Character Analysis Theseus


As leader of Athens in Oedipus at Colonus, Theseus emerges as the ideal king, the personification of the city-state's vision of itself at its highest point. At the same time of the production of Oedipus at Colonus, such a vision of the ideal Athenian was comforting to the war-torn Athenian audience. Theseus possesses, it seems, every Athenian virtue. He is diplomatic in negotiating with the prickly Oedipus, pious in his concern for the sacred precinct and the will of the gods, strong in opposing the bullying Creon, courteous in his introduction of Polynices, and decisive in driving off the Theban intruders. A contrast to the violent Creon and the reckless Polynices, as well as a benefactor to Oedipus himself, Theseus handles a difficult situation with political skill. In this, he represents one of the very few unflawed characters in the Oedipus Trilogy.