Oedipus the King and the Irony of Sight

Oedipus the King and the Irony of Sight Throughout the play, Oedipus the King, Sophocles refers to site and blindness to relate attitudes and knowledge of the past. The irony of sight in this play can be marked by Oedipus inability to realize that which is evident to the reader. His extreme pride is his tragic flaw. It blinds him from the truth. Oedipus blinding himself symbolizes his increase of knowledge, his sensitivity, and gives him the ability to finally “see”. He is now able to see the flaws of his hubris attitude, and the consequences of which his pride brought to him.

From the very beginning, Oedipus was blinded by pride. With the city of Thebes dying, Creon comes from the god Apollo to tell how to stop the plaque. An example of Oedipus hubris is shown when he will not go into the palace to converse with Creon. He insists on talking in front of the crowd of citizens. Creon tells that the only way to stop the plaque is to find the killer of Lauis, the previous king. King Oedipus takes this task lightly, for he is the one who solved the riddle of the Sphinx, he surely could find the killer of royalty.

This is another example of his tragic flaws, pride. When Oedipus vows to do everything in his power to find Laius killer, the leader of the chorus advises Oedipus that no one knows the identity of the murderer, and that the god Apollo should name him to the people. Oedipus replies “to force the gods to act against their will- no man has the power. “(320) He has called on the blind seer who knows what the god Apollo sees. It is ironic that Tiresias can “see” what Oedipus can not though he suffers of old age and physical blindness.

Tiresias, who is able to see the truth of the downfall of Oedipus thorough the oracles prophecy even in his own blindness, becomes the comparative image from which Oedipus is judged, both by himself and by others. Throughout the conversation between Oedipus and Tiresias, he will not divulge the information King Oedipus is longing to hear. “Id rather not cause pain to you or me. So why thisuseless interrogation? Youll get nothing from me” (321) Tiresias says. This enrages Oedipus and he blames him for the murder, and then for conspiring with Creon to take his throne.

These accusations Oedipus makes are caused by his fear of the truth he is too blind to see. This blame causes an argument between the two. The play has many references to sight and blindness. These references give a continuous message of good and bad to both. During the argument, Oedipus insults Tiresias of his blindness. It is ironic that Oedipus, who is disrespectful to Tiresias because of his blindness, eventually becomes blind himself. Tiresias comes back denoting Oedipus blindness to the truth, but assures him that he will soon be able to see. During the argument, Oedipus also shows his arrogance.

He says “when did you ever prove yourself a prophet? When the Sphinx, that chanting Fury kept her deathwatch here, why silent thenI stopped the Sphinx! With no help from the birds, the flight of my own intelligence hit the mark. ” (323) This show that he thinks himself greater than the prophet and in essence greater than the gods, yet another example of his pride. After Oedipus takes his sight he realizes that he is mortal and has flaws. He also sees that he and Tiresias have something in common: they both are blind, yet now are able to see the obvious. Oedipus also accuses Tiresias of conspiring King Lauis death.

Now I see it all. You helped hatch the plot, you did the work, yes, short of killing him with your own hands- and given eyes Id say you did the killing single handed! ” (322) Tiresias rebuttals by saying “Is that so! I charge you, then, submit to that decree you just laid down: from this day onward speak to no one, not these citizens, not myself. You are the curse, the corruption of the land! ” (322) Oedipus still does not realize that he is the killer. Through out the play, the reader sees that even though Oedipus has physical sight, he is spiritually blinded.

Meaning that while Oedipus had the sense of sight, he was blinded by his lack of perception. As for Tiresias, the opposite applies. Even though he suffers from physical blindness, Tiresias has captured spiritual sight. When he is lead to the King, he comments “How terrible to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees. ” (321) This is an example of how Tiresias does see, yet he is blind. It also shows that this spiritual sight has done no good for Tiresias, but one could also say that Oedipus physical sight has done no good for him either. Oedipus wife, Jocasta is a blinding figure in his life.

When he almost sees the truth of his past, she convinces him that he is wrong, and that it is not possible that he was the killer of her late husband. This happens twice that she keeps him in the dark, and refrains him from seeing the light of his wrongs. When Oedipus confides in Jocasta about his feelings of the situation, he is almost to the point of realization that he killed Laius. She tells him that it could not be possible that he killed King Lauis. She tells him the story of their son, and the prophecy that one day he would grow to kill his father and marry his mother.

She also tells him that they rid themselves of such a son. Even though the god Apollo told Oedipus the same story, that he would one day be the murderer of his father, and take over his fathers place by the side of his mother, he still does not put two and two together to realize the truth. Oedipus also tells Jocasta that Tiresias told him that he was the murderer of Laius. She then replies “Then free yourself of every chargeno human can penetrate the future. ” (332) This may be true. No human can see the future, but Tiresias only sees the truth!

But through his own suspicions, and pursuit of knowledge, and his attempts to work against fate, Oedipus is trapped into a course of action that he can not foresee, and that determines the tragic outcome and his own downfall, as well as the death of his wife. When Jocasta flees from the palace, in despair because she too finally realizes that she is married to her son, the leader of the chorus tells Oedipus to go after her for “Im afraid that from this silence something monstrous may come bursting forth. ” (344) Oedipus once again is blind to the warning and his wife dies in her bed chambers.

As seen throughout, Oedipus is oblivious to the knowledge about his past. He does not even pick up on simple clues that link him to his past and future. It is ironic that even the lowly shepherds, that come to give him messages about the death of King Polybus and then he also tells about the child that he gave to the king long ago, know the truth that he can not see. The first messenger comes to tell Oedipus of the death of his supposed father, King Polybus. He also tells Oedipus that he was given a baby along time ago and that he was that baby.

Polybus was not his father and Merope was not his mother. Oedipus may have been told by Apollo that he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, but they were not the ones in danger. The second messenger is the one that was ordered by Lauis to get rid of the child. He gave the boy, with his ankles pinned together to another shepherd, not thinking that he would ever really kill Laius and marry Jocasta. The second messenger is very old. Oedipus is so determined to find his true identity from this man, that he even speaks of torture to get him to talk.

From the way the man speaks to the other shepherd, “Damn you, shut your mouthquite! ” (346) You can tell that Oedipus is not going to like what this messenger has to say. He to owns the knowledge that is blinding Oedipus. But he will soon know and the knowledge of himself will set him free, and he will be able to understand his faults. When Oedipus finally realizes that the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother had came true, he was over come with shame. He goes to Jocastas quarters, where she had taken her own life, and gouged out his eyes with the broach that she wore.

In the end, Oedipus gains insight into his life, his failings, and the nature of the gods and fate only through his own blindness, only through accepting the truth of his lack of vision, and his inability to impact fate. Oedipus gains a compassionate, though tragic outlook because of his capacity to envision that which he could never see while he had his physical sight. Through his blindness, Oedipus is finally allowed the ability to see himself, and this is the irony of sight in Sophocles play Oedipus the King.

Oedipus the King a myth

The mythological critic easily evaluates the written version of Oedipus the King, finding the prevalent mythological or archetypal characteristics in the text as well as common hero characteristics in Oedipus. The myth begins with a journey as Oedipus arrives in Thebes from his home in Corinth as the son of King Plybus. The ideas of heaven and hell are visible in the text.

A heavenly atmosphere is presented upon the arrival of Oedipus in Thebes after he solving the Sphinxs riddle, saving the citizens from her wrechedness. In the end of the story Oedipus departs Thebes to Kithairon to spend the remainder of his life blinded and disabled and to avoid being seen by anyone. This place represents a hell on earth that Oedipus must live through many years until his awaited death. The texts presents several examples of water and sky imagery.

Throughout the play violent sea and ship imagery emerge when speaking of the plague and its effects. For example Thebes is tossed on a murdering sea(prologue 27), and using words like bowstring.. Again, sky imagery is seen. Teresias plays the role of te mythological old wise man. Teresias is a blind prophet who speaks nothing but the truth and he warns Oedipus of hi fate. Finally, the myth has an overall god ending.

The tragedy and disgrace of Oedipus leaves the reader felling sorry for him and almost sick about his ironic tragedies, but overall, in the end the reader is left feeling good about the city of Thebes, and the reader knows that Thebes will get back to normal free of the plague. Though Oedipus brings an awful plague to Thebes, kills its previous king, and changes the lives of his mother and daughters forever he still processes the characteristics of a mythological hero. He his parents, King Laius and Jocasta, can be considered divine parents do to their royalty.

The Mysteries of Fate

Among the first thing a historian discovers in his study of early civilization are records of peoples belief, or faith, in powers greater than themselves, and their desire to understand what causes these powers to act. People everywhere wonder about the marvelous things in the sky and on the earth. What makes the rain? How do the plants and animals live and grow and die? Why are some people lucky and others unlucky? Some believe in free will while others believe in fate or destiny. In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of fate.

Gods and goddesses were believed to be responsible for the wonders of science, and the vagaries of human nature; therefore, according to the facts of this story, Oedipus was a true victim of fate for several reasons. Laius and Jocasta, the childless king and queen of Thebes, were told by the god Apollo that their son would kill his father and marry his mother (page 56). A son was born to them, and they tried to make sure that the prophecy would not come true. They drove a metal pin through the infants ankles and gave it to a shepherd, with instructions to leave it to die.

The shepherd pitied the little infant so he gave the child to another shepherd. This shepherd gave the baby to a childless king and queen of Corinth, Polybus and Merope. This royal couple named the boy Oedipus, which in its Greek form Oidipous means “swollen foot. ” Oedipus was brought up believing that Polybus and Merope were his real parents, and Lauis and Jocasta believed that their child was dead and the prophecy of Apollo was false. Many years later, he was told by a drunk man at a banquet that he was not a true heir of Polybus (page 55).

He then went to the oracle of Apollo, to ask the god who his real parents were. All he was told was that he would kill his father and marry his mother (page 56). He resolved never to return to Corinth, to Polybus and Merope, and started out to make a new life for himself elsewhere. He came to a place where three main roads met, and in the narrow place was ordered off the road and then attacked by the driver of a chariot in which an old man was riding. A fight started, and Oedipus, in self-defense, killed the old man and his attendants. The old man in the chariot was Lauis, king of Thebes, and the father of

Oedipus. Although Oedipus had not known it, he had killed his father and the first half of the prophecy of Apollo was fulfilled. Oedipus continued on his way and arrived at Thebes. He solved a riddle which saved the city from the sphinx. He became the king of Thebes, and then married a lady by the name of Jocasta. The prophecy of Apollo was now completely fulfilled. Oedipus having no knowledge of Apollos prophecy being true, cursed the individual who killed Laius to be banished from Thebes forever. After putting two and two together, it was he, Oedipus, who had killed Laius, his own father.

He did not go back on his word, and like a man, he dethroned himself as king, and banished himself from Thebes. Once again, he was destined to be dethroned and banished. Comparing my life with Oedipus, Ive discovered a great deal about free choice and destiny. I learned that one day, you can be the richest person alive, yet be the poorest person the next day and vice versa. In life, anything can happen, whether it is expected or unexpected. That is when fate overrides and overpowers free will. Free will is a choice that an individual decides to do or accomplish.

Destiny or fate is what just happens. No one knows when or how something will happen, but it will. Laius and Jocasta heard that their child will kill the father and marry the mother. Even after abandoning the baby and believing that he was dead, the prophecy was destined and somehow came true. With me getting caught for shoplifting was also destined. The voices I heard in my head was a warning, and I chose to ignore it but it was destined to happen. The day our lives end, we dont choose where we will go, we, I believe, are destined to be sent where we belong.

In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of fate. Like Oedipus, there was a time in my life when I too, felt like a victim of fate. The Greeks had an orderly explanation of the creation of the world. From this Greek tragedy, I learned more about their manners, customs and ideals. Ive grown to appreciate their love of beauty, their joy and laughter, as well as the sorrows they experienced in life. I also realized how great of power destiny and fate have over free will. The moral of this play I learned is that if its destined, it will sooner or later happen!

Oedipus The King by Sophecles

Oedipus the king written by sophecles when read for the first time the reader will realize that the audience already knows what is going to happen its just the way that the characters deal will with it. There is an oracle that says that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother. Sophecles examines the relationship between fate and free will. Fate being what some say is an excuse. For example if I said that I could not do what I wanted to do I could say it was fate, which is junk. What is fate? Fate is something that is supposedly set out for some one when they are born.

Fate pertaining to the play oedipus rex is that the mother queen locasta and the father king Laios have learned from an oracle that their son Oedipus was to kill his father and marry his mother. So in an effort to get away from this horrible fate, they give their son to a shepered to pierce his ankles and to never be seen again. They thought that was the end of it. Thus making Oedipus an outcast from his kingdom that when his father leaves is his to rule. But their son oedipus, who grows up in corinth finds that the king and queen there are not his biological parents.

He sets out to find his parents on the way he kills all but one man on a caravan that tried to run him off the road. (later to be found out that it was his father king lois. In the story sophecles uses fate and free will to keep the drama going There by making it a dramatic technique. Friedrich nietzsche talks about how finding out your fate before hand gives you knowledge of what oedipus wanted to not come true unconsciously has come true. (Neitzsche29blooms) This basically means that if Oedipus had lived with his parents and had his parents not have given him up he could have probably avoided all of this.

But since this did not happen Oedipus is forced to fend for himself. So fate is something that many people use an excuse for something that they have not yet accomplished. Also fate plays a big part in the play because Oedipus who finds out from creon that there is a killer among them, he does not know who was killed or that he had done the killing. Free will pertaining to the play is what the character in this case oedipus does to avoid the fate that the oracle has set out for him. This means that Oedipus is so determined to find out who the killer of the king is.

He goes throughout the play talking to people who might know anything about what went on before he became king. One person he talks to is terrisies. He is blind and basically says that oedipus is the killer of king Laios. Oedipus gets angry because that is a big charge. Also Oedipus has laid out a decree saying that whoever the killer is, is to be banished and not spoken to by anyone In the community. So terissies says that I should not be even talking to you because you are the killer. Es shucks burg talks about how freewill causes Oedipus to be strong and to find the killer.

This basically means that sophecles wrote Oedipus to be the strongest of all the characters until the very end. It is my opinion that if Oedipus was not strong there could have been consequences before the play even hit its high point. Oedipus had to be strong to learn that he was his father’s killer Oedipus had to be strong to learn that he was his fathers killer. Aristotle talks about the use of a reversal. This is when terisies said reveals that Oedipus is the killer and tells him this family on Cornish is not his family at all. Also this makes his kids his sisters rather than his kids, because his mother bore his kids.

T. b. l. Webster examined sophecles’ conception of the gods. By saying the gods administer justice n accordance with their laws. In he play Oedipus Rex they are unwritten and sure laws of the gods not for yesterday or today, but eternal. They are partly moral commands such as bury the dead avenge the dead commit no injustice And partly universal principles such as the danger of excess and the changes of human fortunes. For both there are analogies in other writings from the time of Hesiod onwards and sophecles is writing in an ell established tradition. (Webster cmlc.

Is says how the tradition of writing started, and says that the play was written very well according to Aristotle’s critique. It also says that back in the day everything depended on what the gods said. If the gods say kill your self they probably would do What the gods had said and if they did not they would face an ugly fate such as having to die slow or to not be able to have babies or to not be ale to see for the rest of your life.

