubtedly smart enough to piece together the information from earlier in the play. He knew that Jocasta and Laius had a child which they abandoned in the wilderness. Oedipus also knows that tying an infant’s ankles were the traditional way of binding an infant before abandoning it. He also saw Jocasta’s reaction when he asked her about the Old Man. Oedipus would have undoubtedly known that the information he was about to recover from the Old Man could not have been good, or else why would Jocasta dodge his question? Yet Oedipus still continued his investigate, even when all the facts seemed to turn against him.

  6. As tricky as it is to make a call on a man’s leadership abilities based on only a sliver of his life, Oedipus has done nothing to show me that he would make a good leader. Many praises were showered on Oedipus over the course of the tragedy but came from only three sources: Oedipus himself, People related to him, and those who have it in their best interest to suck up to the king. The one man who can’t tell a lie, Tiresias, calls him “unknowing” (Sophocles 12), and a “fool” (Sophocles 14). Speaking of which, Oedipus handling of Tiresias and his refusal to talk is the closest we see to him actually handling a problem head on, and he responds by accusing him of conspiracy and making fun of his lack of vision. A real leader should be able to problem solve in a mature fashion. Maturity is definitely not Oedipus’ strong suit, as until his parent troubles are fully revealed, he is not able to take responsibility for anything. He blames Tiresias’ chilling prophecy on Creon, his own step brother, and then assumes that “he plots against me in the dark” (Sophocles 22), all because he can not come to grips with the truth. HE in fact routinely hides from the truth, even flat out telling Creon that “I Shall not be found a murderer” (Sophocles 21), forgetting or carefully omitting events fifteen years prior. Oedipus might be a great leader, but his hot-headed temper, inability to accept the truth, and ignorance of his own past lead me to believe Tiresias is not the leader he is cracked up to be.

  7. Oedipus does a lot of interesting things in this play. He kills a king, saves a country from a sphinx, rules a country for 15 years, finds out he married his mother, and stabs out his eyes. Oedipus however, is a good leader because of some of these things. He is a good leader because he is a brave man, he is a caring man, and he is an honest man. Oedipus is a good leader because he is brave. He was not afraid to take on the sphinx’s riddle, he was not afraid to rule a country, and he was brave enough to stab out his own eyes. Oedipus is also a good leader because he is a caring man. Oedipus cares about his country; he listens to all of his people in the court and listens to their problems. He also cares about his daughters when he is exiled he wants his brother/uncle to take care of them and make sure that they live a nice life. Oedipus is also a very honest man and this makes him a great leader. He is honest in his search to find out who killed the king, he admitted to having killed someone that could have possibly been the king. He also says that “He gained admittance to my hearth, I pray/ the curse I laid on others fall on me” (Sophocles 10). Oedipus is an honest man here again because he is saying that if he was the one to kill the king, then he would be punished as if he were anyone else. Oedipus is a good leader because he is brave, caring, and honest.

  8. Oedipus is one of those unfortunate souls fallen victim to the deceit and lies of the oracles. He was an admirable leader. The following quote describes about one of his many feats:

    “Whose coming to our Cadmean town released / The toll we paid, of a hard Sorceress, / And that, without instruction or advice / Of our imparting; but of Heaven it came / thou art named, and known, out life’s establisher” (Sophocles 2).

    According to this quote and the entire soliloquy whence it came from, Oedipus is praised for having solved the Sphinx’s riddle, therefore releasing the city from harm. After that endeavour, he was proclaimed by the citizens to be king for being so wise and clever and has therefore ruled wisely for 15 years.

    Despite all of his mishaps throughout the course of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is still not your usual person in tragedies. For starters, he kept pursuing the truth to what is causing the pestilence in his city, even if it meant that he was the one who was causing this. Next, when he saw Jocasta dead on the floor, instead of killing himself, he chose self-mutilation of his eyes as a sign that he saw the whole truth now and will live with it. That’s also the reason why he pleaded for exile instead of death so as he cannot effect the city with his unfortunate turn of events and to retain his honour (what ever is left).

    Oedipus… An unfortunate, yet honourable noble man.

