But why ? Is it because of the shock value of doing battle within your own family? Is it because the family can be viewed as the world in miniature? Is it because we think of people who control the fates of entire cities (like, say, Thebes) as being so powerful that we want to watch them powerlessly fighting their own flesh and blood? Is it because familial love is such a weird and often frustrating thing—hello, family Thanksgiving—that we want the catharsis of seeing someone actually battle their parents? Is it because, deep inside, we're all angsty thirteen-year-olds who just want to stay out until midnight Mom, please ?
Yet another of Oedipus’ dual roles involves that of king and man. As King of Thebes, as he states at the start of the play, it is his duty to work to rid Thebes from the dreadful plague which blights it, and – as it turns out – this ends up being an unconscious self-sacrifice. Yet Oedipus, by demanding that Creon exile him from Thebes, does remove the plague (himself) from the city. Ultimately, then, his public role is given priority of his private one. This is further evidenced by the death of his wife (and the later death of his two sons, Polyneices and Eteocles) – in exactly the way that Creon’s public decision brings about the implosion of his family in Sophocles’ Antigone .