Thank you, Your Honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, thank you for your time as all the evidence was carefully presented. So, all the facts and evidence have been presented to you today and with that, I’d like to say the fate of Oedipus’ life now is within your hands. Oedipus has been convicted of committing an inhumane crime and letting his anger get the best of him, resulting in grave damage therefore we request that you determine a punishment that seems just for taking the lives of several humans. It is our humble request to view all the evidence in its entirety and make an unbiased decision. The decision made today will affect multiple lives as well as bring closure to some. We believe that Oedipus’ punishment should be that he receives 15 years in prison on the basis of committing the inhuman crime of murder which resulted in the death of several Thebes citizens, his father, King Laius, and the subsequence suicide of his mother. Some may argue that it was his fight against fate however we believe that Oedipus did intentionally kill his father and several other men even if it was in the act of self-defense. This punishment is just because Oedipus did not display any self-control upon the confrontation with the group of men traveling with his father. Oedipus’ uncontrolled anger took the lives of many innocent men and it is not justifiable to simply take one’s life over a disagreement or argument.
This case is about Oedipus and how his actions lead to the death of several innocent people, including his birth mother, and father. Oedipus was a well-known and respected king of Thebes and was recognized for his hubris and ability to solve the riddle of the Sphinx and save his country (Rivas, 00:02:30-00:02:55). You all might be thinking how could such a well put together and honorable king be charged with murder? Well, it all started when the country of Thebes was in ruins because of a horrific plague that was killing hundreds of innocent citizens. This plague all started because of the murder of King Laius, former king of Thebes, who was not yet found, and until the killer was not found and exiled the country would remain in ruins. This tragedy needed to come to an end, so all the citizens of Thebes gathered outside Oedipus the king’s palace asking him to help their country and to bring light back into Thebes (Rivas, 00:01:00-00:02:23). Oedipus being an honorable king promised the citizens to bring an end to the plague upon the arrival of Creon, his brother-in-law, who would bring the news as to how to end this tragic plague. As Creon returned to the palace with a message from the Gods, he was informed that King Laius’ murderer was still not punished for his crime, and until he was not caught and banished the plague would continue. Oedipus unaware of who killed King Laius, promises’ the citizens that he will find the murderer and punish him for his actions and ensures them that the individual will be forever cursed.
In search of King Laius’ murderer, Oedipus sends for Tiresias, an old blind prophet, who would have the ability to find out the truth behind this injustice. Tiresias arrives at the palace and is fearful to tell Oedipus the truth behind the story. Following Oedipus’ insistence and determination to get the truth, Tiresias reveals that Oedipus himself is the killer. At first, Oedipus refuses to believe what Tiresias exposed but soon came to realize the truth. Tiresias reveals that Oedipus was adopted as a baby and his birth mother and father sent him off to a slave to be killed because of a prophecy. The prophecy was that Oedipus would one day be his father’s killer and would then marry his mother. His birth parents couldn't bear to hear the news so decided to get rid of him. They were able to get rid of him for only a couple of years because fate brought both father and son together again one day. The story unfolds that later on in life Oedipus and King Laius both approach each other while traveling. Following some confrontation, Oedipus ends up killing all the men traveling with King Laius and the king himself in self-defense. Oedipus furious with Tiresias asks him to leave his palace. Jocasta, his wife, notices that her husband seems frustrated she asks what is wrong. He tells her what Tiresias just accused him of and instead of being shocked she learns that Tiresias’ accusations were correct. Jocasta realizes that Oedipus killed her husband, King Laius and that he is her son. She confronts Oedipus about the truth and runs to her room not knowing what to say to him. Oedipus then soon has recollections of the day of the confrontation and soon remembers everything. He realizes that he was the murderer of King Laius. Jocasta could not bear the thought that her own son killed his father and that her prophecy came true and felt that the best thing to do was to end her life.
So, with the full story being told I would like for you all the jury to take a minute and understand the evidence and see how Oedipus not only killed his father but also was the reason his mother died. Although some of you may say that he didn't directly kill his mother, we have to remember that his actions lead to her suicide. Yes, some can argue that it was in his fate to kill his father and that it was not done intentionally and blame the prophecy but at the same time, Oedipus himself was the one to commit the crime. Even if it was written for him to kill his father and marry his mother, he was still the one to do it and he used his own two hands to kill his father. He was aware at the time of the confrontation that he was about to take the life of many individuals. Not only did he kill his father, King Laius, but he also killed the men that worked for his father and traveled with him. So, in all of this, he is the murderer of many individuals. As for his mother’s suicide, yes, we can’t directly say that he killed her, but his actions lead her to believe that suicide was the best option. This indirectly makes him the murderer of his mother. We have to remember that Oedipus himself states that “curse on the man who took the cruel bonds from off my legs, as I lay I the field. He stole me from death and saved me, no kindly service. Had I died then I would not be so burdensome to friends” (Sophocles, 1417-1424). He himself remembers the moment that his parents left him as a child. Could it be that this memory lead to uncontrollable anger and rage within him? Could this image of him being left alone while his parents leave him to be the cause of his wrongdoings? Maybe this act to kill shouldn't be blamed on fate but should be blamed on built-up anger and rage. We can neither confirm nor deny that Oedipus knew that one of the men he confronted was his father, but he had built up anger and resentment internally that he committed such an unjust crime.
Although Oedipus was known as a tragic hero and honored king of Thebes, his actions of killing his father and causing his mother to commit suicide resulted in him being accused of committing voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Oedipus didn't have the intent to kill or pre-planned this action, but regardless of his fate he still made the decision to kill and he committed the crime with his own two hands. His statement regarding the act being made in self-defense doesn't correlate with his story and we can’t believe that he committed this crime to protect himself. Oedipus had unresolved anger and rage which caused him to lose control and commit murder. He had his own free will to decide what actions to make. No one forced him to commit murder. This was all based on what Oedipus wanted. No one else is to blame for this horrific crime. Although he didn't directly kill his mother, the act of killing his father caused his mother to commit suicide. He is to blame for the death of his mother. The gods and his preborn prophecy caused him to commit this injustice crime and be a victim of his fate. Just because he had no say in the killing of his father does not excuse him from his punishment. Our defendant himself admitted to the crime as he spoke to his daughters for the last time “Your father killed his father and sowed the seed where had spring himself and begot you out of the womb that held him (Sophocles, 1562-1564). Oedipus himself knows he’s guilty and should accept any cruel punishment received by him today. His actions not only lead to the death of many individuals, but he also ruined the life of his two daughters, Antigone and Ismene, they will forever be cursed and traumatized by their father’s actions.
Oedipus should not be given any sort of special treatment because he was king of Thebes nor should he be excused for the crime that he committed because it was in his fate to kill his father. The crime was still committed regardless of why it was committed and because of that the deserves to be punished. People of the jury, please without any hesitation express the way you feel Oedipus should be punished. We want to ensure that he receives just punishment for his actions. In the court, he is not known as the king of Thebes but as a normal human being that committed the crime of killing two individuals. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, with all of that being said I will ask you to decide the fate of Oedipus’ punishment and what you believe is a fair penalty for the crime he’s committed. The decision is in your hands.