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Although oedipus shows obvious compassion for his

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Although Oedipus shows obvious compassion for his people when describing how he feels their pain, he does have a moment of weakness. He discusses his fear that
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the one who killed Laius may also desire his life. “…for my own sake I’ll rid us of this corruption. Whoever killed the king may decide to kill me too, with the same violent hand—by avenging Laius I defend myself.” (lines 157-160) His words may sound selfish; however, they are a means of reassuring his people that he will end the plague. One is far more willing to defend themselves from danger than strangers surrounding them so, in a way, Oedipus’ selfish words will ensure that the murderer is avenged. By saving himself Oedipus will save the people of Thebes. Oedipus shows a great deal of respect for his people when he declares that if the murderer is a member of his household he will be cursed. “I curse myself as well…if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house, here at my hearth, with my full knowledge, may the curse I just called down on him strike me!” (lines 284-287) As a king, Oedipus houses a plethora of people that he has agrees to take responsibility for and believes he would be committing a crime through association. Rather than immediately dismiss the members of his household in order to save himself, Oedipus announces that he shall be punished for their actions. Oedipus’ kingship is also displayed through his actions with his wife. He reveals to her the prophecy he heard long ago, which is very similar to the one she shares with him. As he continues to think, Oedipus realizes that he may, in fact, be Laius’ murderer. “Oh no no, I think I’ve just called down a dreadful curse upon myself—I simply didn’t know” (lines 819-821) “And so you shall—I can hold nothing back from you, now I’ve reached this pitch of dark foreboding. Who means more to me than you?” (lines 847-849)
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