Oedipus. The guy probably most notable for precipitating this moment. Why would Oedipus have a different answer to this question? Is it better to know, or not to know? It’s better to know? Well. He fucked his mom. Yeah. Actually, he married his mom. Then fucked her. At least he gets points for commitment.
The story goes that an oracle told Oedipus’ father, who was the king of Thebes, which is in Greece, that his own son would slay him. Back in the day, oracles were pretty hot shit, and if one told you something, you tended to listen. Naturally, Laius (Oedipus’ dad) was hence forth terrified of having a son, because it would kill him. His wife, (later, Oedipus’ wife) Jocasta, had a son. Probably because they hadn’t invented condoms yet. Actually the invention of condoms kinda makes oracles obsolete, because if one tells you your son will kill you, you just use condoms, don’t have a son, and the oracle is out of business. Anyway, Jocasta has a son. Laius freaks. They do the only logical thing: leave the kid out to die. But, a shepherd fucks up their plan. Shepherds actually turn out to be pretty crafty bastards. They’re the unlikely heroes of the Bible…this Oedipus thing…other things…
So the shepherd saves the kid, who is adopted and raised by the King of Corinth and his wife. Oedipus then goes on to kill his dad walking down the street one day, and then marries his mom. And, he usually gets a bad wrap for all of that. I grant you, at first glance it appears disconcerting. But it’s not like he actually knew what he was doing. I have the same problem with Star Wars. (Hear me out…) Luke always gets shit for kissing his sister, Carrie Fisher, in the second/fifth episode. I have many problems with this, although I don’t condone incest. My first problem is, Carrie Fisher kissed Luke. Look at the tape. Go on, do it. She kissed him. He just kissed her back. Which, I’m sure, seemed like a polite thing to do. If Carrie Fisher circa Episode V kissed me, I’d kiss her back. If Carrie Fisher circa Episode VII kissed me, I’d kiss her back. Shit, if Chewie kissed me I’d kiss him back, just out of curiosity. I’m not saying I’d make a regular thing out of it. My second problem is that Luke didn’t know it was his sister. It was just Carrie Fisher, a beautiful ice princess, or something. And, yes Carrie and Hans Solo were meant to be together from the beginning, and that ended in heartbreak, but it’s not like Luke thought, ‘Damn my sister is hot.’ But, objectively, Princess Leia is attractive. You can’t blame Luke for thinking that.
Oedipus gets a bad rap for everything he did, and he shouldn’t. I mean, except for killing a guy walking down the street. That’s not cool. Freud’s Oedipus Complex describes a son’s love towards his mother, and jealousy of his father. Oedipus never felt any of those things. He was just pissed at a guy who started an argument with him, and attracted towards the Queen, whose hand he won by solving a riddle nobody else could solve. And it’s not like he didn’t call back the next day. Oedipus and his mom were married, and had four children.
Oedipus is actually just a regular son of a king, or two kings, because he was adopted. Throughout his ordeal he’s just trying to do the right thing. The oracle tells him he’s going to murder his father and sleep with his mother, so he flees from his father and mother. Except the parents he fled from aren’t his parents. By attempting not to fullfil the oracle, he fullfils the oracle. Which, I suppose, is predictable.
Now, we have to talk about the elephant in the room. In some versions of the story, Oedipus stabs his own eyes and blinds himself. He didn’t even think about it. He finds out who his father really was, and that he has made babies with his mom (who, after finding out herself, commits suicide), goes to her body, and stabs his eyes with the pins that held her dress together. Just seemed like the right thing to do. Since he took the pins out, her dress probably fell open. But I would imagine his stabbing motion was so quick he didn’t see his mother’s naked body. And, after all, he’d already slept with her many times, so it doesn’t really matter. He then lives out the rest of his days in exile with Ismene and Antigone, his daughters/half sisters. (If you’ve stumbled upon this page and you’re reading this for a high school English class, Antigone is pronounced just like the words “anti” and “gone” put together. Otherwise, you know how it goes.)
So, the point is, give Oedipus a break. He’s just a guy with free will trying to buck the trend and not fullfil an oracle. What’s so wrong about that?