  9. Through many examples in the book it is clear that Oedipus has proven himself to be a good leader to the people of Thebes. It was said that fifteen years of happiness and good fortune had already gone by with him as their king, so even from the start it’s easy to tell that he’s been doing a good job.  Oedipus thought very highly of himself; even though he thought himself as being even better than the gods, he still had compassion and cared about his people. “You are all sick, I know it; and in your sickness there is not one of you so sick as I– my heart at once groans for the city, and for myself, and you” (Sophocles 3). Once Oedipus realized that there was a big problem with his kingdom, he was quick to act and had already started trying to fix it. He had Creon investigate and sent for Tiresias for help. That is one of the main qualities of being a good leader: getting things done. Another good quality is being open, which he did when Tiresias and Creon asked if they could speak to him privately about the situation, where Oedipus refused and said he had nothing to hide. He wasn’t afraid to let his kingdom know what was going on, because he felt they had a right to know since the problem was affecting them. As time went on, and suspicion arose about the prophecy, Oedipus was still diligent about finding out the truth even though Jocasta was saying otherwise. This is yet another reason why Oedipus is a good leader, because even though things weren’t looking good, he still pushed for the truth. He never gave up because he knew that that was how he was going to save the kingdom. At the end of the book when he realizes that he is the problem, he isn’t afraid to exile himself from the kingdom and to live an eternity of misery instead of death, because he’s a true leader. Oedipus did everything in his power to save his kingdom, and if being exiled is what will make everything better, then he isn’t afraid to ruin his life for that. Oedipus is a very noble king and a good leader; traits that he earned, not inherited.  

  10. A leader is a person who leads or commands a group of people; in this case Thebes. Oedipus fits this description pretty well. He is extremely confident in himself and seeks the truth from when he introduced until he discovers the ugly truth that defines him. “ I deem myself the child of fortune! I shall not be shamed of her” (Sophocles 39). He is also a very intelligent man because he solved the Sphinx’s riddle, and has successfully lead for 15 years. Throughout the land, he is also well-respected and looked up to proving he must be doing something right. Oedipus also makes quick decisions and acts on impulse. This is a great quality to have in a leader because he gets things done. He is one step ahead of his enemies. “When he who plots against me in the dark comes swiftly on, I must be swift in turn” (Sophocles 23). This quality is also negative in the sense that he is quick to jump to conclusions when he hears that Creon is threatening his throne. Another unfavorable quality in Oedipus is his willingness to share information with the rest of Thebes. He tells them the of the story where he killed Laius; even though at this time the victim has not been identified as him. In conclusion, Oedipus is a pretty good leader with good intentions and confidence.

  11. When considering Oedipus as a leader, we all question if he is justifiably taking on the role of savior of Thebes, or whether he is more concerned with his own problems and outer image than the substance of his rule. A good leader is tolerant of ambiguity and remains calm, composed, and steadfast to his main purpose but with Oedipus this is not the case. He seems to completely forget about the plague or his people and internalizes every situation. From the start when he hears of King Laius’ murder his response is selfish, “for the man, / whoever it may be, / who murdered him, / Lightly might hanker to serve me the same. / I benefit myself in aiding him” (Sophocles 6). A good leader is also one who functions in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty and people look to them to find reassurance. When Oedipus is placed in these situations, only his incapability and narcissistic characteristics are portrayed. When the truth is completely discovered about his past crime and shame, he would rather resign and leave than solve his past and face his people, or rise above everyone to sustain his place like a commendable leader. Oedipus also puts himself first towards the end of the play by his reaction to what has been uncovered and the suicide of his wife/mother. Gouging out his eyes is not an action of bravery or strength as most people see it, Oedipus is rather saving himself from having to look upon the shameful gaze of his children, but he will allow them to see their father in such a distressed state, “You/ I weep for; for I cannot gaze on you;/ Knowing what is left of bitter in the life” (Sophocles 52). Once again these are actions of a selfish, unthinking man who has all the wrong characteristics that make a wise and capable leader.

  12. After reading the play Oedipus Rex it seems pretty evident that despite Oedipus’s downfall and mistakes he makes a pretty good king. Even during his rough road to finding out the truth he shows some positive qualities that make a good king. In general Oedipus seems to be well known and liked by most of the citizens of Thebes. “Oedipus, known far and wide by name” (Sophocles 1). Tiresias during his speech to convince Oedipus of his mightiness says: “Oedipus, the mightiest head among us all/ Never let us remember of thy rule that we stood once erectly, and then fell; But built this city in stability” (Oedipus 2,3). Oedipus seems to be very forward and outgoing; he wants nothing kept in the dark. He likes to be very informed about what is happening with the citizens of Thebes and he makes them know all there is about him. I think his honesty is what makes him likable the most. He is also a man of action, he wants to get things done quickly and properly which could contribute to a successful rein. Had Oedipus not sought out the truth that he was warned to stay away from he would have made a very honoured and highly respected king.