There is a way to avoid all problems and that is to be you’re self and if something happens the make the best of it. E. S. uckburg says that a careful study of the play itself will suffice to show that the second of these two views is the true one. Sophecles has allowed Oedipus to put his case ably and he has been content to make jocasta a do the non thinkable by giving her son away, and not being exempt from human passion and human weakness. But none the less does he mean us to feel that, in this controversy, the right is wholly with her and the wrong wholly with her judge. (Shuckburg bloom29. ) This is what makes her cry when she finds out that she has slept with her son and that he is her husband’s killer.

When Oedipus finds out that he killed his father he then proceeds to tell his mother who stabs herself. After this happens Oedipus takes her brooches and proceeds to poke his eyes out as to not be able to see that the fate he once tried to get away from has now come true. In conclusion sophecles Oedipus the king was a very good play yet tragic, but it is good for telling someone how to deal with the fate. The play also tells us when to exercise free will and when to just give up and not try to find the truth.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles wrote “Oedipus the King” for the annual festival where playwrights competed for prizes. It was a major civic occasion, with attendance expected. Sophocles the writer is phenomenally good, especially considering his era. His writing is tight, with each phrase contributing to the whole. He is full of succinct observations on life. And despite the limits of the form, he often manages to make his characters seem like real individuals.

The title of our play is often given in its Latin translation “Oedipus Rex”, rather than in its original Greek (“Oedipus Tyranneus”), since the Greek term for king is the English “tyrant” which means a monarch who rules without the consent of the people. As the play opens, the priest of Zeus and a bunch of non-speaking characters (old people, children) appear before King Oedipus with tree-branches wrapped with wool. It was evidently the custom to do this in front of a god’s altar when you wanted something urgently. Oedipus greets them as a caring, compassionate leader.

The priest explains (really for the audience’s benefit) that Thebes is suffering from a plague. Plants, animals, and people are all dying. The people know Oedipus is not a god, but they believe that some god inspired him to solve the riddle of the sphinx and save the town. And since Oedipus has been king, he has done a splendid job. So now people look to him to find a cure for the plague. Oedipus explains (really for the audience’s benefit) that he has sent Creon (Jocasta’s brother) to the oracle of the god Apollo at Delphi to get an answer.

He’s late returning, but as soon as he gets back, Oedipus promises to do whatever the oracle says. Just then, Creon arrives. Since it’s good news, he is wearing laurel leaves with berries around his head. Creon says, “All’s well that ends well. ” (The Greeks loved irony. ) Apollo said that the killer of Laius must be found and banished, and the plague will end. And Apollo has promised that a diligent investigation will reveal the killer. Oedipus asks to review the facts. All that is known is that Laius left for Delphi and never returned. (Don’t ask what Oedipus did with the bodies of Laius and his crew.

There was no immediate investigation, because of the sphinx problem. One of Laius’s men escaped, and walked back to Thebes. (Don’t ask what Oedipus did with Laius’s horses and chariot. ) By the time he got back, Oedipus was being hailed as king. The witness said Laius was killed by a gang of robbers. (We can already figure out why the witness lied. And we’ll learn later that he asked immediately to be transferred away from Thebes, and has been gone ever since. ) Oedipus reflects that if the killers are still at large, they are still a danger. He decides to issue a policy statement to help find the killer.

The chorus, in a song, calls on the various gods (including Triple Artemis, in her aspects as huntress, moon-goddess, and goddess of dark sorcery), to save them from the plague and from the evil god Ares, who is ordinarily the god of war but is here the god of general mass death. Oedipus issues a policy statement, that whoever comes forward with information about the murder of Laius will be rewarded, and that if the killer himself confesses, he will not be punished beyond having to leave the city permanently. On the other hand, if anyone conceals the killer, Oedipus says he will be cursed.

Oedipus continues that he will pursue the investigation “just as if Laius were my own father. ” (The Greeks loved irony. ) The Chorus says that Apollo ought to come right out and say who the murderer is. (The Chorus’s job is to say what ordinary people think. ) Oedipus says, “Nobody can make the gods do what they don’t want to. ” The chorus suggests bringing in the blind psychic, Teiresias. Especially, they hope he can find the missing witness to the killing. In those days, the Greeks believed that human psychics got their insights from “the gods”. There are other stories about Teiresias.

As a young man, he ran into some magic snakes and got his gender changed for seven years. This enabled him to tell whether the male or the female enjoys sex more. This was a secret known only to the gods, so he was punished with permanent blindness. Teiresias comes in. Oedipus asks his help finding the killers, ending up by saying, “The greatest thing you can do with your life is to use all your special talents to help others unselfishly. ” Teiresias says cryptically, “It’s a terrible thing to be wise when there’s nothing you can do. ” (As A. A. Milne would say later, and perhaps Oedipus too, “When ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. Teiresias says, “I want to go home. ”

Oedipus calls him unpatriotic. Teiresias says, “Your words are wide of the mark (hamartia)”. Our expression in English is “You’re missing the point”. (Originally an archery target was a point. ) We’ll hear about hamartia again. Teiresias continues to stonewall, and Oedipus gets very angry. Finally Teiresias gives in, says Oedipus is the killer, and adds that he is “living in shame with his closest relative. ” Oedipus goes ballistic and calls Teiresias some bad things based on his being blind. Teiresias says, “You’ll see soon.

Oedipus understandably thinks this is a poltical trick to smear him, with Teiresias and Creon in cahoots. Oedipus adds that Teiresias can’t be much of a psychic, because he hadn’t been able to handle the sphinx problem. The Chorus tells both men to cool down. Teiresias leaves, predicting disaster. Soon Oedipus will learn the truth and be a blind exile, leaning on his staff. The Chorus sings about the oracle at Delphi, which was supposedly the center of the world. “Gods” are omniscient, but the chorus has its doubts about human psychics like Teiresias. Especially, they cannot believe Oedipus is a killer.

Creon comes in, incensed that Oedipus would accuse him of trying to smear him. The Chorus says Oedipus is simply angry. Creon says he must be nuts. The Chorus says that to the king’s faults and misbehavior, they are blind. (“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” — the norm in a non-democracy. ) Oedipus comes in and accuses Creon directly of planning a coup, using a smear by a crooked psychic as an excuse. They exchange angry words. Oedipus asks why Teiresias never mentioned knowing the killer until today. Creon can’t explain this. He defends himself from the accusation of planning a coup. ) Being king is too much trouble. (2) Creon has other worthwhile things to do. (3)

Creon has everything he needs. (4) Creon has political influence anyway. (5) Creon is well-liked and isn’t going to do an obvious wrong. “You build a good reputation over a lifetime. A single bad action ruins it. ” The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus isn’t satisfied. He says he wants Creon executed for treason. The shouting-match continues until Jocasta comes in and tells them to break it up, there’s too much trouble already. The Chorus says it agrees, and tells Jocasta that both men are at fault.

Creon leaves, and Jocasta asks what’s happened. The Chorus talks about what a fine king Oedipus has been, and says, “Let’s forget the whole business with Teiresias’s prophecy. ” The Chorus uses a variant of the proverb, “Let sleeping dogs lie. ” It’s better not to ask about things that can make trouble. The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus talks about it anyway. Jocasta says, “Well, I don’t believe in psychics. I’ll prove it. Laius and I were told that our baby would kill him and marry me. But this never happened, because we left the baby to die in the woods.

And the witness said that Laius was killed at that place where three roads meet by robbers. ” “Uh-oh”, says Oedipus. “Which three roads? ” The Greeks loved irony. Jocasta says, “It’s where the roads from Thebes, Delphi, and Daulis meet. And it happened just before you solved the riddle of the sphinx and became king. ” Oedipus is upset. He asks Zeus (chief god), “What are you doing to me? ” He asks Jocasta for a description. Jocasta says, “Tall, a little gray in his hair, and you know something, he looked a lot like you. ” The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus continues his questioning.

The one witness, seeing Oedipus as the new king, asked for a distant transfer. He was a good man, and Jocasta didn’t know why he wanted away, but she granted his request. Oedipus tells his story. He was going to the oracles to find out whether he was adopted. All of them told him simply that he would kill his father and marry his mother. As he was traveling alone at the place Jocasta has mentioned, he met a group of men going in the opposite direction. The men, including the leader, started insulting him. Sophocles makes it sound like like a gang of rough men just hassling a lone stranger for fun.

One of the men shoved Oedipus. Oedipus punched him back. The leader struck Oedipus treacherously on the back of the head with the horse staff, Oedipus turned and hit the leader in the chest with his own staff, knocking him out of the chariot. Then Oedipus managed to kill them all except for the one who ran away. It was justifiable, self-defense. But Oedipus is devastated. He says he must be the killer of Laius, and he is ashamed that he has been having sex with his victim’s wife. Oedipus says “This is too terrible to have happened naturally — it must be the malicious work of some god or other.

He says he will simply leave the city, now, and let the plague end. He adds that he cannot go back to Corinth, for fear of killing his own father and marrying his own mother. The Chorus is deeply sympathetic to Oedipus, and appreciative of his willingness to go voluntarily into exile to save the city. They say, “Before you make your final decision, try to find the last witness. Maybe he will exonerate you. ” And Oedipus notes, “The witness did say it was robbers, plural. ” Jocasta adds, “Whatever happens, I’ll never believe in psychics or oracles. Laius was prophesied to die by the hand of his own child. ”

The Chorus sings a puzzling song about how (1) we have to obey the gods; (2) the gods’s best gift is good government; (3) if the government is bad, there is no reason to be good; (4) nobody believes in oracles any more. Jocasta comes in, having visited the local shrines and left little offerings, and asks people to join her in praying for the distraught Oedipus. He’s our leader, and we need him now. She prays to Apollo to make this disastrous situation better. The Greeks loved irony. Just then, a messenger comes in from Corinth. He says “Lucky Jocasta, you lucky wife! ” (Actually, “Blessed is your marriage bed! The Greeks loved irony. )

The king of Corinth has died, and the Corinthians have chosen Oedipus to be their new king. (Greek city-states were often elective monarchies. ) Jocasta says, “Great news. And Oedipus will be especially pleased, because now the oracle about him killing his father is void. You see, I was right not to believe in oracles. ” The Greeks loved irony. Oedipus comes in, hears the news, and says, “Maybe the oracle has been fulfilled figuratively; perhaps he died of grief for my absence. But I’m still worried about marrying my mother. ” Jocasta says, “Forget it.

Life is governed by chance, not destiny. Maybe you’ll dream about marrying your mother. You should ignore dreams. ” Oedipus is still worried. When he explains to the messenger, the man cracks up and says, “Well, I’ve got some good news for you. You don’t have to worry about marrying the lady you’ve called mother… because you’re adopted! ” All hell breaks loose. Oedipus questions the messenger, and learns the messenger had been herding sheep, had met a shepherd who had found Oedipus, had taken the baby, had taken the pin out of his ankles, and had given him to the king and queen of Corinth to raise as their own.

Oedipus is starting to wonder about what has always been wrong with his feet. Oedipus says, “It’s time to clear this up. Send for the other shepherd. ” Jocasta realizes exactly what has happened. Jocasta begs Oedipus NOT to pursue the matter. Oedipus says he has to know. (If Oedipus wasn’t so intent on getting to the truth, there’d be no play. ) Jocasta runs out horribly upset. Oedipus is a little slower, and thinks, “Perhaps she’s upset to find out I’m not really of royal blood. But what the heck — I’m ‘Destiny’s child’ — and that’s something to be proud of!

I’m me. ” The Greeks loved irony. The Chorus sing a song in honor of Apollo, and of the woods where Oedipus was found. The say the spot will become famous. Perhaps Oedipus is the child of nymphs and satyrs. The Greeks loved irony. The other shepherd is brought in. He already has figured things out, and pretends he doesn’t remember. Then he begs the other messenger to be quiet. But Oedipus insists on the truth. It comes out. Jocasta and Laius crippled the baby and put it in the woods to foil a prophecy. Oedipus had, indeed, always wondered what was wrong with his feet.

Now everybody knows the truth. Oedipus rushes out. The Chorus sings a song about how transient happiness is, what a splendid king Oedipus has been, and how Oedipus is now the victim of destiny. The next scene is an extremely graphic account, by an eyewitness. Jocasta ran into the bedroom, screaming. She locked the door from inside. A few minutes later, Oedipus came in, and broke down the door with what seemed to be supernatural strength. He found Jocasta dead, hanging. Oedipus took the body down, then removed the pin that held up her dress.

He stabbed it again and again into his eyes, saying he has looked at his mother’s naked body when he shouldn’t, and he has learned what he now wishes he hadn’t. The blood didn’t merely dribble, as after a single needlestick. It gushed on both sides. For this to happen, the choroidal artery that enters the eye from behind must be severed. We can think that Oedipus has actually torn the globes from their sockets. Oedipus now begs to be taken out of the city (so that the plague will end), but he has no strength and no guide. Oedipus comes in. Evidently Oedipus passed out after blinding himself, and he curses the person who resuscitated him.

The Chorus asks, “How were you able to rip out your eyeballs? ” Oedipus replies, “Apollo gave me the strength to do it. ” Creon is the new king. He is not angry, merely kind. He helps Oedipus up and out of the city, guided by his two daughters. Staff in hand, Oedipus himself is the answer to the riddle of the sphinx. Oedipus says that some incredible destiny must surely await him. But the Chorus ends with a reflection on how transient human happiness often us: “Don’t say anybody is fortunate until that person is dead — the final rest, free from pain. ”

What is Sophocles saying? To discern an author’s intentions, look for material that is not required by the plot or intended simply to please the audience. In retelling the story of Oedipus, Sophocles goes beyond mere irony. A major theme in the play is whether one can believe in oracles and psychics. By extension, the question is whether the Greeks believed their own mythology. Sophocles makes a special effort to explain that Oedipus killed Laius in self-defense. More generally, Sophocles goes out of his way to present Oedipus as an extremely capable, beloved administrator.

Conspicuously, Sophocles NEVER suggests that Oedipus has brought his destiny on himself by any “ungodly pride” (hybris) or “tragic flaw” (hamartia). The last lines seem ambiguous. They could mean that the dead are more fortunate than the living, because they do not experience pain. Is life really that bad? “The gods” made the prophecies that led Oedipus into disaster. The sphinx appeared (she must have been sent by the gods), and Oedipus solved her riddle (the chorus says he must have been guided by the gods. ) Teiresias could not solve the riddle, or detect the killer — thanks to “the gods”.

At the beginning, Apollo’s oracle simply says, “Find the killer” — leading to the cruel ironies of the play. Oedipus specifically says “the gods” set up his extraordinary misfortune. And at the end, Apollo merely gives Oedipus the strength to carve his own eyes out of their sockets. In other words, Sophocles says that Oedipus’s frightful misadvanture is the intentional work of “the gods”. At the end, everybody says this. Pure and simple. Nobody even asks why. The Golden Age of Athens was a time for thinkers, scientists, inventors, and for people to share ideas freely.

