Denying the Truth and Passing the Blame

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The truth is hard to admit, especially to ourselves. The way we as humans deal with it, is by blaming others and finding scapegoats with or without reason. Whether it is blaming our parents for ruining our weekend and not letting us go out because we haven’t cleaned our room in a month, or a manager blaming his or her their employees team members because they lost the million dollar contract due to the managers lack of communication, these are common aspects of our lives in which we let our fear of criticism blame others.

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Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, embodies this exact mindset within the main character Oedipus. The play revolves around the mystery of the murder of the previous king of Thebes, Laius. While Oedipus, the new king of Thebes, is trying to find the murderer of King Laius, he uncovers that the person he is searching for is himself.

Throughout the play, Oedipus displays hubris. After talking to the blind prophet, Tiresias, he is told that the murderer is himself. In denial, he accuses his brother-in-law Creon, the man who met with the prophet earlier. Confronting Creon, he is repeatedly found ignoring Creon’s explanations of the situations and blaming him without cognizance. Creon notices Oedipus’ disregard and comments, if he thinks, stubbornness without sense is a good gift [he is] not wise (Sophocles 140). Creon explains that for Oedipus to think he is justified to make such a grave accusation without any proof or reason, is foolish. Even so, Creon still gives him the benefit of the doubt and advises him in answer to [his] words hear a fair replay, and then judge for [himself] on knowledge (Sophocles 140). No innocent person would blame his brother in law of treason without evidence, but Oedipus was refuting the truth. Towards the end of the play, Oedipus begins to confront the truth. The herdsman is on the dreaded brink of speech while he tells Oedipus the truth.

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