With the plague that had hit Thebes, it was important for its king Oedipus to consult on the issue that was troubling his kinship. He was determined to find out the root cause of the problem, he says (Dawe 143), "Pity you, children. I know you all are sick, yet not one of you suffers as much as I. My heart grieves and I have wept many tears due to this. I have thought of only one hope, one remedy: I sent Creon, my brother-in-law, to ask Apollo at his temple how I could save this city. He is gone far longer than he needed for the journey. But when he comes, then I shall do all the God commands."
After broad consultation it was discovered that the problem was within the kinship Creon says (Dawe 27), "A good word. Apollo commanded us to drive out pollution from our land, a pollution that is nourished here. Drive it out and we are saved." This came as a wakeup call and it triggered Oedipus to do something about the situation they were currently facing in the land. Investigations began and finally the truth was discovered, the main suspect was no one else but king Oedipus. King Oedipus truly loved his people and this truly is what pushed him to have the man responsible for the death of the previous king Laius brought to book.
Little did he know that he was the one responsible for king Laius death. Apollo the prophet says (Dawe 67), "Did you not understand before? Would you provoke me into speaking? You are the murderer of the king."
King Oedipus would have only made the matter worse if he would have decided not to unturn the stones that were turned concerning the death of King Laius. This would have been bad for both the people of Thebes and the King Oedipus, because it is from this that he came to realize that the people he knew his parents were not his actual parents. If by any chance he would have decided to brush of the issue, it would have defiantly continued to bother the land of Thebes and as such, the truth would one day come out to the open. They say that the truth is bitter, I agree because the revelation of this issue brought a lot of pain and anguish to king Oedipus.
The truth will always set you free, and that also applies in this situation. King Oedipus would never have peace living and ruling people who were in anguish. It is every leaders joy to see his people living in peace and harmony. Knowing the truth is therefore very important, the truth revealed that the prophecy that made years ago that Oedipus would kill his father and lie with his maternal mother finally come to pass. It was through the search for truth that this was discovered, has not been discovered, the act of incest between mother and son would have continued. King Oedipus was also brave enough to be face the consequences of his actions he felt it was necessary to pay for what he did regardless of the fact that he was the king of Thebes.
Jocasta too was hurt and she regretted what she had done, the truth hurt her greatly as well, realizing that she was married to her son. After this both of them decide to inflict pain on themselves the messenger reported (Dawe 217), "By her own hand. The worst of what was done you cannot know." When she came raging into the house, she went straight to her marriage bed tearing her hair with both hands and crying to Laius. Then Oedipus burst upon us shouting and he begged us, "Give me a sword!" Into the room he rushed and saw his wife hanging, the twisted rope around her neck. He cried out fearfully and cut the dangling noose. Then, as she lay on the ground, what happened after was terrible to see. He tore the brooches from her and lifted them up high and dashed them into his own eyeballs, shrieking out such things as: "They will never see the crime I have committed. Dark eyes, now in the days to come look on forbidden faces, do not recognize those whom you long for." In addition, he struck his eyes repeatedly. With every blow blood spurted down his cheeks.
Dawe, R.D. ed. 2006 Sophocles: Oedipus Rex, revised edition. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
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