( cut for size issues )
One of the reasons I love Oedipus Tyrannus
so much, quite apart from all that stuff about how perfectly structured it is (Aristotle had fangasms over it), is how well the story fits with its protagonist. One of the themes of it is the choice between happy lies and harsh truth. Oedipus himself is pretty damn happy with the world at the start of the play, despite the plague in Thebes, he's got a wife he obviously loves and four children he just as clearly adores. (The daughters, at least, we don't see his relationship with his sons.) At the end of it, of course, he's discovered that he murdered his father (bringing down the plague on the city), has married his mother (who has hanged herself) and his children are also his siblings (and since he's being exiled from the city, he won't be allowed to see them any more). Oh, yeah, and now he's stabbed his own eyes out. But...
At the beginning of the play, Oedipus declares his determination to root out the cause of the plague and asks the Thebans to put their trust in him. Because - "I am Oedipus!" who saved them from the Sphinx. At the end, he declares himself a broken man, but still - "I am Oedipus!" Now he's blind, he sees himself clearly and while he's shamed before the entire city, he owns himself, now more than ever. He's done terrible things - unknowingly, not that that saves him from the wrath of the gods - but he faces up to and lives with them. At the end of the play he reaches out to the people of Thebes, who still love him even knowing all of this. Throughout the play Oedipus's search for truth at the expense of his own comfort keeps him sympathetic (important, when he's threatening to beat up an old blind man). He thinks he may have killed Laius, bringing down his own curse upon his head; he believes he is the son of a slave, but he keeps investigating when other people would have quietly closed down the inquiry and perhaps let the plague run its course. Contrast with Jocasta, who figures out that Oedipus is her son long before he does and begs him to stop it. She would rather live in blissful ignorance than have proof and pays the price for it.
I think what I'm trying to say boils down to two things:
1. the play Oedipus Tyrannus
is so much more complex and interesting than "dude fucked his mom". The actual incest is so far from the point it isn't even funny.
2. Oedipus = my favourite character in Greek myth. Ever.
Also, that old blind man? Had it coming.