Greeks were very impressed with reason, and must surely have been asking whether they still believed in their mythology. “Social conservatives” prosecuted Socrates for expressing doubts about “the gods”, but only because they thought this would corrupt the minds of young people. (Does this sound familiar? ) People have often noted that comedy and melodrama have arisen independently in many cultures, but that tragedy has its unique beginnings in Athen’s golden age — the first time that we hear people asking the tough questions about what they really believed.

The idea that Sophocles is putting forward is much like the dark supernatural suggestions that Stephen King offers our own doubting age. Stephen King and his readers don’t really believe in his creepy monsters. And I don’t know whether Sophocles really believed the message of “Oedipus the King”. Sophocles is saying, “Maybe the gods do exist… and are consciously and elaborately MALICIOUS. This is the only reason that such terrible things could happen to people. “

Oedipus as a Tragedy by Aristotle’s Definition

A tragedy by definition is “a drama which recounts an important and casually related series of events in the life of a person of significance, such events culminating in an unhappy catastrophe, the whole treated with great dignity and seriousness”. The Greek tragedies are plays based on myths which were well known and enjoyed by audiences. Most of the plays encompassed certain elements that Aristotle identified in his Poetics. The five Aristotelian elements for a tragedy are:

1. The tragedy must make the audience feel fear and pity toward the actions that take place on stage, and the play should inspire the audience to live better lives; 2. The hero must be of high importance in his society (king, god, etc. ), and possess a tragic flaw; 3. There must be a change of fortune involving a reversal; 4. The plays must be written in the formal language of poetry; 5. The plot must bring together the three unites of, Action, Time, and Place. Also, it is generally accepted that most tragedies end unhappily and contain a significant amount of dramatic irony. Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles in the 400’s BC, is about a young Greek who was fated to murder his father, marry his mother, and while in the process become the king of Thebes.

This play is no exception to Aristotles’ definition of a tragedy. The play includes all the key elements of a Greek tragedy, and also contains all the parts of a Greek play such as a Prologue, a Parados, an Episoda and Stasima, as well as an Exodus. In the prologue, Oedipus is introduced as the King of Thebes (which means he has a very high role in his society) and has just learned the reason that his kingdom has been cursed with a devastating plague. The gods have cursed Thebes because the murderer of the former King, Laius, was never punished.

Oedipus vows to avenge the death of Laius by finding and killing the murderer. This is ironic because Oedipus is the killer of Laius, and the audience knows this because they are already familiar with mythological background. This type of irony is known as dramatic irony, which is an important element in any Greek tragedy. The reversal in this play is most definitely when Oedipus hopes that his investigation of Laius’ murderer will bring him and his kingdom happiness; when in fact, the complete opposite of this transpires and the conclusion is catastrophic.

The plot itself follows Aristotle’s’ characteristics of the unity of Action, Time, and Place. The action is unquestionably a series of closely related events because all of the main incidents sequentially occur one right after the other. The plot’s time is most definitely within 24 hours, and the setting does occur in the same place (in the palace of Thebes). The other two elements that Aristotle includes in his definition of tragedy are: the language of the drama, and whether or not the drama evokes feelings of fear or pity for the action that is taking place on stage.

I’m sure that Oedipus the King made the audience feel pity for Oedipus, and the play probably did inspire the audience to live a better life. The play is written in the formal style of a poetry. In conclusion, Oedipus the King follows all of the characteristics of a tragedy by Aristotle’s definition. Including the fact that a tragedy uses direct action to recount a myth rather than a narrative voice. Finally, the end of the action is clearly unhappy which is probably the most important element of all tragedies.

King of Thebes

Oedipus has been made King of Thebes in gratitude for his freeing the people from the pestilence brought on them by the presence of the riddling Sphinx. Since Laius, the former king, had shortly before been killed, Oedipus has been further honored by the hand of Queen Jocasta. Now another deadly pestilence is raging and the people have come to ask Oedipus to rescue them as before. The King has anticipated their need, however. Creon, Jocasta’s brother, returns at the very moment from Apollo’s oracle with the announcement that all will be well if Laius’ murderer be found and cast from the city.

In an effort to discover the murderer, Oedipus sends for the blind seer, Tiresias. Under protest the prophet names Oedipus himself as the criminal. Oedipus, outraged at the accusation, denounces it as a plot of Creon to gain the throne. Jocasta appears just in time to avoid a battle between the two men. Seers, she assures Oedipus, are not infallible. In proof, she cites the old prophecy that her son should kill his father and have children by his mother. She prevented its fulfillment, she confesses, by abandoning their infant son in the mountains.

As for Laius, he had been killed by robbers years later at the junction of three roads on the route to Delphi. This information makes Oedipus uneasy. He recalls having killed a man answering Laius’ description at this very spot when he was fleeing from his home in Corinth to avoid fulfillment of a similar prophecy. An aged messenger arrives from Corinth, at this point, to announce the death of King Polybus, supposed father of Oedipus, and the election of Oedipus as king in his stead. On account of the old prophecy Oedipus refuses to return to Corinth until his mother, too, is dead.

To calm his fears the messenger assures him that he is not the blood son of Polybus and Merope, but a foundling from the house of Laius deserted in the mountains. This statement is confirmed by the old shepherd whom Jocasta had charged with the task of exposing her babe. Thus the ancient prophecy has been fulfilled in each dreadful detail. Jocasta in her horror hangs herself and Oedipus stabs out his eyes. Then he imposes on himself the penalty of exile, which he had promised for the murderer of Laius.

What has God done to me? Oedipus Let every man in mankind’s frailtyConsider his last day; and let nonePresume on his good fortune until he findLife, at his death, a memory without pain. Choragos Fate and the Hero in Oedipus Rex My literature professor, Dr. Rhoda Sirlin, asked the class oneSaturday afternoon whether Oedipus was a victim of fate or of hisown actions.

I ventured to say that maybe it was his destiny tosuffer, but Dr. Sirlin asked me to explain why Oedipus, in the act ofgouging his eyes out, cries explicitly: No more, no more shall you look on the misery about me, The horrors of my own doing! Too long you have known The faces of those whom I should never have seen, Too long blind to those for whom I was searching! From this hour, go in darkness! (Sophocles 830)Clearly, Dr. Sirlin pointed, Oedipus was aware that he alone wasresponsible for his actions. Moreover, Dr.

Sirlin also stressed thefact that if Oedipus was not responsible for his actions, then he couldnot be viewed as a tragic figure since he would be a mere puppet offate or the gods. I was not prepared to argue one so scholarly as theprofessor, so I stayed silent. Roy, the loquacious spokespersonof the class, and the professor then discussed Oedipus’s explosivetemper whether it was a tragic flaw or not, as seen in what theprofessor aptly called the earliest recorded incident of “road rage. “Dr. Sirlin believed that his volatile temper was one factor thatcontributed to his downfall.

I cannot remember now the salient pointsof Roy’s argument, but I do recall that I partook in the debate byurging the class to look at Oedipus as a hero who was trying to asserthis rights, as a hero who was trying to defend his honor, when heslew those who violated his right of way on that fateful day where thethree highways came together: There were three highways Coming together at a place I passed; And there a herald came towards me, and a chariot Drawn by horses, with a man such as you describe Seated in it.

The groom leading the horses forced me off the road at his lord’s command; But as this charioteer lurched over toward me I struck him in my rage. The old man saw me And bought his double goad down upon my head As I came abreast. He was paid back, and more! . . . I killed him. I killed them all. (Sophocles 819) I tried to support my contention by repeating what my historyprofessor, Dr. Martin Pine, taught me about the hero: the hero prizesabove all else his honor and the excellence of his life.

When his honoris at stake, all other considerations become irrelevant. My argument, Juanico 2however, failed to sway Dr. Sirlin’s opinion in my direction. Sheconcluded that Oedipus’s inability to control his violent anger was atragic flaw or what the ancient Greeks called hubris. Two ideas keptrecurring in my mind as the class finally ended that afternoon: fateand the hero. I knew instinctively that the thesis for my paper layburied in those two concepts.

After much arduous searching andsleepless nights reading, I now believe that fate victimized Oedipus,but he was a tragic figure since he was not a puppet of fate or thegods. Being a hero, he freely chose to pursue and accept his owndestruction. I will first focus my attention to the ancient Greeks’ idea of thehero. The hero is a person who possesses superior qualities of mindand body and who proves his superiority by doing great deeds ofvalor, strength, or intellect.

Oedipus was certainly a hero who wasexceptionally intelligent though one can argue that killing four men atPhokis singlehandedly more than qualified him as a physical force to bereckoned with. He undeniably knew his heroic status when he greetedthe supplicating citizens of Thebes before the palace doors saying: “Iwould not have you speak through messengers, and therefore I havecome myself to hear youI, Oedipus, who bear the famous name”(Sophocles 801).

The priest, speaking in behalf of the sufferingcitizens of Thebes, recognizes Oedipus’s heroic qualities when heentreats him to save the city from the plague: You are not one of the immortal gods, we know; Yet we have come to you to make our prayer As to the man of all men best in adversity And wisest in the ways of the God.

You saved us Juanico 3 From the Sphinx, that flinty singer, and the tribute We paid to her so long; yet you were never Better informed than we, nor could we teach you: It was some god breathed in you to set us free.

Sophocles 802)Donna Rosenberg, editor of World Mythology: An Anthology of theGreat Myths and Epics, states in her introduction to Greek mythologythat the hero “valued strength and skill, courage and determination,for these attributes enabled the person who possessed them to achieveglory and honor, both in his lifetime and after he died” (38). Gloryand honor were the most important goals of the hero, for theseguarantee him immortality.

The hero, being blessed with superiorqualities of mind and body, loved to engage in battle, preferably withanother hero, since combat gave him the best chance to demonstratehis excellence. D. Brendan Nagle, author of The Ancient World: ASocial and Cultural History, contends that the hero was alwaysbelligerent because he regarded combat as the “ultimate test ofhuman valor, strength, and ability” (91). Victory in battle, accordingto Nagle, justified his eminent position in his community (91). BothRosenberg and Nagle agree that death was the inevitable and finalfate of the hero.

The hero, Rosenberg acknowledges, “never forgotthat death was inevitably his ultimate fate” (38). Death was the sinequa non of a hero’s life since how he died was a “vindication” of whathe stood for in life; death would not take the hero in some “trivialaccident,” but at “the precise moment” destiny has assigned for his”exit” (Nagle 92). Yet, the hero never questioned his fate. Heaccepted his destiny by directing his energies to those aspects in hislife he could control: his honor and the excellence of his life(Rosenberg 38).

All other considerations were subservient to thesetwo values. Composed by Homer more than two thousand years ago, Juanico 4the exchange between Hector and Andromache, when she begs him notto return to the battle raging outside the walls of Troy, for it wasforetold that he would die in the hands of mighty Achilles, exemplifiesbest the essence of the heroic spirit: Andromache grasped his hand, and said, “O Hector! ur strength will be your destruction; and you have no pity either for your infant son or for your unhappy wife who will soon be your widow. For soon all the Achaeans will set upon you and kill you; and if I lose you it would be better for me to die. I shall have no other comfort, but my sorrow. I have no father and no mother: for my father Eetion was slain by Achilles . . . And I had seven brothers in my home, and all of them swift-footed Achilles slew; and my mother, who was Queen at Placos, died in my father’s house.

Hector you are father and mother and brother to me, and you are my proud husband. Come, take pity on me now! Stay on these walls, and do not leave your son an orphan and me a widow. ” To her in reply said Hector of the flashing helmet . . . “But I should feel great shame before the Trojans and the Trojan women of long robes if like a coward I should linger away from battle. Nor do I find that in my heart, for I have been taught to be brave always, and to fight in the forefront among the Trojans, winning great glory for my father and for myself.

One can see from the preceding passage that the hero will not evenconsider the needs and love of his family when his glory and honor areat stake. But it would be a mistake to view the hero as someone who isdevoid of compassionHector also shows how much he cares forAndromache as he continues talking to her: “For well do I know this, and I am sure of it: that the day is coming when the holy city of Troy will perish, and Priam and the people of wealthy Priam.

But my grief is not so much for the Trojans, nor for Hecuba herself, nor for Priam the King, nor for my many noble brothers, who will be slain by the foe and will lie in the dust, as for you, when one of the bronze-clad Achaeans will carry you away in tears, and end your days of freedom. . . . And then a man will say, as he sees you weeping, ‘This is the wife of Hector, who was the noblest in battle of the horse-taming Trojans, when they were fighting around Ilion.

This is what they will say: and it will be fresh grief for you, to fight against slavery, bereft of a husband like that. But may I be dead, may the earth be heaped over my grave before I hear your cries, and of the violence done to you. ” So spake shining Hector, and held out his arms to his son. (qtd. in Kitto 57)Oedipus, a hero of superior intelligence, also displays thisuncompromising attitude in his pursuit of the truth.

Compare this Juanico 5dialogue between Oedipus and Jocasta, when she begs him not topursue his inquiry regarding his origin, to that of Hector andAndromache and see the similarities: Oedipus. Do you know anything about him, Lady? Is he the man we summoned? Is that the man this shepherd means? Jocasta. Why think of him? Forget this herdsman. Forget it all. This talk is a waste of time.

Oedipus. How can you say that, when the clues to my birth are in my hands? Jocasta. For God’s love, let us have no more questioning! Is your life nothing to you? My own is pain enough for me to bear. Oedipus. You need not worry. Suppose my mother a slave, and born of slaves: no baseness can touch you. Jocasta. Listen to me, I beg you: do not do this thing! Oedipus. I will not listen; the truth must be made known.

Sophocles 825)Oedipus also demonstrates his compassionate nature when he tells theplague-stricken citizens of Thebes how he feels for their distress: Poor children! You may be sure I know All that you longed for in your coming here. I know that you are deathly sick; and yet, Sick as you are, not one is as sick as I. Each of you suffers in himself alone His anguish, not another’s; but my spirit Groans for the city, for myself, for you. (Sophocles 803)The hero’s conscious choice to pursue and accept his doom, however,makes him a tragic figure.

Bernard M. W. Knox, author of The HeroicTemper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy, points out that the hero hasto choose between his doom and an alternative “which if acceptedwould betray the hero’s own conception of himself, his rights, hisduties,” but in the end the hero “refuses to yield; he remains true tohimself, to his physis, that ‘nature’ which he inherited from his parentsand which is his identity” (8). Therefore, one can see Oedipus’sunwavering insistence to uncover the truth about the murder of Laiusand then about himself as proof of the hero’s resolute commitment touphold his own “nature.

Oedipus’s unyielding quest for the truth fitshis self-image as “a man of action,” “the revealer of truth,” and the”solver of riddles” (Knox 28). Knox adds that the hero’s Juanico 6determination to act is “always announced in emphatic, uncompromisingterms” (10). Oedipus proclaims his intention of finding Laius’s killersby saying, “Then once more I must bring what is dark to light”(Sophocles 804). When Jocasta begs him to cease his inquiryregarding his identity, Oedipus replies, “I will not listen; the truthmust be made known” (Sophocles 825).