  13. Oedipus a man of many myths, was a great leader of the city of Thebes. Oedipus was a great leader for many reasons. Before becoming King, Oedipus had already defeated the sphinx and ended its tyranny over the city of Thebes. He ruled as king for 15 years where he was known around the land and admired by the citizens. To be a great leader one must be like the average citizen and Oedipus was like this. He applies the same harsh punishment of exile or death for whomever was Laius’ murderer. Oedipus states “It with my knowledge/ He should become an inmate of my dwelling/ That I may suffer all that I invoked/ On these just now” (Sophocles 10). Unknowingly doing so Oedipus exiles himself. He was a great leader because he was very upfront with the citizens, everyone knew as much as he did about himself. Oedipus never kept any secrets from his citizens and remained honest even in finding out the truth about the prophecy. Although Oedipus had a major downfall causing him to cut his eyes out and exile himself, he did a good deed for the city he once ruled. By exiling himself he broke the curse that plagued the city. It was said that the city could only have its plague wiped from the city if Lauis’ murderer were exiled, “Phoebus our Lord gives us express command/ To drive pollution, bred within this land/ Out of the country, and not cherish it/ Beyond the power of healing” (Sophocles 4). When Oedipus leaves the city he lifts the plague from it and the city is set to return to normalcy.

  14. The definition of a leader is someone who can aid and support the needs of others. To be a leader you must be helpful to his people, show bravery and have a good reputation. From reading this definition and reviewing these traits I believe Oedipus Rex was a very good leader. Even though he had a pretty heavy down fall to wards the end of his rains as king. From the moment that Oedipus first speaks, the readers find that he is a man that is very famous and is known by everyone, this is displayed in this line “ I have myself come hither, Oedipus, Known far and wide by name”(Sophpcles1). From Oedipus’ firsts line in this play he shows the trait of being helpful to his people by telling them:
    “Since ‘ tis thy privilege to speak for these,
    Say in what case ye stand; if of alarm,
    Or satisfaction with my readiness
    To afford all aid; hard-heart must I be,
    Did I not pity such petitioners”(Sophocles1).
    These lines are saying that the people should trust, that Oedipus will help them to the best of his abilities. Bravery is another major component that good leader must consist, Oedipus displays that he is extremely brave when he is pursuing the truth of where he actually came from and what has happened. Even though in the end Oedipus’ life is destroyed, through the time he was king he was a magnificent leader who cared for his people.

  15. I think that Oedipus is a great leader, as king, in Oedipus Rex. Not only is Oedipus intelligent and quick, but also he is fair in his rulings. Oedipus shows us many qualities of a great leader. By answering the Sphinx’s riddle correctly, he was appointed as king of Thebes. His wit is one characteristic that I believe is an asset to his kingship. His confidence is evident throughout the play. As he leads his country through a terrible plague, he does not show weakness or fear. Rather, he encourages that his court to be a part of the conversations and does not hide anything. In the city of Thebes, the livestock is dying, the harvest is unsuccessful and the women are dying during childbirth. The priest says to Oedipus, “Stricken in the budding harvest of her soil/ Stricken in her pastured herds, and barren travail of women” (Sophocles 2). Little does Oedipus know that his prophecy is the reason behind the city’s terror. Even though he is unaware that he is at fault, Oedipus states that the man who killed his father and is sleeping with his mother shall be exiled or killed, including his own family. Oedipus states, “if with my knowledge/ He should become an inmate of my dwelling/That I may suffer all that I invoke/On these just now (Sophocles 10). I believe that Oedipus is a very successful leader to the city of Thebes, even though he has a tragic downfall. Even in times of defeat and plague, he managed to be fair among his people and let the prophecy decide his own fate.

