What Was Oedipus’s Crime?
Oedipus, ruler of Thebes, murdered his father and married his mother. Such acts are almost always deemed unnatural and criminal; they are not tolerated within traditional society. A person who has committed these illegal acts of murder and incest would be considered a criminal, yet Sophocles’s character, Oedipus, is not guilty of either crime.
Prior to the birth of Oedipus, a prophecy was spoken over Laius and his wife
showed first 75 words of 521 total
showed last 75 words of 521 total
fall prey to fate and injustice. According to the norms of modern Criminal Justice, an individual cannot be guilty of a crime that he did not understandably commit; he cannot be guilty of a crime unless there is evidence of mens rea. A crime is defined as an act act punishable by law; a sin; a grave offense. Oedipus cannot be guilty of an act, sin or grave offense that he did not knowingly commit.