Oedipus the King Pages [35-37], Lines (569-626)
In this passage, Oedipus asks Creon why the old prophet Tiresias did not reveal the fact that a search for Liasus’ dead body was made. Creon replies Oedipus that he does not know why this is so. Oedipus, in a very irrational and infuriated state, then asks again if Creon knows why, thinking that Creon is keeping information away from him. Creon replies that if he knew the answer, he would have told Oedipus, and because he does not know the truth, he wishes to hold his tongue.
Oedipus then accuses Creon of trying to overthrow him (since it was Creon who recommended Tiresias to come in the first place). Creon calmly retorts with the facts that for one, Oedipus is married to Creon’s own sister who he knows Oedipus loves very much, and so he would never do such a thing to harm Oedipus. Secondly, Creon states that he is far too noble of a person, and that Oedipus should reflect upon his nature and realize that Creon would never do such a thing ; Creon says that unlike other men, he likes to rule, but does not have a frantic yearning to be king. He is content with his standing now, in which he can rule in peace rather than with fear. Creon continues to say that he is satisfied with all the honor he receives now; people already respect his title, and so he feels that there is no need to betray and overthrow Oedipus to gain more. Oedipus is asked to go to the oracle at Pytho to verify if all Creon says is true. Certain that his word is true, Creon boldly states that if the oracle states that he is lying, Oedipus may take his life, but that Oedipus must do this to ensure that he will not lose an honest friend for nothing. At this time, the Chorus comes in, also persuading Oedipus to do trust what Creon says.
However, Oedipus remains adamant and angry, declaring that Creon is plotting against him secretly and that he must quickly come up with a counterplot. Creon asks if Oedipus is going to banish him, and Oedipus replies that he is going to do more than that; he is going to kill Creon. In a last attempt, Creone tries to get Oedipus to understand that the king is only concocting fantasies, but Oedipus, in his blinding fury, merely replies that he is king, and that he must kill Creon.

Oedipus is initially introduced into the story as a caring and passionate leader who puts his peoples’ interests to heart. However, in this passage, a much more stubborn and selfish side of his is revealed. Blinded by his fury, Oedipus wrongly accuses Creon of plotting against Oedipus . This accusation appears to be a sign of insecurity; because Oedipus feels that he cannot keep up with his fate and all that is happening around him, he needs somebody to blame and to put the encumbrance upon. In contrast with Oedipus, Creon is rational and reserved and tries to put Oedipus into his right mind. Creon relates that he is a man who has to urge or yearning to be king; that power does not entice him as much as it does Oedipus. Creon seems to be a noble man, stating that he would never betray a friend or “throw his life away” (line 607) just to gain a title. Even after Creon tells Oedipus all the reasons why he would not be planning against him, Oedipus, in all his stubbornness, remains unconvinced and uneasy. Oedipus not only proves himself to be stubborn, but also irrational. Even though Oedipus knows that he has no solid evidence to prove Creon guilty, he nevertheless plans to kill him. This harsh move proves Oedipus to be a tyrant; it seems as if a kindhearted, benevolent façade of his has been removed, revealing a vulnerable yet still authoritative Oedipus. Oedipus’ last line in this passage, “ But yet, I must be ruler” (line 630, pg 37) shows that at this point in the story, although becoming more and more exposed and weakened, Oedipus is still a strong-minded and confident ruler.

Alex Yuan