    -From Carly Glantz

  16. Oedipus is a very strong leader. Upon arriving in Thebes, he speaks of his readiness to help with the pestilence. “Or satisfaction with my readiness / To afford all aid” (Sophocles 1). While Oedipus may not be the best person, he is one of the greatest leaders. He ruled Thebes for years without experiencing many problems, and when he does hear of an issue, he is quick to react to fix the problem. Oedipus also sympathizes with the inhabitants of Thebes. He may be king, but he wants to understand the hardships of the citizens he is ruling over. “For in your case his own particular pain / Comes to each singly; but my heart at once / Groans for the city, and for myself, and you.” (Sophocles 3) Another good trait of Oedipus is his tenacity in finding the truth. When hearing of the murder of Laius and the fact that the murderer had not been found, Oedipus is outraged and instead of seeking revenge, he simply asks for the truth without threatening death, only exile. “Whichever of you knows the man, by whom / Laius the son of Labdacus was slain, / Even if he is afraid, seeing he himself / Suppressed the facts that made against himself, / I bid that man shew the whole truth to me” (Sophocles 9). Although Oedipus demonstrated some bad moral decisions, he was a phenomenal leader who did only what was best for his people.

  17. Oedipus is a good leader for numerous reasons. He is fair, courageous and hotheaded. All of these traits are important for a leader to rule the land effectively and be respected. He is fair when he says “Evil and evil, he may pine and die./ And for myself I pray if with my knowledge/ He should become an inmate of my dwelling,” (Sophocles 10). He believes that everyone should have the same punishment, and powerful people should not be favored. Oedipus shows he is brave because he wants to know the truth of his parentage, no matter how disappointing it may be. He says “Breakout what will, I shall not hesitate,/Low though it be, to trace the source of me.” (Sophocles 38). This quotation shows that Oedipus thinks he is brave enough to know the truth. He thinks he can handle the truth and does not let anyone stand in the way of him finding out. Another example of his courage was when Oedipus defeated the sphinx. He gained the respect of nobles and commoners alike, and became king. Being hotheaded and stubborn can also be a good trait in a leader. Oedipus is stubborn and that stops other nobles or court members from challenging him, because they know he will win in the end. Even though Oedipus has so much power, he still knows what is going on in his kingdom, and that is one of the most important things of all. He understands what the people are going through and does everything he can to fix the problem. For all of these reasons Oedipus is an effective leader, and deserves to be king.

  18. Oedipus, the protagonist in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, may seem to have many leadership qualities throughout the first few scenes. He displays confidence, control, trust and quick wit throughout his dramatic speeches with the priest; however, Oedipus’ display of leadership quickly fades. When Tiresias enters the stage, refusing to tell what he knows, Oedipus is quick to judge him and accuse him of treason and conspiring with Creon: “What, do you know, and will not speak? Your mind/ Is to betray us, and destroy the city?” (Sophocles 12). A leader should not wrongfully accuse his citizens of crimes they did not commit, especially when he has committed an even greater one himself. Oedipus is blind to the truth and self-knowledge, and is extremely wrong for accusing Creon of killing Laius. This entire scenario creates irony in the play; Oedipus has his sight but is ignorant to the truth, while Tiresias is blind but is aware of Oedipus’ truth. The fact that Oedipus is so unaware of how he killed his father and married his mother does not make him fit to be a king. A king should not be committing such crimes, let alone being so unaware of what he has done wrong. He also speaks very highly of himself in the opening scenes, telling the court that he will remove the plague from Thebes and exile the murderer of Laius: To all you Cadmeans I thus proclaim;/ Whichever of you knows the man, by whom/ Laius the son of Labdacus was slain . . . For he shall suffer no disparagement,/ Except to quit the land, unscathed” (Sophocles 9). Oedipus shows leadership by promising to protect his kingdom, but cannot truly follow through with his promise. When Oedipus finally discovers his truth, he exiles himself, which causes Thebes to lose their leader and suffer once again. Oedipus possesses many negative qualities that devalue his quality of leadership.