The hero cannot be swayed bythreats or reason; he will not capitulate. One can only hope that thehero will realize the folly and error of his ways in time (Knox 26). Creon, after being accused by Oedipus of conspiring against the king,retorted, “You do wrong when you take good men for bad, bad men forgood. . . . In time you will know this well” (Sophocles 815). The hero,however, never learns in time; “he remains unchanged” (Knox 26). Oedipus, after his terrible self-mutilation, realizes that he treatedCreon unjustly: “Alas, how can I speak to him?

What right have I tobeg his courtesy whom I deeply wronged? ” (Sophocles 833). But laterCreon has to remind Oedipus that he is no longer king when he startsissuing imperious commands such as: “But let me go, Creon! “; “Takepity on them; see, they are only children, friendless except for you. “;”Promise me this, Great Prince, and give me your hand in token of it. “; “No! Do not take them from me! “(Sophocles 834-35).

The heroprovided the ancient Greeks the belief that in some chosen person”humanity is capable of superhuman greatness . . . at a human beingmay at times magnificently defy the limits imposed on our will by thefear of public opinion, of community action, even of death, may refuseto accept humiliation and indifference and impose his will no matterwhat the consequences to others and to himself” (Knox 57). Thisunyielding resolve to accept his doom, “no matter what theconsequences to others and to himself,” to bestow meaning to his life,gives the hero “a dignity, a nobility, and a grandeur that do not tarnishwith the passage of time. When he is most vulnerable, he is mostnoble” (Rosenberg 39).

Juanico 7 What about Oedipus’s fate? If fate victimized Oedipus, then he isnot a tragic figure since he would be just a mere puppet of destiny. Ido not subscribe to this view. I believe that Oedipus is a tragicfigure because it is his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, andhis fidelity to the truth that ruined him. Even though he is warnedmany times to stop seeking for the truth, he keeps on searching. Moreover, he is ignorant of the circumstances surrounding his birth( hamartia), which is another reason that makes him a tragic figure.

Aristotle explains that the nature of the tragic character is that of aperson who is eminently just and good, but whose misfortune is broughtabout not by some vice or depravity but by error, ignorance, orfrailty. Oedipus fits this description perfectly. According to E. R. Dodds, author of the essay “On Misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex,”the story of Oedipus fascinates us because of the spectacle of a man freely choosing, from the highest motives, a series of actions which lead to his own ruin.

Oedipus might have left the plague to take its course; but pity for the sufferings of his people compelled him to consult Delphi. When Apollo’s word came back, he might still have left the murder of Laius uninvestigated; but piety and justice required him to act. He need not have forced the truth from the reluctant Theban herdsman; but because he cannot rest content with a lie, he must tear away the last veil from the illusion in which he had lived so long.

Teiresias, Jocasta, and the herdsman, each in turn tries to stop him, but in vain: he must read the last riddle, the riddle of his own life. (23) Juanico 8 Yet it seems to me that fate has dealt Oedipus a bad hand rightfrom the start. The royal House of Thebes has a long history ofundeserved misfortune starting with the founder and Oedipus’sgreat-great-grandfather, Cadmus, and his wife, Harmonia. They wereboth turned into snakes by the gods.

All four of their daughters werevisited with great misfortune. One daughter, Semele, was killedby the splendor of Zeus. Ino, another daughter, committed suicide byleaping down from a cliff with her dead son, who was killed by hermad-stricken husband, in her arms. Agave, the most unfortunatedaughther, was driven mad into thinking that her son was a lion, and shekilled him with her own hands. Autonoe, the last daughter, had toendure the death of his son, who was turned into a stag by Artemis andlater was felled by his own hounds.

Edith Hamilton, author ofMythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, admits that thesemembers of the House of Thebes were innocent, but their fate was notpunishment rather “proof that suffering was not punishment forwrongdoing; the innocent suffered as often as the guilty” (256). Ibelieve that Oedipus inherited the curse of the House of Thebes. Oedipus, after knowing the ghastly truth, cries, “I, Oedipus . . . damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, damned in the blood heshed with his own hands! ” (Sophocles 828). After blinding himself, hequestions his fate: God. God.

Is there a sorrow greater? Where shall I find harbor in this world? My voice is hurled far on a dark wind. What has God done to me? (Sophocles 831)The chorus sings Oedipus’s fate after he rushes into the palace: Child by Laius doomed to die, Then doomed to lose that fortunate little death, Juanico 9 Would God you never took breath in this air That with my wailing lips I take to cry: For I weep the world’s outcast.

Sophocles 829)Furthermore, the prophesy proclaimed by the oracle is unconditional,and what the oracle foretells is “inevitably and inexorably bound tohappen no matter what Oedipus may have done to avoid it (Dodds 21). In conclusion, I want to reiterate my belief that Oedipus was avictim of fate, but he was no puppet because he freely and activelysought his doom though he was warned many times not to pursue it. Hispast actions may have been determined by fate, but what he did inThebes he did so as a free individual. He claimed full responsibility,as a hero would, when Choragos asked what god drove him to blindhimself: “Apollo. Apollo. Dear children, the god was Apollo. Hebrought my sick, sick fate upon me. But the blinding hand was myown! ” (Sophocles 831).

Sophocles ends this tragic story by warning usnot to take anything for granted lest we suffer like Oedipus: Men of Thebes: look upon Oedipus. This is the king, who solved the famous riddle And towered up most powerful of men. No mortal eyes but looked on him with envy, Yet in the end ruin swept over him. Let every man in mankind’s frailty Consider his last day; and let none Presume on his good fortune until he find Life, at his death, a memory without pain.

Oedipus The King, through the Eyes of Freud

Both Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents discuss the deeply rooted innate conflicts of mankind and the approach in which he may or may not overcome them. In Sophocles’ work, the internal conflicts are revealed as Oedipus develops a sense of guilt when he realizes that he has killed his father and married his mother. Freud invokes this concept and identifies with this Sophoclean sense of humanity’s tragic condition in his discussion of the symptoms of inner conflict and the feelings of guilt and unhappiness that indubitably arise from them.

Freud discusses the humanistic instinct for happiness in terms of the libidinal drive, Eros. On discussing mankind’s libidinal drive, Freud considers the pleasure principle, a notion that all people act in ways to increase personal enjoyment and happiness. “As we see, what decides the purpose of life is simply the program of the pleasure principle. This principle dominates the operation of the mental apparatus from the start. ” (Freud, 25) According to Freud, happiness can only be reached by total instinctual gratification, or, in much simpler terms, by having sex: mankind’s most intense pleasure and source of deepest happiness.

However, this is impossible, because in order for civilization to exist, men must employ their energies in the service of society, thus sacrificing individual personal satisfaction. Freud states that he is strongly concerned of the outcome of the inevitable conflict produced by the demands of man’s instinctual drive on the one hand, and the repressive requirements of civilization on the other. By creating substitute gratification, civilization is able to partially compensate individuals by redirecting libidinal energies into socially acceptable forms of bliss.

The purpose of society therefore becomes to divert mankind from individual sexual gratification into socially productive and acceptable activities, also known as the civilizing process. Therefore, this conflict is invariably resolved in favor of civilization as all people are born into a restrictive civilization in which human innate instincts are repressed at the expense of human happiness. Freud believed that in order to exist in this society, the mind must repress many of its primitive and sexual fantasies into an unconscious level, where they gain tremendous power to shape our thoughts, actions and especially our illnesses.

He stated, “If civilization imposes such great sacrifices not only on man’s sexuality but on his aggressiveness, we can understand better why it is hard for him to be happy in that civilization. In fact, primitive man was better off in knowing no restrictions of instinct. To counterbalance this, his prospects of enjoying this happiness for any length of time were very slender. Civilized man has exchanged a portion of his possibilities of happiness for a portion of security. ” (Freud, 73) The concept that no civilized man has control over his own happiness upon birth was presented in much earlier times, as seen in Oedipus the King.

In other words, a person’s happiness is in the hands of others. Unfortunate Oedipus was born into a cursed life because of his ancestor’s misdeeds and the punishment ordained by the Gods. It was predetermined that Oedipus would murder his father, and marry and sleep with his mother. Although he went out of his way to dodge this fate, and even lived a temporarily affluent life, the ultimate decree of the Gods could not be avoided. Oedipus unsuccessfully attempted to control the pitch of his life and his pursuit of happiness. What he did not realize was that his happiness was not in his authority.

Freud explains the never-ending struggle between the instinct of life and of death, in terms of the struggle between Eros and Death. Freud argues that the primary drive of the human organism, even more fundamental than the life instinct Eros itself, is the Death Instinct: the search for final homogeneity and release from all biological tensions. The dissipation of Eros, through the continuing repression of libidinal energies, leads to the destructive and masochistic aspects of the Death Instinct. In other words, the principle derivative of the Death Instinct is the instinct for aggression.

To reinforce his conviction, Freud wrote, “And, finally, what good to us is a long life if it is difficult and barren of joys, and if it is so full of misery that we can only welcome death as a deliverer? ” (Freud, 41) Freud’s ultimate deduction is that we live in a society in which total instinctual gratification, or true happiness, is suppressed while at the same time the Death Instinct begins to permeate through all our activities and institutions: an impenetrable lock on our lives. There is much similarity between the conflict found in Civilization and Its Discontent and Oedipus the King.

The notion of death as the primary drive in our lives is also found in Oedipus the King, indicating that Oedipus is no different than any other ordinary man. Oedipus is portrayed as a highly aggressive leader. Although he did not know that the man he had murdered at the crossroads was his father, this fact still proves that he was a vicious aggressor, for he was vile enough to kill a man for pushing him out of the way. The ambition of Oedipus indicates that the Death Instinct or aggression instinct plays a large role in shaping what type of character he is.

The murder of King Lairs, his father, followed by Oedipus’ ability to answer the riddle of the Sphinx allows Oedipus to take the bloodstained throne. When Oedipus’ glamorous life is shattered by the realization that Teiresias’ prophecy that he indeed was the true killer of his kin had come true, he cries out loud: “What can I see to love? What greeting can touch my ears with joy? Take me away, and haste- to a place out of the way… or kill me, or throw me into the sea… ” (Sophocles, 69) – words which are analogous to those of Freud’s, and indicate that he is, indeed, feeling the pull of the Freudian Death Instinct.

The Oedipus Complex is defined as “the family triangle of love, jealousy, and fear that is at the root of internalized morality and out of which grows the child’s identification with the same-sex parent. ” (Gleitman, 722) According to Freud, a comparable situation is reenacted in the childhood of every man and woman, rooted in the common male longing to sleep with his mother. While the male is still a small child, he will already begin to develop a special affection for his mother, whom he regards as belonging to him.

When the mother suckles the baby with her breast, it brings him pleasure. As he begins to grow older, the breast-feeding gradually becomes abandoned, and his only source of pleasure is taken away. The child then begins to see his father as a rival who disputes his sole possession. (Gleitman, 723) Oedipus is the namesake for this complex because in this ancient tale of tragic fate, Oedipus effectuates the two extreme wishes that arise from the child’s helpless situation with his father: the extreme wishes to kill his father and take his mother as wife.

The essence of Freud’s intuition in respect to Oedipus is that the way the son can emerge and become an actual adult is only through the death of the father, through which the son will take the place of the father at the head of the house and table; in the case of Oedipus, the son murders the father, wins his mother as his lover, and takes the place of his father at the head of the castle and kingdom.

After the prophet Teiresias told Oedipus the prophecy, “I say you are the murderer of the king whose murderer you seek. ” (Sophocles, 26) and “you… tablishing a grim equality between you and your children” (Sophocles, 28), Oedipus knew on an unconscious level that it was true, but he did not want to admit it to himself. He understood that he may have in fact killed his father and married his mother, but his stubbornness rejected the idea. Despite the roles played by the others in the story, the actions that Oedipus took were solely his own. Oedipus without knowing it identified with his father’s love of his mother and was aggressive towards his father because of it.

Sophocles gives further evidence to this case by having Jocasta say, “As to your mother’s marriage bed,- don’t fear it. Before this, in dreams too, as well as oracles, many a man has lain with his own mother” (Sophocles, 52). The importance Freud’s argument is not that Oedipus took this action to an extreme, but that all men have to deal with this feeling. His unconscious wishes came to fruition whereas most people keep it in the unconscious. According to Freud, those people that deal with the Oedipus Complex in the unconscious level may or may not deal with it in a healthy manner (Gleitman, 723).

Because of the way that they deal with the Oedipus Complex some people might develop neuroses that affect how they deal with other people on a day-to-day basis (Gleitman, 723). By examining Oedipus’ actions after he discovered the truth, we see that he could not deal with the Complex in a manner that he and society could accept. In effect, he becomes a neurotic, stabbing out his own eyes, and emptied of all pleasure and aggression, he pleaded for death instead. Civilization and Its Discontents implies that men cannot escape a paradox of guilt which springs from the Oedipus Complex.

If we do not suppress our aggressive instinct and instead carry it out, then we will be punished by civilization and we will feel guilt; on the other hand, even if we do suppress our instincts, we will eventually begin to think about them, and scold ourselves for thinking such wicked thoughts, and thus, still end up feeling some sense of guilt. When Oedipus slays his father, this act of aggression was not suppressed, but carried out. As a human being, living in a society in which murder was labeled as “bad,” Oedipus should have felt guilty for his transgression.

According to Freud, this act “was the same act of aggression whose suppression in the child in supposed to be the source of his sense of guilt” (Freud, 93). Because our instincts for aggression and libido are repressed in our minds by the super-ego, they may sometimes rise up into our state of consciousness, the ego. (Freud, 85) Freud writes, “A great change takes place only when the authority is internalized through the establishment of a super-ego. The phenomena of conscience then reach a higher state. Actually, it is not until now that we should speak of conscience or a sense of guilt” (Freud, 86).

By this definition, Freud means that our natural desire for libido clashes with the taboos imposed on our super-egos by society, thus creating the feeling of guilt. “The super-ego torments the sinful ego with the same feeling of anxiety and is on the watch for opportunities of getting it punished by the external world” (Freud, 86) Freud leaves the reader with the feeling that guilt is paradoxical, that “it makes no difference whether one kills one’s father or not – one gets a feeling of guilt in either case! Freud, 94)

His final note on guilt states that his studies and psychoanalysis still have no explanation or solution for this ancient and tragic problem. Society teaches people to place taboos on feelings of aggression, perversion, sexual desire, and destruction; these are the feelings that all men possess at birth, because these feelings are in fact, intrinsic to being human.

However, it is very possible for us to repress these inherent desires that naturally bring us pleasure; after all, it is civilization’s role to impress upon its people substitute gratification such as art, religion, politics, science, and other intellectual replacements so that we may redirect our libidinal energies away from the lost instinctual happiness. The actions of a person, the way in which he develops, and the overall concept of who he is: these are all shaped not only by civilization, but also by the way in which the individual comes to terms his own desires and instincts.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenians. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinxs riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinxs riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life.

The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life. Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. Oedipus the King by Sophocles is more than just a plain tragedy. This play is a suspense thriller, where every character involved with Oedipus learned that fate is determined only by the gods. In this specific play, Apollo was deciding god that predicted the fate of every person in the city of Thebes. This book represents a symbol of the lives of many, showing that you can not run away from fate because it decision that will forever remain.

