Character Analysis Essay Sample: Oedipus Rex

Published: 2022-04-07
Character Analysis Essay Sample: Oedipus Rex
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  Character analysis Sophocles
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 583 words
5 min read


Teiresias is the blind prophet in the play and who also acts as the mouthpiece of the Gods. Teiresias is the only character in Oedipus who knows the whole truth behind Oedipus' parentage and is constantly consulted in the play by the king. When Oedipus communicates with the chorus regarding who killed Laius, the Chorus refers to the legendary seer Teiresias as the one who sees eye to eye with the god Phoebus, and this prompts the king to summon for the prophet's presence. It is after Oedipus implores the seer to tell him of who killed the old king that Teiresias tells Oedipus that it is him who killed the Laius (Sophocles and Dawe 13). The old prophet, therefore, played a crucial role in helping Oedipus understand who he is, and that he is married to his mother and that Oedipus is his misfortune.

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Messenger from Corinth

The messenger from Corinth plays the role of revealing to Oedipus his true identity. Oedipus often believed that he was King Polybus and Merope's son. However, when King Polybus died, and a messenger from Corinth is sent to relay the message to Oedipus, it becomes clear that he was not the son of Polybus. The messenger from Corinth also reveals to Oedipus that it was he who found Oedipus abandoned in Cithaeron's forest as a child and offered him to Polybus (Sophocles and Dawe 29). The messenger narrates to Oedipus he was given away by a shepherd from Laius house.


The herdsman reveals to Oedipus that he is the son of Laius. The herdsman was summoned to Oedipus' presence after the messenger from Corinth revealed that it was the herdsman who gave him baby Oedipus at the Cithaeron's forest. After persuasion and threats from Oedipus, the herdsman reveals that he was only doing that which he was ordained to accomplish, which was to get rid of the child as commanded by Jocasta as she dreaded the pending fate of her husband, Laius (Sophocles and Dawe 34). The herdsman thus plays the crucial role of revealing to Oedipus that he was the son of Laius and that he is married to his mother.

The Characters who Hinder Oedipus from the Truth


The first character that tries to hinder Oedipus from knowing the truth is Teiresias. The motivating idea is that the old prophet is afraid that the by finding out the truth about who killed the former king, it would ruin Oedipus. Besides, Teiresias understood the fate of Oedipus, and he was thus trying to delay it, hoping this would save Oedipus for the path that the Gods had chosen.


Oedipus' mother on numerous on occasions tried warning his son from striving to find the truth, and the most evident scene is when Oedipus was questioning the messenger from Corinth about where he found the young Oedipus and from what person. As Oedipus was getting impatient to learn about his early days, the queen who is also his mother pleads with him to abandon the quest for she is afraid that Oedipus would punish her for throwing him away as a child (Sophocles and Dawe 31). However, it was the fact that Oedipus continued to pursue the truth that forced Jocasta to commit suicide after realizing that Oedipus was her son, and it was Oedipus, her current husband that killed Laius to fulfill the prophecy she was avoiding from the beginning.

Work Cited

Sophocles., and Roger D Dawe. Oedipus Rex. 1st ed., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010.

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