  19. Through his actions and characteristics, Oedipus Rex has proven himself to be a good leader for the people of Thebes. Oedipus demonstrates various qualities which are a staple for any good leader. Foremost, he is respected. Respect is required for any person of higher authority. With the lack of respect comes the almost inevitable unwillingness of those you lead. This unwillingness from peers or former supporters could lead to anarchy within a nation. Thus, respect is mandatory for a leader no matter where or when. Additionally, Oedipus has shown to be intelligent and quick witted. This is apparent through his sense of logic and understanding when faced with the task to solve the riddle of the Sphinx; an undertaking no one else was able to perform. If a leader is not an intellectual and does not have understanding, chances are they will not be resourceful enough to overcome tasks as a leader. Moreover, they may not have the ability to make the tough decisions which leaders are often forced to make. However, the quality which Oedipus possesses that makes him the great leader that he is has to be his initiative. No matter what a leaders’ cause or goal is they will get nothing done if they do not have the initiative. “On these accounts, I, as for my own father, will fight this fight, and follow out every clue, seeking to seize the author of his murder” (Sophocles 10). Oedipus demonstrates this ability exceedingly well as he claims that he will go to the same lengths to find Laius’ killer as if Laius was his own father. All irony aside, this statement proves that Oedipus is a leader who will work to get things done. Furthermore, Oedipus continues his pursuit of the murderer despite Jocasta’s best attempts to stop him. “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, don’t seek it! I am sick and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38). Although faced with the threat of his own life being in jeopardy, Oedipus stops at nothing in order to find the killer and exile him in order to rid Thebes of the plague and protect his people. Thus, Oedipus is the kind of model leader that everyone should desire; the leader that will stop at nothing in order to safeguard his people.

    – Jon Bolvari

  20. Oedipus might have been a well respected King of Thebes that ruled the country for fifth teen years and who saves his country from a sphinx. That may make him a good king but that doesn’t make him a good leader. I believe Oedipus is not a good leader for several reasons; he is selfish, overly confident and has a horrible temper. A leader takes on responsibility for his people. He did not put himself above his people. He spent all his time trying to find out the truth and coming to grips with his own problem rather then concentrating on leading his country. He is overly confident, as shown in this following quote Oedipus says with all his pride, “Known far and wide by name” (Sophocles 1). Lastly, his horrible temper helped drive him over the edge by him being unreasonable and stabbing his eyes out because he does not want to look upon his children. As Oedipus says in this quote, “Delectable for me to gaze at, born as they were born? Never with eyes of mine!” (Sophocles 49). He is also unable to take responsibility for his action. For example: Killing his own father and marrying his mother. All in all, Oedipus does not posses the qualities as a good leader should. Oedipus was taught how to rule from childhood. He was born a prince and raised as a king but that doesn’t make him a good leader. But in the end he is a good man, who happened to suffer an unfortunate fate and perhaps punished himself more than he should have.

  21. To me Oedipus is not a good leader for a-couple reasons that I have seen throughout the play. I feel his temperament is not what it should be for someone that holds a lot of power. He was quick to anger when he wasn’t being told something and hurt a poor old man when he didn’t answer right away. He kills his own father (granted he didn’t know it was his father), but it was his stubborn pride and rage that drove him to do so. He is power driven in the play it is always “MY throne” and or “MY city”. In addition to this he is paranoid accusing Creon of plotting against him, and he is arrogant because he dismisses the one that cannot lie; Tiresias as a fraud. Oedipus also has a bit of an ego, yes most leaders have an ego but he in the beginning states that he is known far and wide and comes off a bit cocky. I think that he is also a tad selfish, his response to the priest asking for help was “Well I know you are sick to death, all of you, but as sick as you are, not one is sick as I. . . But my spirit grieves for the city, for myself and all of you.’ Now our ‘savior’ is poor pitiful me” (Sophocles 3). He is pretty much saying you might be in pretty bad shape, but I am in worse shape than you are. Oedipus is looking for sympathy for himself and making himself seem like the real victim. I find that most of the things he does it for himself, he helps the people because he thinks that it will make him look good. To me these are not the actions of a wise and good leader.

