Oedipus Tyrannus: Innocent Essay

1050 words - 4 pages

"Innocent until proven guilty", this expression seems very simple to understand, once proven guilty, innocence is entirely out of the picture. However, proving that an individual is guilty is not always an easy task. There are many factors to look upon and review before making a final statement or decision, many laws that may annul the fact that someone is guilty. Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannus" is a perfect example of how difficult it is to prove that someone is guilty, or to prove that someone is innocent for that matter. Oedipus is accused of many crimes for which he may or may not be guilty of. It is my contention that Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is guiltless of his -so called- crimes. For the crime of patricide, it was inevitable and is not really considered patricide. What others call adultery or incest could not of occurred, for none of the two involved knew what they were getting into. Perhaps we should look to blame other characters in the play for the criminal acts committed, like Jocasta for example.

Patricide is a term used when an individual has committed the crime of murdering his father. However one can only commit patricide when he is aware that the murdered human being was in fact his biological father. Oedipus was adopted and had no idea that the man he killed was his father he thought he was adopted throughout his childhood and adulthood. Even thought his destiny was in fact to kill his own father, the unique reason the crime of patricide was committed was in self-defense. Laios, Oedipus' biological father, considered a wandered on a foreign road by Oedipus, insulted and assaulted his poor son, and other negative events transpired, which resulted in his own death. When someone commit murder by self-defense, it is not considered "murder." In the present time, prosecuting a man who has commit a criminal act in self-defense would be preposterous. Patricide can only be considered as a crime when the criminal in question is aware of the act he has committed, aware that the individual upon who he is committing the act is in fact is father. The adopted Oedipus was not aware of those circumstances, was not even aware of what his mother put him through when he was young. It is absolutely absurd to state that Oedipus is guilty of patricide because he is entirely guiltless.

When some speak of adultery, they are absolutely erroneous because there was no such act committed. However when others speak of incest, they are not wrong about the fact that incest occurred, however they are wrong to say that Oedipus is guilty of that crime. Incest is defined by sexual relations between persons who are so closely related that their marriage is illegal or forbidden by custom. However, Oedipus and Jocasta were equally unaware of their blood relation. The same argument comes up again about the fact that Oedipus was not aware that he was adopted. The sin of incest occurred without the willing consent of the sinner, you cannot blame Oedipus for those...

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