It was written in the honor of, the god of theater, Dionysos. Also, for the annual festival where playwrights competed for prizes. It was a major public occasion, with immense attendance expected. This theatric happening was written in the turning point of the war that saved Greece from a huge Persian invasion. The actual time period when this play was performed was not recorded. But, it was when mythology and tragedy in theatre became very interesting and popular to watch. There were two main settings. A town in main Greece called Thebes and another place called Corinth.

At Thebes the play is mainly located in the exterior of Oedipus’ palace at Thebes. The main characters in this book are Oedipus, Tiresias, As the story progresses, however, Oedipus’ power and pride are broken down. Some readers imagine a broken, pitiful old man who’s been crushed by the avenging gods. From the script, it is clear that Oedipus is apparently handsome and well built. He is described as a “tower of strength,” and has a sharp way of looking at people. He is quick-tempered, and often acts recklessly and violently.

His followers love him, and consider him a brilliant ruler because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and brought ease to the city of Thebes as Oedipus became their savior. Oedipus also shows wisdom, love for his children and a reputation for high moral standards. Weve come to this conclusion because even when the threat, of whoever killed Lauis would suffer, applied to him he still followed through with the punishments. He has a passion for truth, and shows courage in the face of disaster or conflict. These same noble qualities, however, lead to his tragic flaw and brought upon his downfall.

His wisdom became hypocritical, and he refused to believe anyone who didnt agree with him. His love for his children becomes obsessive, and he refuses to see that he’s married his own mother. His passion for the truth and high moral standards trapped him into a deadly quest for the murderer of Laius, which resulted in being him. The one trait of Oedipus that did not change in the course of the play, was his strength and courage in the face of disaster. Every step he took to solve the mystery of Laius’ murder brings him closer to being revealed, yet he never stops searching for the truth.

But his courage and strength help him endure the pain and suffering that come with knowledge of what he has done. Tiresias is a wise, old man who has supernatural powers to interpret the past and predict the future. The fact that Tiresias is blind makes his imaginary abilities even more mysterious. This may also lead Oedipus to deny Tiresias’ ability to “see” the truth. At first Tiresias refuses to answer Oedipus’ questions about the prophecy. He appears as a character that was always a messenger for the gods. Therefore, when Oedipus insulted Tiresias, in the first scene, and accused him of being a false prophet.

Oedipus, however, did not realize that he was also attacking the gods while he was attacking Tiresias. Although his appearance in the play was short, Tiresias sets the tone of the moral and religious beliefs of the gods. He was interrogated by Oedipus, yet, withheld the important information in which he was not to reveal. Creon is Oedipus’ brother-in-law and a trusted assistant of the king. He is also third in command of Thebes as a political leader. The Chorus mentions that he is an honest man who is reliable, trustworthy, and sensible. When Creon has returned from the oracles at Delphi was when he was first seen in the play.

But honor is important to him- he is quick to defend his reputation and protest his innocence. Jocasta is the wife of Oedipus and his mother. She was first married to Lauis but then her son killed him. Early in Oedipus the King we realized that she was trying to mediate between Oedipus and Creon when they quarreled. She appeared to us to be a kind, gracious, and caring wife. When Laius was murdered she asked her brother, Creon to share her rule of Thebes. Oedipus solved the riddle of the Sphinx and became her second husband. The second half of the book begins after a priest confronts Oedipus asking for his help.

Oedipus needed to help the city from dying. Then, Creon, Jocastas brother, appears with a message. The message was an order from Apollo stating that in order for the city to rid themselves from the plague, they had to punish the beings involved in the murder of King Lauis. Although there is arguing within this matter, Oedipus promises to solve this horrific mystery. Then the question arose, who could the murderer be? Oedipus was talking to the chorus and at the same time trying to solve the mystery. Then, Tiresias entered the scene with important information that he withheld.

He was insulted by Oedipus and told everyone that they were very ignorant. He knew whom the murderer was but refused to tell. He said that what will come will come, even if I shroud it in silence At this moment Oedipus was very frustrated and scorned Tiresias. This resulted in Tiresias yelling out who the murder was. It was Oedipus. But as unenlightened as Oedipus is, he refused to believe Tiresias. They verbally fought back and forth and insulted each other. Then, Creon enters the scene. And as the search continues, Oedipus and Creon get into a disagreement.

Oedipus tells Creon that he is a traitor. Oedipus questions the messenger, and found out that the messenger had been herding sheep and had met a shepherd who had found Oedipus, had taken the baby, had taken the pin out of his ankles, and had given him to the king and queen of Corinth to raise as their own. Oedipus says, “It’s time to clear this up. Send for the other shepherd. ” Jocasta realized exactly what has happened. Jocasta begged Oedipus not to pursue the matter of searching for the murderer. Oedipus said he had to know only because the city was relying on him. Jocasta ran out horribly upset.

Hours later, the other shepherd was brought in. He had already figured things out of why he was there, but pretended he did not remember a thing. Then, he begged the other messenger to also stay quiet. However, Oedipus insisted on the truth. It was revealed that Oedipus was the murder of Lauis, his father. Oedipus learned that long agoJocasta and Laius crippled their baby and put it in the woods to end the prophecy before it began. Now everybody knew the truth. The baby of Jocasta and Lauis was Oedipus. He now realized that Creon and Tiresias were correct in their beliefs. Oedipus rushed out.

The next scene was an extremely graphic anecdote. Jocasta ran into the bedroom, screaming. She locked the door from inside. A few minutes later, Oedipus came in, and broke down the door with what seemed to be supernatural strength. He found Jocasta dead, hanging. Oedipus took the body down, and quickly removed the pin that held up her dress. He stabbed it again and again into his eyes, saying he has looked at his mother’s naked body when he shouldn’t have, and he has learned what he now wishes he had not. It was said that Oedipus had actually torn the globes from their sockets.

Oedipus then begged to be taken out of the city of Thebes to end the plague. Yet he had no strength and no guide. Oedipus comes in. Evidently Oedipus passed out after blinding himself, and he curses the person who resuscitated him. The Chorus asks, “How were you able to rip out your eyeballs? ” Oedipus replies, “Apollo gave me the strength to do it. ” Oedipus felt that any man who committed the crimes of which he commited should suffer greatly or be exiled. As you can see, Oedipus was a victim of fate and Apollos prophecy had been solved by the city of Thebes.

Which theme seems most important to you: the dangerous effects of power, or the need for a nation to reform itself? In all three plays you are repeatedly asked if Creon is a cruel or a fair ruler, a ruel or a fair human being. – the plays trace the downfall of Oedipus from a position of wealth and power to a position of despair and sorrow to a position of inner peace. In the beginning Oedipus seems to be a child of fortune who gained a kingdom by solving the riddle of the Sphinx. In the middle he appears to have been irrevocably doomed by a prophecy before he was even born.

And by the end he has found a sort of contentment as he dies with his beloved daughter Antigone by his side. Oedipus’ unforeseen reversal of fortune suggests we cannot accurately predict our future- or escape our past. – The exact nature of fate, the uncontrollable forces that influence us, is clearly shown in the role that the gods play in revealing the truth of the oracle’s prophecies to Oedipus. Although he does all he can to live honestly and avoid the crimes prophesied for him, Oedipus can’t escape the relentless fate that pursues him. Creon tries to manipulate fate in his favor, but he fails.

Inevitably the oracle’s prophecies are fulfilled. – Oedipus’ downfall symbolizes the spiritual bankruptcy of the state. Sophocles meant this to pertain not just to the Thebes of the play, but also to his contemporary Athens. The plague that begins he play is viewed as a punishment from the gods, and only when the sins of Oedipus have been punished and purged is Thebes restored- for a time- to spiritual harmony.

The loss of the city’s spiritual faith is seen in Oedipus’ denial of Teiresias’ power to predict the future, and in Iocaste’s refusal to believe in the ability of prophets to speak for the gods. Oedipus and Creon share the same tragic flaw. They refuse to compromise or to humble themselves before others. They stubbornly refuse other characters the right to express opinions different from their own, and they abuse their power to force others to accept their points of view. Oedipus is so arrogant and self-confident that he even challenges the will of the gods. This leads directly to his downfall, and he is harshly punished. – All the characters in the plays search for a final truth of some kind to guide their lives.

The most obvious search for truth is Oedipus’, but even the minor characters are looking for answers to the meaning of life. The herdsman, for example, has waited many years to reveal the truth of Laios’ murder, and is finally given the chance to tell his story when Oedipus summons him to Thebes. Even Iocaste is given the opportunity to discover the truth of Oedipus’ early years efore he became king of Thebes. The Chorus, too, is searching for a truth- the moral lesson to be learned from Oedipus’ tragedy. Teiresias alone stands as a figure who can see truths hidden from all but the gods.

Several characters are willing to sacrifice themselves to save Thebes from destruction or for what they believe is right and just. Creon, for example, is ready to die in order to save the city. Teiresias offers to have himself killed when Oedipus suspects him of betraying the trust of the sacred city of Delphi. Iocaste hangs herself to save her honor. Oedipus blinds himself for murdering his ather and marrying his mother, but will not die until he has paid for his sins, to save the city.

Antigone dies because she insists on giving her brother Polyneices a proper burial. Another theme is that suffering leads to wisdom and self-knowledge. Although the ways of the gods are sometimes harsh and cruel, Oedipus finally recognizes and accepts the oracle’s prophecy as it was predicted at his birth. You hear the wisdom he gained from his suffering when he prays to the gods for forgiveness and humbly asks for mercy at the conclusion of Oedipus the King. The four themes in this play are religion, geographic influences, economic development, and society. The first of the four is religion.

Religion was very substantial to the citizens in Thebes. They believed in many gods, which made them believe in Polytheism. An example of this was that they talked about more than one god in the play. They thought that each god had their own superiority. Like, Apollo, who was the god of the sun, was looked up to by many. People believed his prophecies and respected him. And like Zeus, who was father of the gods, was called upon Oedipus. In addition to those two themes, the third one is economic development. One big economic deveoplemt was when Creon became king.

When Creon became king the plague had vanished since the city had found the murderer of Lauis. This allowed crops and livestock to prosper along with jobs. Hopefully Creon could improve the cities condition and get them back on there two feet. Last but not least of the four themes was the Society, which was very significant to the city. The society was the most important part because it was made up of gods. From the incident of Oedipus and the wrongdoing of Lauis and Jocasta the society of Thebes learned that fate cannot be maneuvered.

They learned this the hard way by suffering the plaugue which was brought by Oedipus but caused by Apollos property. They controlled everything along with fate. Society included everyone. The men had the most important role. Oedipus’ search for the truth lead him to the discovery that he was not a “child of luck,” but a “man of misfortune. ” His fate was determined years before his birth, as proven by the prophecy of the oracles. All he could do was live out his destiny, but he did this with such dignity and heroism. Oedipus showed great nobility even in suffering and despair.

At the end of Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus pursued the truth to its horrible conclusion. Having blinded himself, Oedipus was a broken and shaken man. But he also became a model for people to imitate. He has shown what it means to endure in the face of defeat. He has shown what it takes to survive in a world that is ruled by unpredictable fate. He has shown the true meaning of suffering and despair. When you think of Oedipus, remember that he suffered for all of us, so that everyone can know the truth about ourselves in a world that will always be hostile and cruel.

Oedipus At Colonus

Sophocles was a Greek playwright who lived during the 5th century b. c. The Oedipus Cycle is one of his most famous works; the trilogy of plays traces the ill-fated life of a noble blooded man and his descendants. Oedipus at Colonus is the second play of the set. Oedipus at Colonus is set many years after Oedipus the Rex, and Oedipus has changed his perspective on his exile from Thebes. He has decided that he was not responsible for his fate and that his sons should have prevented his exile.

His view has changed from the previous play when Oedipus proudly claimed responsibility for his actions, blinding himself and begging for exile. Although Oedipus seems to have traded his former pride for kindness he regards himself as someone who is more knowledgeable of the gods then that of the other citizens. As the play progresses his pride returns and shows that he hasn’t truly changed his old ways. Unlike the first play Oedipus, as well as the other characters, don’t seem important and religious themes are now stressed.

The relationship between blindness and exile is also explored throughout the play through the actions and words of the characters. The theme of blindness is continued from Oedipus rex with the people who interacted with him to be blind at seeing him for who he is. From the people of Colonus to Oedipus’ own son and brother-in-law, the people Oedipus interacts with only see his strength and power. As the play begins, Oedipus and Antigone stop to rest on a section of land. Oedipus believes this land to be the place where he will remain until his death.

The citizens of Colonus go to this place to inform Oedipus that his desire to remain on this land is impossible because it is sacred to the town, but are convinced otherwise when Oedipus tells them of his prophecy. Also included in Oedipus’ prophecy it is said that the land his body is buried in will be blessed by the gods. Theseus agrees to grant Oedipus’ request to bury him at Colonus and continues to explain to Oedipus that there will be a war between his two sons for his body.

With this said Theseus leaves. Creon enters with his guards and when Oedipus refuses to leave with him they kidnap Antigone and Ismene. Hearing the commotion Theseus returns and tell Creon that he brings shame to Thebes with his bullying behavior. In an attempt to justify his actions he brings up the crimes committed by Oedipus. Theseus promises Oedipus to bring his daughters back to him. Creon reminds them that this isn’t the end of the battle for Oedipus’ body and promises to return with a full army.

Returning with Oedipus’ daughters, Theseus brings word that a stranger has wandered into town wishing to speak with Oedipus. Realizing that it is his son Polynices Oedipus refuses to speak to him. After some persuasion Oedipus agrees to speak with his son as long as Theseus protects him from abduction. Oedipus refuses to support Polynices and tells him that both he and his brother will die by each other’s hand because he cursed them when he was exiled. Being denied by his father Polynices turns to his sisters asking for only a proper burial if he is killed in battle.

Antigone asks that he call off the war but he refuses. Sensing his death drawing near Oedipus once again sends for Theseus. With the last of his strength Oedipus leads Theseus to the spot where he is to die and as a last request makes Theseus promise to look after his daughters. To ensure that Theseus and his heirs will always rein over a blessed kingdom the location is to be kept a secret only to be passed down upon the kings’ death. Ending the play Antigone and Ismene leave for Thebes after there fathers death to try and prevent the war between there brothers.

The Transformation of Oedipus

When Oedipus, as a young man, first learned from one of Apollo92s oracles that he was destined to murder his father and marry his mother, he fled his home in Corinth, attempting to defy the prophecy, and he wandered the roads of Greece. In hi s wanderings he happened upon another traveler who obstructed his path. Being too proud to detour from his course and let this other man through, Oedipus killed him. He went on to become king of Thebes by marrying the residing queen, Jocaste. Under Oedipus92 rule, the city saw immediate and lasting prosperity.

But fifteen years own the line, a plague swept over Thebes, and the only cure for the city92 s troubles was for its former king Laius92 murderer to be brought to justice. Laius had disappeared fifteen years earlier, shortly before Oedipus arrived in Thebes and solved the riddle of the sphinx, freeing the city from its clutches. Oedipus sends for the omniscien t Tiresias, who is reluctant to reveal the implicating information to the king, but Oedipus 92 refuses to let his pride falter, so he blindly pursues the identity of the murderer, unawar e that he is on a mission of self-incrimination.

