Was Oedipus a good man who happened to suffer an unfortunate fate, or was he a truly bad person, whose fate was only just? Oedipus was indeed a good man based on Aristotelian ideals of good and bad. I think the fate that befell him was really a cruel gift from the gods.
In his first encounters with the city of Thebes, Oedipus found them under the curse of the Sphinx. He actually gained his position of King of Thebes by rendering unto the city a great service, namely the salvation of the city from the Sphinx's plague. Aristotle praised this type of cleverness and practical wisdom Oedipus exhibited in his solution to the riddle as being a component of overall goodness. If it were not for Oedipus' cleverness, the citizens would have suffered untold disasters at the merciless hands of the Sphinx. After proving his worth as a good man and his concern for the citizens of what was seemingly a foreign city, Oedipus was well liked by the people of Thebes.
The people of Thebes liked their ruler, and he in turn ruled over them in a good and just way, trying to help them in their times of need. Aristotle believed that good in man existed in doing his job well. A good carpenter was one who worked with his wood and built things as best as possible, a good ruler presided over his people justly. Oedipus was a good ruler of Thebes. According to the Aristotelian definition, this is a significant step towards being a good man. Oedipus first demonstrated his ability to be a good leader in helping the city escape the Sphinx. He continued his leadership in the same manner, doing good for the city and winning esteem in the eyes of the citizens. The premise for the book is that he was trying to rid the city of a second plague. He showed no hesitation to give it his best effort, saying "Speak it to all, since it is their distress I care for - aye, more then for my own life" (64). "His reply expresses his compassion and re