  22. The question, if Oedipus is a good leader, is so vague it makes it hard to decide which angle to come at it. On one hand, we may find characteristics about Oedipus such as his honesty, determination, loyalty to his city, and being proactive, testimony to being a good leader. After all he is the apparent hero of Thebes. Oedipus, was able to rid the city of the Sphinx, aside from any occurrences of fate. The controversy remains, would Thebes even have remotely as many dilemmas as they have faced had it not been from him? Oedipus is so scarred by fate that he may possess the qualities of a good leader, but these attributes are a reflection of problems he created. No man is perfect but the baggage he carries is amplified by his utter blindness to the truth of his world. “Apollo, Apollo fulfills, O friends, my measure of ills- Fills my measure of woe; author was none, but I, none other, of the blow; for why was I to see, when to descry no sight on earth could have char, for me?”(Sophocles 47). It takes his whole seeing life to figure out the truth right in front of him. Oedipus was advised by countless knowledgeable men on his fate, and countless opportunities he took to escape peripetia. Its that prolonging of insight that borders the line of committing hubris. “You cannot hurt me, nor any other who beholds the light, your life being all one night”(Sophocles 14). Oedipus’ blindness creates an irrational outlook, overbearing fury, arrogance, and disloyalty to his friends and family. He stars accusing everyone who malevolently confront him, for a crime he, in future truth, committed. Enraged, Oedipus shows no hesitation “to throw away a friend, a worthy one, and one’s own life, which most of all one values”(Sophocles 22). A level head could solve such a pointless emotion issue. In hindsight, all Oedipus did was revolve in the tragic hero cycle. Nothing he accomplished was for his people, or by his doing, it was by the acts of fate. He lucked into the position of leader by being at the right place at the right time. Fate. All of his actions, if chance be king, were purely destructive. If a foundation of a kingdom is lies, the fortunes that build from it can only ever be contaminated offspring. Oedipus was destined to be a king, but the actions of his free will make him incredibly flawed leader

  23. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. We learn about Oedipus’s abilities as a leader during his most challenging time. To be a great leader one must be honest, fair, knowledgeable and sympathetic even in times of great need. Oedipus exhibits all of these qualities throughout Oedipus Rex.
    Oedipus is fully informed about the situation in Thebes from the very beginning of the play. He tactfully addresses his subjects about the problems in the kingdom saying,“Ah my poor children, what you come to seek/ Is known already- not unknown to me/ You are all sick, I know it; and in your sickness/ There is not one of you so sick as I”(Sophocles 3). He is not only informed about the issues but he is sympathetic towards his people’s suffering. When Creon returns with information from the oracle he tries to persuade Oedipus to hear it privately first. Oedipus refuses stating, “Speak before all! My heavy load of care/ More for their sake then for my own I bear”(Sophocles 4). Oedipus is completely open with the court and he does not want to keep information or secrets from the public, a quality that is essential to a great leader. When Oedipus learns what he must do to cure Thebes of it’s problems he immediately takes action. Oedipus announces:
    Whichever of you knows the man, by whom
    Lauis the son of Labdacus was slain,
    …I bid that man shew the whole truth to me;
    For he shall suffer no disparagement
    Except to quit the land, unscathed. (Sophocles 9)
    and threatens to punish people who try to hide the murderer in their homes. While this may seem harsh it is an effective way to dissuade people from protecting Laius’s murderer. Oedipus’s fairness is demonstrated near the end of the play after he discovers himself as Laius’s murder. Even when the murderer is Oedipus himself he fulfils his promise to exile that murderer from Thebes. Oedipus is willing to leave. He says, “Out of this country cast me with all speed”(Sophocles 50).
    While Oedipus may be self-centered and arrogant at times he is a great leader. He is informed about the problems in the land and is not afraid to take action immediately. Oedipus is fair and judges himself by the same standards as everyone else. At the lowest point of his life, Oedipus was still able to act as a great leader by sacrificing himself to solve the country’s problems.

  24. Elden Yungblut
    Oedipus Rex displays strong leadership qualities throughout the play. His effectiveness as King is proven by the fact that the city has been prosperous for years under his rule and he is beloved by the people. He anticipates the needs of his citizens. For example, in a time of crisis, he had already sent Creon to consult the oracle before the people demanded guidance from the Gods. The most important characteristic of a good leader is honesty. Oedipus is honest and transparent. He does not hide anything from the people. An example of his honesty is when he speaks openly with Creon in front of the audience even after Creon suggests they talk in private. When he learns Laius’ murderer is living in Thebes, he vows to find and punish them even if they reside in his own house. Even after he realizes he is the murderer, he stands by what he said because of his honesty to both himself and others. Most people have a tendency to deny or attempt to cover up the truth if it affects them negatively. However, when Oedipus learns the truth about himself, he accepts it immediately and is willing to face the necessary punishment. He does what he believes is right even if it means he has to suffer. His self-exile is an admirable display of honesty to himself and strict adherence to his own moral code. Even when everything is taken from him, he still has his honour. His preoccupation with the pursuit of truth regardless of the consequences shows he will do everything necessary to ensure criminals He is confident, arrogant and proud, all important traits of a strong leader. Oedipus is also impulsive and acts quickly and efficiently in any situation. He always takes responsibility for his people. He feels empathetic toward the people in hard times. This is shown in opening speech when he says he feels the suffering of the city, the people and himself. His words and actions throughout the story show that he is a true leader.