Tiresias92 words lead Oedipus to learn that Laius was his both his father and the former king of Thebes, not to mention the traveler that Oedipus killed on his passage to Thebes. So he punishes himself by gouging out his eyes, in retribution for his crimes. It is often said the Oedipus was fated to doom, that he could have done nothing; to the contrary, Oedipus spent every moment of his life digging his own grave. His excessive pride and arrogance, as well as his notion that he could challenge a prophecy from the gods, were the shovel he dug with.

All the important decisions he made in his lifetime, he made with this hubris. His judgements were all the foundation or his demise; he, not fate, constructed his path to doom. After the drunkard at a party in his home of Corinth blurted out 93You are not your father92s son,94 Oedipus embarked on a journey to Delphi to learn the vali dity of this statement. But he learned much more important matters upon arriving, namely the infamous prophecy that he would kill his father and couple with his mother, who, to his knowledge, were Polybus and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth.

So Oedip us abandoned his life in the city of those who had raised him. This outright mocking of the gods92 prophecy was a big step in Oedipus92 downfall. He thought he could outrun the prediction, but instead, his arrogance pushed him into its grasp in Thebes, where his real parents, Laius and Jocaste, reigned. His own pride would again bring him to fulfill the destiny he dreaded so much on the way to Thebes. He would not stray slightly from his path to let Laius by, and he killed him.

Oedipus had much more pride than it took to simply attempt to invalidate the prophecy by refraining from murder altogether; his arrogance led him to kill a stranger. Had he been able to swallow his conceitedness and let Laius by, Oedipus woul d not have roceeded to the midpoint of the prophecy. By killing his father, he fulfilled the first half of it. Oedipus goes on believing that his Corinthian caretakers were his biological parents up to and through the death of Polybus, who fell of natural causes.

In fact, this reinforces Oedipus92 false belief that he could defy Apollo92s prophecy, furthering his pompous nature. Tiresias sees that Oedipus92 pride counters his desire for the excruciating truth, and hesitates to tell him. To Oedipus, this is a challenge of the king92s authority. He wants desperately to prove to the people of Thebes that he ha s saved them efore and can do it again. Unwilling to accept defeat before the populatio n of the city, he accuses Tiresias and Creon of treason. As he pushes Tiresias for more information on Laius92 murderer, he pushes for his own defeat, visionless from his own pride.

Not content with Tiresias92 riddle that reveals to the audience, who are not blind like the Thebian king, that Oedipus is the killer, Oedipus probes deeper into the mystery. He disregards the beckoning of his wife Jocaste to not look further into the puzzle and becomes a detective on the trail to expose himself. Determined not to look weak in front f Thebes, Oedipus has neglected the warnings of both a prophet and his wife . He tries looking everywhere but inside himself, where the answer is closer.

He would have saved himself loads of trouble had he only taken a step back from the entire fiasco, and seen that all leads point the finger at him. But his pride was his blindfold, hi s hubris his downfall. In the end, Oedipus learns what has been under his nose the whole time, what he was unable to see because of his tragic flaw. The flaw that has been killin g him slowly since his birth. Oedipus92 arrogance took away his eyes, and it is ironic that only when he hysically gouged out his own eyes with Jocaste92s pins was he able to see.

At that point, he knew that he could not escape the prophecy; he knew that was too proud to ever make a correct judgement. Before, Oedipus was the epitome of what was desired in society; he had power, a wife, and wealth. Alas, his wife committed suicide, and he renounced his reign over Thebes, rejecting the power and the wealth. But in doing so, he gained something infinitely more valuable yet infinitely less tangible: wisdom. He gained insight into himself, something he had lacked for all his life. Hubris killed Oedipus the King, and humility created the new Oedipus.

Dealing With Fate: The Story of King Oedipus

Thebes is struck by a plague; the citizens are dying, and no one knows how to put an end to it. The people look to their great king, Oedipus to save the city. Oedipus, being a great king takes responsibility for saving the people and the great city of Thebes. As the play progresses, Oedipus comes to realize that he is the plague on the city. After realizing that he is a pawn of the Gods, Oedipus still takes responsibility for saving the city, even when the cure is the expulsion of himself.

Eventhough he expresses great anger towards the Gods or his unfortunate fate, he takes the ultimate responsibility for his actions, and for the actions of the Gods. Oedipus gives up his thrown, his family, and his sight all for the sake of Thebes, proving that he is a man of great duty and honor. At the beginning of the play, Oedipus announces his willingness and power to solve the mystery at hand. He takes it upon himself to once more, bring what is dark to light (11). He is passionate to find the killer, at first out of self motivation sighting the fact that the killer might come after him.

By avenging the murdered king I protect myself (11). When he is angered by the silence of Teiresias he decides to take the sons part, just as though I were his son… (16). Oedipus shows how passionate of a leader he is by taking a personal approach to solving the problem. He is greatly angered by Tiresias, whom he believes may be one of the conspirators. Like any passionate man, Oedipus continues to rile Tiresias up, hoping that he may gain the truth to the riddle. Eventhough in reality Tiresias does tell of what will come, Oedipus is unsatisfied.

He has grown so ardent about solving the mystery, that he doesnt ven see the truth in front of him. Even when Tieresias tells him: You mock my blindness, do you? But I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind: you cannot see the wretchedness of your life, nor in whose house you live, no, nor with whom… But the double lash of your parents curse will whip you out of this land some day, with only night upon your precious eyes (22-23). Despite the foreshadowing, Oedipus takes the advise lightly and continues his own search for justice.

Despite the disapproval of Iocasta, Oedipus continues to search for the truth of what the prophet said. Iocasta tries to ensure him that the prophets are wrong in predicting the future, and that the matter should not be further investigated. Oedipus, being a righteous man, continues to search, even when it begins to look like the answers lie within himself. When he realizes that he killed a group of men along the side of the road, mirroring the story that he had been told of the death of the king, Oedipus begins to accept his ill fate stating, … If I was created so, born to this fate, who could deny the savagery of God(44)?

He is angered by the Gods plan which has already been xecuted without him knowing it. He begins to realize the truth behind the prophecy. At this point, Oedipus could ignore the new information that he discovered, but being an honorable man, he continues to search for the truth. At this point, Oedipus begins to take responsibility for himself on top of already taking responsibility for the city. After speaking to his last witness, Oedipus uncovers the real truth: he is the son of Laios, whom he has murdered; husband to the queen, who is his real mother. The Gods were obviously against him.

Accepting his fate, the great king knows what he must do: Ah God! It was true! All the prophecies! -Now, o light, may I look on your for the last time! I, Oedipus, Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, damned in the blood he shed with his own hand (64)! Oedipus takes a knife and gouges out his eyes. He begins making the arrangements for his exile, apologizing for his fate and for his actions. He claims that though Apollo ordained his fate, it was him who pierced his own eyes. His banishment allows the rest of his destiny to finally be his own. In exile, Oedipus finally has his freedom.

As he promised at the beginning of the lay, he has saved Thebes, the cost of which is his sight, his fortune, and his power. He leaves Thebes the same way as when he had first come, as a hero, whether others recognize him as one or not. He again saves the city, but his actions previous actions which come to light have made him appear to be anything but a hero. Oedipus is not a perfect man. He has excessive pride and is very self-righteous in a many of his actions. He is not a super hero, and does nothing that any man in his position couldnt do. Yet, continues to hold certain traits during the entire course of the plays.

Oedipus shows great strength and courage in the face of disaster. As the net of guilt tightens on him with each revelation about the truth of the prophecy, Oedipus remains strong and resolved. Every step he takes to solve the mystery of Laios’ murder brings him closer to self exposure, yet he never hesitates to pursue that truth. He continues to be honorable. When the last piece of the puzzle falls into place, Oedipus the detective has become Oedipus the criminal (Knox). But his courage and strength help him endure the pain and suffering that come with knowledge of hat he has done.

Oedipus eventually realizes that even though he has sight, that he could not see. This is the reason that he takes his own eyes, for it is the only way for him to see the truth which lies inside of him. His spiritual blindness that lead to ignorance of the past, is replaced by physical blindness. He may be blind, but he can now see. He leaves his kingdom and he imparts on a journey of which the fate of is unknown to him. He proves his honor as a ruler through the actions which he takes on his own, not reflecting the plan of the Gods.

At any point, Oedipus could have ceased to pursue the truth which he eventually saw leading towards him. At any time, Oedipus, having the power which he had, could have had another man executed or banished for his crimes. Instead, Oedipus took the ultimate responsibility, paying whatever price it meant. In the end, Oedipus saves the city of Thebes twice: once from the great Sphinx who plagued the land, and once from himself. To Oedipus, country came before any individualistic rights or privileges. The truth did eventually set the great king Oedipus free.

Roman Culture – Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King is widely regarded as a tragedy of fate. Briefly stated, it begins with a terrible plague that destroys the city. King Oedipus sends a messenger to the oracle at Delphi to find a cure. The answer that is received suggests to find out who the killer of King Laios was. Oedipus sends for the prophet Teiresias, who after much arguing, finally reveals that Oedipus himself is the murderer.

Slowly but surely the history of Oedipus’ situation begins to unravel, and it is discovered that there was a prophecy made that he would unwittingly kill his father and marry his mother; Oedipus fulfilled his prophecy. The conflict here lies with the struggle between the all powerful gods and the mere will of the humans. The prophecy had been made about Oedipus as soon as he was born. Once the destiny was foretold by the gods, no amount of hope, faith, or vain effort by human beings could have prevented it. As soon as there was interference with fate, it was counteracted by the divinities.

Jocasta wanted to kill the baby, so she skewed his legs together, had a servant bring him to the forest and leave him for dead. The servant does not want to carry out this deed and therefore “saves his life” by handing the baby to someone else, so that he can be raised in another city. Further, a drunken man in a tavern tells Oedipus about the prophecy, so he runs home to question his parents about his fate. Instead of telling him the truth, they give him the impression that they are in fact his biological parents.

The idea that must be pointed out here, is that once an oracle or a prophet makes a prediction, it is destined to be and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Oedipus was highly regarded as a noble and honorable king. However, if we explore beneath the exterior, we will discover that in actuality, the King has many faults and is not so honorable and noble. Oedipus seems to be driven by an unconscious rage. Being very short tempered, he is quick to lash out at those whose opinions are different from his.

The first episode appears within the first few minutes of the play. When Teiresias refuses to tell him who murdered King Laios, Oedipus becomes unjustly enraged, which in a way suggests that he himself could have committed the murder. He then proceeds to insult Teiresias violently. Teiresias is finally provoked into telling Oedipus the truth; that he is responsible for the death of King Laios. Oedipus then accuses him of lying and conspiring with Creon against him. As the story continues, we see how Oedipus is easily irritated by a few words from a drunken man in a tavern.

This once again shows his short temper. Ironically, it was those words that sent him off to fulfill the prophecy in the first place. On his way out of Corinth, we catch a glimpse of another volatile explosion. He becomes involved in a scuffle with a band of men at a crossroad. In his fit of unleashed anger, he attacks and kills the men, not knowing that one of the men is King Laios. The problem with Oedipus seems to lie within his internal character structures. He is full of anger and rage that is expressed as quickly as it is forgotten.

Oedipus is stubbornly resistant to the full details of the story, always attributing these events to mere coincidence. His ignorance comes from his fear of the appalling horror of the possible truth and it’s devastating implications. The question of morality surfacing leads one to sympathize with Oedipus. How could the gods be so cruel? How could this be justified by simply saying that it was “the work of fate”? Was it in fact fate to begin with? These questions and many more like it have been raised countless times.

Few concrete answers have been found, and there is much debate over even the slightest points. A conclusion that can be drawn, is that the plot of Oedipus the King was entirely predestined. The characters and circumstances surrounding the events were all simply instruments of fate which nobody could prevent or alter. Ultimately, Oedipus cannot be held responsible for his actions, because fate was immutable from the outset. It may not have been fair, kind, or just, but the future was preordained and irrevocable.

Creons Defense to Oedipuss Accusations and Their Relevance

The role of the king in the time of Greek tragedies was simultaneously desired and dreaded because of the kings responsibility to the people and because of the effects of the position on the kings character. Creon reveals such ambivalent thoughts towards the kingship in his speech defending himself from Oedipuss conspiracy accusation in Oedipus the King; these ambivalent thoughts reveal much about the nature of the kingship, especially in conjunction with Creons later actions in Antigone.

In attempting to refute Oedipuss assertion that Creon has taken part in a conspiracy to obtain the kingship, Creon evaluates the nature of the kingship and of his present role. First, he says, “Consider, first, if you think any one/ would choose to rule and fear rather than rule and sleep” (36. 584-585). By this, Creon means that the main difference between his position and the kings is that of the accompanying action to ruling. In both positions, one is a ruler who holds great power over the state.

However, the king is placed in a greater place of accountability to the people. This accountability is what Creon says inspires “fear” in the king, for if affairs of state or of the people fall into decline, the king is the first person whom the citizenry look to blame. This is analogous to executive leaders throughout history, as one can see in looking at American presidents and the correlation between the present conditions and events of the nation to the publics opinion of the president, regardless of the actual impact that his decisions may have made in these conditions.

Creon maintains that he has the same amount of power as the king but without the accountability that inevitably leads a king to distress. Creons reasoning concerning the equality between his power and Oedipuss leads him to state: I was not born with such a frantic yearning to be a king- but to do what kings do. And so it is with every one who has learned wisdom and self-control. (36. 587-590) He means that he has never desired the position of king, because he sees no advantage over his present position in the state.

Rather, he sees the disadvantage of the fear that accompanies the position of king. Creon has evaluated this situation for his circumstances and then goes further in stating that anyone with wisdom and self-control would come to such a conclusion as well. This could be interpreted as an insult to Oedipus in two different ways. Creon could mean that Oedipus and anyone else who desires and assumes the kingship are by nature not people of wisdom and self-control- or he could be saying that the position of the kingship is one that strips an individual of his wisdom and self-control.

In support of the assertion that the kingship changes ones character, one could point to the events of Antigone and Creons striking change in character in the play. In Oedipus the King, Creon reveals himself to be a reasonable ruler, who makes rational decisions and is not quick to anger, as is revealed by his calmness in his responses to Oedipuss heated accusations. However, in Antigone, Creon has become prideful and irrational. His dealings with Antigone and Teiresias and his stubbornness in the play indicate a change in his character.

In fact, his actions, especially in his dealings with Teiresias the prophet, are very similar to Oedipuss actions in Oedipus the King. Just as Oedipus had done before him, Creon refuses to completely believe Teiresiass prophecies for the state. Creon also emulates his predecessors actions in his accusation of bribery directed towards Teiresias: “Out with it-/ but only if your words are not for gain” (201. 1128-1129). Creons words and actions in Antigone indicate that he has taken on the negative characteristics of king that he describes in his speech in Oedipus the King.

He has same amount of power as king, but he now seems to have lost his wisdom and self-control. This indicates that perhaps his words to Oedipus are, in fact, mainly an insult to the position of king and to what it evokes from a persons character rather than an insult solely directed towards Oedipus. Creon also feels that the king is generally not responsive to the desires of the citizenry: “But if I were the king myself, I must/ do much that went against the grain” (36. 590-591). By this, Creon means that in his present position, he is more apt than the king to know the will of the people and to respond accordingly.

