I recently read the Oedipus plays and a reoccurring theme in the novel is hurting yourself. In Oedipus the King, Jacoste kills herself and Oedipus blinds himself. In Oedipus at Colonus, Polyninces essentially condemns himself to death. Finally, In Antigone, Antigone kills herself. So this left me with the question, why do we hurt ourselves. This question really hit home for me because a friend of used to cut herself/himself because of depression. So after a lot of thinking I realized people hurt themselves because of an overwhelming flood of emotions that causes them to act rashly. For example in Oedipus the King, Oedipus blinds himself. He does this because he learns his wife is also his mother and she had just killed herself. He was hysterical after learning this disturbing information and channeled his emotions by taking out his own eyes, an action anyone in their right mind would regret. Also in Oedipus the King, his wife and mother Jocasta kills herself when Oedipus attempts to learn the truth about his past and his destiny because he does not yet know who Jocasta is. These two examples show how a flood of emotions cause someone to act rashly. In the second play Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus’ son Polyninces condemns himself to death because he goes to war and essentially tells his sisters that he wants them to bury him because he knows he is going to die. While he doesn’t appear to be distraught in the book he is a bit presumptuous in his decision because he acts as though his only possible faith is death. While his actions aren’t completely warranted they are somewhat justified because he had been betrayed by his brother, father, and country. In the final play Antigone, Antigone kills herself because she is overwhelmed by the idea of someone else controlling her fate she kills herself so she can still have some control over her life. A real world example of this is that of students in college. Often students, who can’t handle the stress of college payments, being reliant on themselves, and having a future controlled by themselves kill themselves as a release from the stress. In summation, people hurt themselves because they can’t handle the overwhelming emotions of their lives, so they act rashly.
In order to find the answer to a question like this you need to use multiple resources. The first resource I used was the internet. I found many interesting things such as personal accounts of people who dealt with situations that correspond to this question. The information I gained from this is that most suicides occur because of pent up emotion that isn’t channeled correctly. I also found out how people went about solving their problems. Some people went to therapists, some to medication, some to friends and family, and sadly some to hurting themselves or committing suicide. Another interesting idea I heard was that people hurt themselves because they feel inadequate and use this as a form of punishment.For example, I read an article about a student who killed himself because he did not get into any colleges. Another example, was of someone who felt they let down their family because she was inferior to her older sister so she began cutting herself to punish herself. Finally I found a video that spoke about suicide and the reasons people commit suicide, which I have attached below if you would like to see it. Something I found interesting in it was that he said those who commit suicide and survive often say the second the jumped they regretted it, which backs up my idea that people hurt themselves because they can’t handle the overwhelming emotions, and act RASHLY. Also he mentioned he had only lost two people in all his time speaking to suicide jumpers. I found this interesting because here these people are just one step away from death, but after talking to a total stranger for a couple hours they are convinced not too. The conclusion I drew from this is that people don’t really want to hurt themselves they just don’t know what to do about their problems.
Another resource I used to find the answer to my question was my family. While my brother and father had nothing to say on the topic that I hadn’t already heard or thought myself, my mother told me some interesting things about my own family’s dealings with this topic. In order for you to understand the story I’m about to tell you, you should know some history about the time. During the time of the incident that occurred to my family, India and Pakistan were undergoing a series of violent riots because of religious and border disputes. The actual incident involved my grandfather’s family. During a large riot, Pakistan and Muslim extremists killed many Indian Hindus. The specific details of the riot I do not have because I did not want to pester my mother about such a delicate subject. But, this ties back into my family cause my grandfather lost his brother, sister, and his mother. The reason I am telling you this subject because apparently my grandfather’s sister was so traumatized by the violence that she took her own life by burning herself to death and my grandfather’s father(my great grandfather)took his own sight because he had seen so much death while looking for his wife’s and son’s bodies. The methods he used to take his sight I do not know because my mother seemed quite distraught retelling the story. I found this information useful as well because it not only should why people do these things, I was able to internalize it better because it was my own family. The specific things I got from this, were that like I previously people are overwhelmed by the emotions and they don’t know how to channel it because my grandfather’s sister set herself on fire because she couldn’t handle the death around her. Also, because my great grandfather blinded himself because he couldn’t find the bodies of his family an action I’m sure he regretted.
Finally, as I previously stated the reason people hurt themselves is because they are overwhelmed by their life and don’t know what to do with themselves so they make rash decisions.-Tejas