  25. Many people could argue if whether or not Oedipus was a good leader. There are good things about him and there are bad things. I believe that even with the bad characteristics that Oedipus has, like hot-headedness; he is still a good leader. He thinks of the people, he takes actions right away; he doesn’t put them to the side. Before the play begins, we learn that Oedipus has ruled the land of Thebes successfully for 15 years, and the people admired him. When the Priest tells Oedipus about the plague and that he should talk to Apollo, Oedipus sais “Creon, Menoeeceus’ son, the brother of my queen, I sent to Pytho, to Apollo’s house”(Sophocles 3). This not only shows that Oedipus is not only “on the ball”, but he is also organized, and takes interest in his people.
    Another great reason why Oedipus is a good ruler is because he puts his people before himself, even if it will cost him his life. At the end of the story, when Oedipus knows that he is guilty of the death of king Laios, and of sleeping with his mother, he is willing to exile himself, knowing that he will then die, and his daughter`s will be cursed, and he says “Why then, good luck go with thee, and Providence in payment for their coming” (Sophocles 52). This is showing that Oedipus is a King for the people, and not for himself. He puts the people before himself, and always wishes for the best.

  26. Oedipus as leader is rather outstanding. Right as we are introduced to Oedipus, we are presented with his sense of justice and caring for his people. He is also very respecting towards all the towns people. For instance, when Creon returns from his encounter with the Oracle, he tries to be discreet, asking Oedipus if he wants to receive the news privately. Oedipus judiciously responds with the following: “Speak before all! My heavy load of care/ More for their sake then for my own I bear” (Sophocles 4). In other words Oedipus is saying that he doesn’t want to hear the news privately, rather publicly because he rules for his people not himself. This is a very excellent contributing factor to Oedipus being a great leader.
    Another great characteristic of that Oedipus possesses are his tactful and quick responses to problems. Almost instantaneously after bearing the news from Creon, Oedipus is keen to solve the puzzle of Lauis’ death, stating the following: “On these accounts, I, as for my own father, will fight this fight, and follow out every clue, seeking to seize the author of his murder” (Sophocles 10). It’s with this great attitude and swiftness of action and thought that help account to Oedipus being a great leader. In a sense I would closely relate Oedipus Rex to Alexander III of Macedon. Both men were prestigious leaders that truly ruled for the people, not themselves. They thought clear, acted fast and accomplished a lot in a very short time in their lives.

  27. Throughout Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is able to demonstrate to the readers that he is a good leader. Sophocles portrays Oedipus as a very over confident character. Just in the very first few scenes, Oedipus display that he is confidence, honest, trustworthy and level headed. The first few scenes of the play, we have learned that Oedipus kills the king of Thebes, saves his kingdom from a sphinx, and most importantly ruled a country for fifteen years. At the beginning of the play, you can tell that everyone respects and honors Oedipus. “Great Oedipus, my country’s governor, / Thou seest our generation, who besiege/ Thy altars here;” (Sophocles, 1). The remarks of the priest show that he is highly looked upon in this quote. Oedipus knows well himself that he is highly looked upon and well respected by everyone, and he takes this to his advantage. “Known far and wide by name. Do thou, old man, /Since ‘tis thy privilege to speak for these” (Sophocles, 1). When Oedipus finally realized what the prophecy meant and whom it was meant for, he remained calm and level headed as he cautiously acted. “Woe! Woe! It is all plain indeed! O light,/ This may be the last time I shall gaze upon thee,/ Who am revealed to have been born of those/ Of whom I ought not – to have wedded whom/ I ought not – and slain whom I might not slay!” (Sophocles, 42) Towards the end of the play, Oedipus is regretting for losing his temper on Tiresias and decides to stab himself in the eyes to make him blind. He now understands that just because one is blind, does not mean they have knowledge more than one who has vision. Knowledge dwells within, not only from what we see.

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