Again, this seems to be a flaw inherent in the kingship based on Creons actions in Antigone. As king Creon is blind to the fact that the people of Thebes are opposed to his actions concerning the punishment of Antigone. One who is not king, Creons son Haemon, senses the will of the people: But what I can hear, in the dark,are things like these: the city mourns for this girl; they think she is dying most wrongly and most undeservedly of all womenkind, for the most glorious acts. (188. 746-749) Haemon has sensed that the people feel Creons actions are unjust, which is something that Creon is not aware of.

However, in his speech, Creon is also asserting that a king, even when aware of the will of the people, does not respond accordingly. He demonstrates this in Antigone when he says, “Should the city tell me how to rule them? ” (189. 794). Once again, Creons words in Oedipus the King and actions in Antigone correspond and indicate that his speech reveals characteristics that are inherent in the kingship and not just in Oedipuss rule. Creon finds these characteristics of a king to be despicable and prefers his own present position.

How should despotic rule seem sweeter to me/ than painless power and an assured authority? ” (36. 592-593). He is saying that his present power is less painful and even more effectual than that of a king. It is less painful in that he is not held directly accountable for the conditions of the state. It is more effectual both in that he has a better sense of the will of the people and in that he is less likely to allow selfish interest and pride to interfere with his execution of the will of the people.

Creons speech serves two purposes, both effectively. First, it is a convincing argument to prove that he is not involved a conspiracy to overthrow Oedipus, although Oedipuss pride does not allow him to be convinced by this argument. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Creons speech gives insight into the two-sided nature of the kingship, for although it is a position of great honor and power, it is also a position that often corrupts the man who holds it.

Creon believes that there is a certain type of man who desires such a position, a man who has not learned wisdom and self-control. He believes that he is a man who has learned these attributes; thus, he would not be susceptible to desire for the kingship and the corruption which would inevitably follow. However, his actions in Antigone show that there are very few men who will reject the kingship if presented with the opportunity and even fewer men who will not allow the kingship to corrupt them.

Beowulf and Oedipus the King: Two Different Heroes

Melancholy, grief, and madness have pervaded the works of a great many playwrights, and Shakespeare is not an exception. The mechanical regularities of such emotional maladies as they are presented within Hamlet, not only allow his audience to sympathize with the tragic prince Hamlet, but to provide the very complexities necessary in understanding the tragedy of his lady Ophelia as well. It is the poor Ophelia who suffers at her lover’s discretion because of decisions she was obligated to make on behalf of her weak societal position.

Hamlet provides his own self-torture and does fall victim to melancholia and rief, however, his madness is feigned. They each share a common connection: the loss of a parental figure. Hamlet loses his father as a result of a horrible murder, as does Ophelia. In her situation is more severe because it is her lover who murders her father and all of her hopes for her future as well. Ultimately, it is also more detrimental to her c! haracter and causes her melancholy and grief to quickly turn to irretrievable madness.

Critics argue that Hamlet has the first reason to be hurt by Ophelia because she follows her father’s admonitions regarding Hamlet’s true intentions for their beginning ove. In Act 3, scene 1, line 91 Hamlet begins with his malicious sarcasm toward her. “I humbly thank you, well, well, well,” he says to her regarding her initial pleasantries (Johnson 1208). Before this scene, he has heard the King and Polonius establishing a plan to deduce his unusual and grief-stricken behavior.

Hamlet is well aware that this plan merely uses Ophelia as a tool, and as such, she does not have much option of refusing without angering not only her busybody father but the conniving King as well. Hamlet readily refuses that he cared for her. He tells her and all of his uninvited listeners, “No, not I, I never gave you aught” (lines 94-95). Some critics stress, as does J. Dover Wilson, that Hamlet has a right to direct his anger to Ophelia because even though many critics “in their sy! athy with Ophelia they have forgotten that it is not Hamlet who has ‘repelled’ her, but she him” (Wilson 159).

It is possible that Wilson does not see the potential harm to Ophelia should she disobey her authority figures (i. e. her father and her king). Furthermore, Ophelia cannot know “that Hamlet’s attitude toward her reflects his disillusionment in his mother . . to her, Hamlet’s inconstancy can only mean deceitfulness or madness” (Lidz 158). She is undeniably caught in a trap that has been layed, in part, but her lover whom she does love and idealize.

Her shock is genuine when Hamlet demands “get thee to a nunnery” (line 120). The connotations of the dual meaning of “nunnery” is enough in and of itself to make her run estranged from her once sweet prince, and it is the beginning or her sanity’s unraveling as well. Hamlet’s melancholy permits him the flexibility of character to convey manic-depressive actions while Ophelia’s is much more overwhelming and ainful. “Shakespeare is ambiguous about the reality of Hamlet’s insanity and depicts him as on the border, fluctuating between sanity and madness” (Lidz 156).

Hamlet mourns for his father, but it is the bitterness and ill-will that he harbors towards his mother for her hasty marriage to his uncle that is his most reoccurring occupation. His thoughts of Ophelia are secondary at best. When it happens that Hamlet accidentally slays Polonius, he does not appear to be thinking of the potential effect of his actions on Ophelia. Hamlet has sealed her fate, and along with the “vacillations in [his] attitude and ehavior toward her could not but be extremely unsettling to the very young woman who idolized [him]” she does not have much in the way that is positive for her (Lidz 157).

Throughout the entire murder scene in Act 3, Scene! 4, Hamlet does not remark about the damage he has done to Ophelia. His emotional upswing is devoted entirely to his mother, and while his emotions are not an imitation, he does admit that he “essentially [is] not in madness,/ But mad in craft” (lines 187-188). Ophelia is then left to mourn her father, but it is not his death alone that spurns her insanity. Her predicament is such that she is forced to fear and hate her father’s murder who is also her lover and the one person to whom all of her future hopes were pinned -Prince Hamlet.

Her entire orientation to the future has suddenly been destroyed,” and with her brother gone, Ophelia has no one to turn to for comfort (Lidz 157). Hamlet then delves further into his manic feigned madness and Ophelia is cheated into the belief that he really is mad. The options for her sanity are none; melancholy and grief are madness for malcontent Ophelia. Hamlet and Ophelia are confronted with the irretrievable loss of a love object, ” however, it is Ophelia’s dilemma that is the more horrible of the two and is indelibly more tragic.

The audience may of the general opinion that Polonius is bordering on senility, and is a spy who meddle in affair that do not demand his participation, however, he is Ophelia’s sole parent. We are able to discern that his harsh attitude toward his daughter at the beginning of the play may not be cruel for cruelty’s sake; Polonius may actually be showing signs that he is overly protective of Ophelia and instructs her to deny Hamlet’s “tenders” because they represent a hreat toward his position as her father.

We might also infer that as Ophelia’s only parent for such a great duration in her young life that Polonius may actually favored her -letting her act as the replacement for her mother in her father’s life. These ideas are not to implicate their relationship as an abusive Oedipal ci! rcumstance. It is interesting that the same situation can correspondingly be applied to the relationship that Hamlet shares with his mother. Hamlet is fatherless. While this is a more recent position for him, it is interesting to note that rather than have his loss bring him and his other closer, it only serves to bind him in his melancholy and agony.

He battles within himself of doing harm to his mother. Hamlet may very well see his mother’s infidelity to his father’s memory as an infidelity to him as well. This Oedipal Complex is more injurious to his character, and is the determining force for his unsuccessful relationship to Ophelia. Ophelia has nothing to do with this emotional inadequacies, and is nonetheless a victim of them. Her death is the responsibility of Hamlet, who at her gravesite “exhibits some temporary marks of a real disorder” (Mackenzie 903). It is short-lived, however, and Hamlet again retakes his vengeance upon his father’s murderer –using his ! lancholy as a dull weapon. “He realizes that his emotions are often going to rush beyond his control [and] the fiction that he is mad will not only cloak his designs against the King, but will also free him from the rest of the play” (Campbell 104). It is his fiction that is the leading cause of Ophelia’s demise as well as his own. There is no way out of the created situation for either of them. One could imagine that if this were a different play, Hamlet ould ask for Ophelia’s forgiveness, but that is not the play.

The melancholy, grief, and madness that Hamlet suffers from may well have been the propelling force for all of his unfortunate action in Shakespeare’s play. It is worth allowing that the first of the two are real; his melancholy and grief are not counterfeit. Ophelia is the more tragic of the two because her madness is not feigned, and furthermore, that it is caused by the very love of her life is even more disastrous for her poor young life. They are each malcontents with no real happiness made available to them given their unfortunate circumstances.

Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles

Sometimes humans try to avoid their inevitable destiny for their lives; there are moments that we may think of ourselves as invincible and smarter than what is already decided. There may also be a point when making a decision leads to a great error in judgment. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, both of these problems are noticed in the character, Oedipus. They are known as tragic flaws. A tragedy must have the character to have a flaw in his hamartia. Oedipus single flaw that is pointed out is hubris, excessive pride. A single flaw can allow a man to be defeated.

Oedipus the King is a tragedy. A tragedy is play that portrays a conflict between human beings and some superior, overwhelming force. It ends sorrowfully and disastrously, and the outcome seems inevitable. In a tragedy, the hero is upper class that is capable of suffering. He is neither good nor bad. Due to the flaws in his actions and behaviors, he will have everything and lose it all. He is the hero and king of Thebes, but because of his fate, he ends up being blind in exile. Oedipus runs from his own homeland including his mother and father.

He is trying to escape his fate. The gods above told him that he would, in his future, kill his father and marry his other. By moving somewhere else, he believes his parents will be safe from him. Someone told him that Polybus and Merope were not his real parents so he asked them, but they lied telling him they were. Oedipus still has doubts so he goes to Delphi where he is told the truth, but not the identity of his real parents. He flees Corinth where his parents are in order to avoid the prophecy. Oedipus leaves Corinth and heads in the opposite direction towards Thebes.

On his journey, a chariot tries to run him of the road. He became very angry, which causes him to become violent so he kills Laius and the men who are with him. One man escaped the wrath of Oedipus and fled back to Thebes. Although he does not know Laius was his father, he is one step closer to fulfilling the prophecy. Oedipus is on the path close to the town of Thebes where this is a Sphinx who kills people who cannot answer her riddle. Oedipus succeeds in solving the riddle, causing the Sphinx to destroy herself.

He is received with enthusiasm by the Thebans that just lost their king. The Thebans make him king and he marries Jocasta who was married to the late Laius. He is ignorant in knowing that not only has he killed his father, but also now, he has married his mother. Oedipus sinks low because of his tragic flaws, his actions, and his inability to dance around ones fate. There is a plague in the land, so Oedipus wants it to go away, so he sends Creon to Delphi to find out what to do. Creon is Jocastas sister and his brother-in-law.

Apollo shot an arrow, which caused the plague because Laius death went unsolved. Apollo wants the killer(s) paid back for the murder. Oedipus wants to find the murderer, so he says that whoever killed Laius will be exiled or killed. Someone tells Oedipus to send for blind Tiresias who knows everything. Tiresias does not want to tell Oedipus the truth, but Oedipus keeps harassing Tiresias even threatens him with torture. Finally, he tells Oedipus the truth but Oedipus does not want to believe the truth. Oedipus shows an error in judgment when he disregards Tiresias warning.

He is too hardheaded to listen to what Tiresias has to say to him. In doing this, he creates his own downfall. He disregards all the information given to him because he thinks that he can control his destiny. A servant announces to the king and his people that Jocasta was dead. She hung herself in her bedroom when she figured out that her husband was really her son. Her four children were by her irst born who she thought was dead. Oedipus sees his mother/wifes body he pulls to pins out of her dress and gouges his eyes out with them.

He does this several times, causing blood to drip down his face and on his beard. He could not bear to see the damage that his life had caused. Oedipus keeps his word of punishing the murderer of Laius. He is sent in exile to Cithaeron where as a baby he was to have been left. He does not know if he will die there are not because he realizes now that the gods are in control of his destiny. Apollo takes away the plague, since the murder of Laius was solved and punishment had een served. Oedipus was on top of the world and he literally lost everyone and everything that he had loved.

He tried to avoid his fate but it was meant to be, so it happened. It does not make sense why his fate must be so terrible, but it could have to do with his single flaw. Oedipus never did anything that bad to deserve such a horrible life. At least he was man enough to realize that it was not only Apollos fault, but his too. He lost some of his hubris throughout this horrible event. This all took place in one day at the palace in Thebes. Everyone has a downfall, some just have farther to fall than others do.

Oedipus: Fate vs. Free Will

In Oedipus the King, one of Sophocles most popular plays, Sophocles clearly depicts the Greeks popular belief that fate will control a mans life despite of mans free will. Man was free to choose and was ultimately held responsible for his own actions. Throughout Oedipus the King, the concept of fate and free will plays an integral part in Oedipus’ destruction. Destined to marry his mother and murder his father, Oedipus was partly guided by fate. This prophecy, as warned by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, was absolute and would inevitably come to pass.

As for free will, Oedipus actions, temper, impulsive nature and pride (hubris) as well as his erroneous judgment (hamartia) all contributed to his eventual downfall. At the beginning of the tragedy, Oedipus was made aware of his destiny. Immediately after receiving the news, Oedipus fled Corinth and headed for Thebes thinking he could escape his fate. Unknowingly, Oedipus had just begun to walk the path that led to his downfall. Shortly after, he killed his father Laius and later married his mother Jocasta.

These actions proved that his life was predetermined by fate and that he was unable to change it. Years later, Oedipus is informed of the plague that has struck Thebes, and is asked to help in the matter. Oedipus could have waited for the plague to end, but feeling pity for his suffering people, he sent Creon to Delphi where he was to plead before Apollo to relieve the curse that had fallen on their land. Instead of investigating the murder of former King Lauis, Oedipus took matters into his own hands and cursed Lauis murderer.

Not knowing he was the murderer, Oedipus had now cursed himself. “Whoever he is, a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step I curse myself as well if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house, here at my hearth, with my full knowledge, may the curse I just called down on him strike me! ” (606) Oedipus journey in search of Laius murderer has merely helped the prophecy become reality. His ignorance, pride and remorseless quest for the truth ultimately contributed to his destruction.

An explicit example can be seen when Oedipus was told (after threatening Tiresias), that he was responsible for Laius murder. Oedipus became enraged and called the blind prophet a liar. Oedipus thought he could overcome the gods, but in fact, his every action moved him closer to his destiny. Upon unearthing of the truth of his birth from the shepherd, Oedipus cries out, O god all come true, all burst to light! O light now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands. 31).

Oedipus now knew that his fate had indeed come to pass, and feels cursed by it. Due to the crimes he committed, Oedipus punishes himself (free will) by stabbing his eyes with one of Jocastas brooches. Overall, Oedipus achieves his foremost sin when he attempts to raise himself to the level of the gods by trying to escape his fate. Oedipus accepts full responsibility for his acts and knows that he must be punished for his sins. It is therefore why his tragic fate came about.

Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King”

In Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King”, Oedipus proclaims ” it was I who have pronounced these curses on myself” (Madden 37). With this announcement, Oedipus is aware that his pursuit for order has led to a life of chaos. The central thesis is that the presumption of order establishes physical, intellectual, and spiritual chaos. The text’s reference to the sphinx, Oedipus, and Tiresias creates this notion.

These three literal signifiers are the metaphoric symbolizers of physical, intellectual, and spiritual The concept of physical chaos is first introduced during the first speech of the riest when reference is made to the “harsh singer” (Madden 37), the sphinx. In greek mythology, the sphinx is recognised as a hybrid creature with a woman’s head, a lion’s body, an eagle’s wings, and a serpent’s tail. In reality, “the virgin with the crooked talons” (Madden 48), is a unique archetype for many things in one single being.

The sphinx is an epitome of destruction and chaos who establishes “the tax [they] had to pay [her]” (Madden 17) because she devourers all who fail to answer her riddle. Her domination of Thebes causes havoc and melancholic responses that are directly related o the degree of her physical chaos. The confrontation between Oedipus and the sphinx ends with the latter destroying herself, “the winged maiden came against him: he was seen then to be skilled” (Madden 29), due to Oedipus answering her riddle. By destroying herself, the sphinx makes it possible for the oracles to come true.

With her reign of terror at an end, the sphinx makes it possible for Oedipus to continue with his life in pursuit of order. Chaos is established because of the opportunity for the prophecies to become an actuality. The physical appearance of the sphinx and her self- estruction foreshadow chaos for Oedipus in the near future. As the sphinx is the measure of highest physical chaos, so Oedipus is a measure of utmost intellectual chaos. Oedipus, being the king of Thebes, portrays qualities that signify intelligence, fortitude, and freedom from doubt.

Oedipus’ intelligence is prominent upon knowledge of his ill faith; Oedipus, in his present state of mind, interprets the prophecies made to him literally. This course of action assists in the “[Phoebus] said [Oedipus] would be [his] mother’s lover, show offspring to mankind [that] they could not look at, and be his [father’s] murderer. When [Oedipus] heard this, and ever since, [he] gauged the way to Corinth by the stars alone, running to a place where [he] would never see the disgrace in the oracle’s words come true. ” (Madden 37).

By trying to set down a systematic life, Oedipus ironically commits the “wretched horrors” (Madden 37) he intends to avoid, thus coming to the realization that “[he] struck them with his hand”(Madden 52). Oedipus answers the riddle of the sphinx “and stopped her-by using thought” (Madden 26). By doing so, Oedipus’ reward for freeing Thebes was the throne and the hand in marriage of the widowed Jocasta. His intelligence-driven fulfilment of the prophecies induced chaos because “[her] riddle wasn’t for a man chancing by to interpret, prophetic art was needed” (Madden 26).

The realization that “[he has] pronounced these curses on [himself]” (Madden 37) depicts how Oedipus establishes intellectual chaos because the choices he makes to secure order in his life strangely enough provoke a chaotic time to come. The mention of Tiresias in the play signifies spiritual chaos. He is a blind but wise prophet who “sees more [] than Lord Phoebus” (Madden 24). Tiresias knows the ruth about Oedipus and states: “he’ll be shown a father who is also brother; to the one who bore him, son and husband; to his father, his seed-fellow and killer” (Madden 28).

Tiresias has “the strength of the truth” (Madden 25) and chaos evolves when he does not speak of the truth he knows. With this, Oedipus accuses him of being “[part] of [the] plot [to murder Laius]” (Madden 26), when in reality, “[Oedipus is the] enemy” (Madden 27). Tiresias is blind due to natural causes, but when Oedipus tries to achieve his level of wisdom, all that is obtained is chaos. “[H]e snatched the pins [] and struck them] into [his eyeballs]” (Madden 50) in attempt to see spiritually.

Tiresias deceives Oedipus unintentionally into believing that wisdom can be achieved by blindness; Tiresias says: “since you have thrown my blindness at me: Your eyes can’t see the evil to which you’ve come” (Madden 27). This incident depicts how Tiresias’ order establishes Acquiring order cannot exist without the concept of chaos. The realization that order leads to chaos manifests man’s pursuit for an unreachable end. The challenge to accomplish a life of order involves smart decision making, and this process is essential for physical, intellectual and spiritual chaos.

Antigone and Oedipus, by Sophocles

Antigone and Oedipus, written by Sophocles, are dramatic plays with a tragic ending. The main theme for Antigone is that people sometimes have to learn the hard way from their mistakes. This theme is expressed in the final four lines of the play. They read, There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are always punished, And proud men in old age learn to be wise. These lines are an important part of the play.

They symbolize Creons bad decisions he made, his defiance to the gods, the unishment he went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gained because of all his mistakes. “There is no happiness where there is no wisdom” demonstrates how Creon not using wisdom in his decision affected him. By declaring that Polyneices could not have a proper burial, he went against the gods and the other citizens of Thebess beliefs. This was not a wise decision on his part, and because of it he lost his wife, his son, and his happiness. Creon also defied the laws of the gods.

This is what is expressed in the line, No wisdom but in submission to the gods. ” In Antigone, the edict and decisions that Creon made demonstrated that his law was more important then the gods laws. His defiance of the laws eventually made him believe, by talking to Teirisias, that something bad would happen to him, so he gave in to his decision. When he gave into the gods he gained wisdom and learned that his actions would be punished. Creons edict is considered his big words.

In the third line it says, “Big words are always punished. Creons edict was unished by his loss of happiness. He proclaimed to his city that Polyneices may not be buried, when he did this he was very proud and demanding about his decision. He was determined not to change his mind for anything. These big words that he proclaimed would bring his downfall. Because Creon locked Antigone up, for burying Polyneices, she killed herself. Creons son Haimon, who was engaged to Antigone, also committed suicide upon seeing his beloved Antigone dead. Also Creon’s wife took her own life.

If Creon hadn’t gone against what was ight, by making his laws more important then the gods laws, and issuing his edict, he would not have suffered the way he did. By getting involved in stopping Polyneices burial by his edict he brought upon his own terrible punishment. The last line, “Proud men in old age learn to be wise” explains the main theme of Antigone. The proud man is Creon, the King of Thebes. By all the mistakes he makes he learns to be wiser. As a ruler he was a very proud man. He didn’t seem to care about anything as long as his commands were carried out.

By losing his son and wife and probably the respect of many citizens of Thebes he grew wiser. Creon’s bad decisions he made, his defiance to the gods, the punishment he went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gained because of all his mistakes, all contribute to the main theme of Antigone, that people sometimes have to learn the hard from their mistakes. The explication of the final four lines of the play really give a better understanding of the theme that Sophocles was trying to get across to his audience.

Oedipus the King: Critical Paper

Sophocles is able to accomplish to achieve several objectives in his play, Oedipus the King. Sophocles magnificently retells a classic Greek tale while also describing the characters and their motives in great detail. Of the characters Sophocles naturally spends the most time characterizing the protagonist of the play, Oedipus. Sophocles conveys Oedipus’ ideals, moral, and opinions about several topics throughout the play. Among the most important and prominent of his beliefs that are revealed dealt with Oedipus’ value of reasoning, intellect, inquiry, and measurement.

Sophocles portrayed Oedipus as an amiable character that the Greek audience could sympathize with and perhaps even relate to. The audience saw a respectable figure, who did not seem to commit any blatant evil, come to his destruction. They saw an indubitable tragedy. Sophocles ensured that the audience would view Oedipus as a respectable and  plausible hero by giving Oedipus many of the popular sentiments of the time. These ideals were brought about by a philosophy that was thriving in Greece during Sophocles’ lifetime.

Most of Oedipus’ notions, can be traced back to either the dialectic Socrates in who appeared in Plato’s several works, or Plato’s student Aristotle. These notions were being circulated throughout Greece during the time period which Oedipus was thought to be presented, making them common knowledge for the audience of the time (Friedlander 7). Of all the virtues that the Greeks, especially the Athenians held dear was wisdom, wisdom dealing with everything in life (Friedlander 8).

Socrates spurned this Greek movement for wisdom when he not only proclaimed that wisdom is the one true virtue from which all other irtues originated, but he also put forth the notorious quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living. “(“Apology” 203) . Socrates throughout all of Plato’s dialogues, advocated the importance of the wisdom and said that the desire for this wisdom is the only true path to divinity. Aristotle later contributed to the theory when he wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics, that wisdom separated mankind from the animals and wisdom placed the Greeks closer to the gods that they worshiped and admired(435).

The Greeks constantly sought for this wisdom so that it may bring them to their greatest pleasure, the purpose in life, a true and final happiness, the aim of their Eudaimonia. ( “N. E. ” 397)  The Greek audience for which Sophocles wrote could easily sympathize with Oedipus in his play. This is due to the fact that Oedipus was struck down from his pedestal while merely attempting to discover himself and in that process to attain wisdom and happiness. The goals for which Oedipus sought were noble goals that a majority of the audience members may have been seeking.

Plato, in his Republic delineated a duelist theory of our world. Plato wrote that our world is actually a cave where people are bound and forced to look at shadows on the wall for their entire life(67). In Plato’s opinion, reality cannot exist in this world because only shadows cast by a fire are seen(69). According to Plato, the only way to see anything in its quintessence, the only way to see bona fide truth and wisdom is to escape the cave(71). By escaping the cave the person could  see the fire as a deceiver of reality because that person has now seen true light and virtue.

This light, this philosophic insight of reality allows the person to return to the cave, to see objects in their veritable conformations and give them their appropriate judgement and value(74). This theory is the basis for what Socrates in Plato’s Protagoras avouched his concept of “The Art of Measurement. “(“Prot. “163). Socrates holds that since the world is in a cave, the people cannot trust their judgement or perceptions because they are only of false shadows. Socrates proffered this theory in response to Protagoras’ question of why mankind commits acts that are ultimately harmful, such as smoking or excessive drinking(165).

Aristotle believed that this was because of a weak moral habit(“N. E. ” 411). However, Socrates did not believe in Aristotle’s famous Akrasia thesis, Socrates believed that no passion or pleasure could possibly overcome the omnipotent knowledge(“Prot. 141”). During the famed dialogue, Protagoras raised an obvious question when he asked why people will continue to smoke although they know it will cause them pain(143). In order to keep from refuting his argument, Socrates explained his Art of Measurement.

Socrates declared that the only reason mankind does such harmful things such as smoking is that they simply have no way to measure the immediate pleasure of smoking against the distant pain of the cancer of other disease that smoking causes(144). Socrates said simply that these people have a flawed sense of measurement due to the dark cave they dwell in(“Prot. ” 144). Without this art, the essence of wisdom, one cannot accurately weigh pleasure versus pain and one cannot achieve final pleasure… Eudaimonia.

The first step in achieving wisdom is the quest for self-knowledge, the quote on the base of the oracle’s statue at Delphi, “Know Thyself”(Friedlander 5). This was the identity that Oedipus was seeking. According to Socrates, the only way to achieve knowledge in general was though the use of inquiry(“Apology” 210) . Socrates practiced inquiry throughout his entire life. He started this practice when an oracle of Apollo told him that no one was wiser than he(“Apology” 215). In either modesty or disbelieve, Socrates led most of his life questioning others trying to find someone wiser than he.

However, although he learned a great deal through his questioning, Socrates discovered only that not one person, philosopher or sophist was truly wise because Socrates would reveal their self-contradictions(“Apology” 217). Regardless if Socrates would ever find anyone wiser than himself through inquiry, he believed that the life of inquiry was the most philosophical, and therefore the most divine(“Apology” 220). Oedipus too, seems to believe this as he spends a great majority of the play asking questions to anyone he suspects potentially has any information.

Oedipus questions everyone that approaches him and questions every scenario that confronts him. Oedipus constantly asks questions, “How can we cleanse ourselves- what rites? What’s the source of the trouble? “(164). Whether it is Jocasta or the messenger that Oedipus is speaking with, he is constantly and desperately trying to discover Laius’ murderer, and later his own identity. The most obvious and practical use of this inquiry is to acquire new knowledge so that intellect can be strengthened. It is obvious that Oedipus is eager to solve his problems.

He is all too eager to find the killer of Laius, his statement “I’ll bring it all to light myself! “(167) illustrates his unwavering determination for answers. As Oedipus uses his intellect to analyze the information he has, his desire for answers only becomes stronger. His desire becomes strongest when Jocasta urges Oedipus not to pursue his past any further, Oedipus ignores her request stating “I must know it all, must see the truth at last. “(222). Oedipus seems to be constantly using his intellect to determine the best method to accomplish his goals.

Most of his decisions are made by weighing all of his options and finding the best choice, he calculates the best option in regard to the scenario. During the beginning of the play, Oedipus says, “I have wept through the nights, you must know that, groping, laboring over many paths of thought. After a painful search I found one cure. . . .”(162). This shows the extent he labors himself to determine these calculations. The second tool that Oedipus uses to strengthen his intellect is reason. Oedipus frequently uses reason in the play in order to resolve which path he must next take, what inquiries he must further make.

Virtually all Greek philosophers including Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle believed that man was a being built on reason and that reason was the most necessary and healthy activity for man to practice. In this sense Oedipus seems to be the ideal person as he uses a great deal of sound reasoning. He uses this sound reasoning to accurately judge the situation and continue on his path to identity such as when he states to the chorus leader that if the killer did not flinch at murder, then he will not flinch at the words of Oedipus’ threats (175).

He also uses his reason when he tells Creon that he may be danger from the killer, which ironically enough would later come true(167). However, Oedipus proves that he is still in Plato’s dark cave when he uses an even greater amount of false reason and judgement. Oedipus is often quick to judge a situation and to let anger cloud his judgement, such as when he accuses Creon and Tiresias of plotting against him(189). He also fails in his reasoning when he persists to learn the truth despite Jocasta’s pleas(223-224).

If Oedipus had stopped his quest for identity when he realized that he was Laius’ killer, he would have avoided a significant amount of pain. Oedipus uses his intellect and his reason to calculate his decisions such as whom to question or who to accuse. However, his calculations are not always correct. Oedipus seems to deviate from his reason at times. For instance, he wrongly accuses Creon of attempting to take his throne and Oedipus even has the gall to call Tiresias ignorant and blind to the light of truth to which Oedipus is actually blind (181).

The quest for Oedipus’ identity is actually a simple equation which Oedipus himself cannot see because of his clouded senses. His lack of the “Art of Measurement” keeps Oedipus from true reason and intellect. However, Oedipus’ hubris leads him to believe that his judgements are in fact sound and he continues blindly into a quest for knowledge which may not be beneficial. His flawed perceptions prohibit Oedipus from accurately comparing the pleasure and the pain that his identity would cause him. Tiresias indeed had the “Art of Measurement” as he vehemently tells Oedipus to, “Go on reflect on that, solve that. 185).

One of the most prevalent ironies in the play is that Oedipus himself is blind to accurate measurement and truth until he blinds himself. He expressed extremely sound judgement and measurement when he gouged out his own eyes. Oedipus compared the future pain his eyes would give him against the initial pain of the needle and made a justified decision and Oedipus seems content with his decision to wander the mountains. Oedipus had finally seen the light outside the cave, unfortunately, it would be too late to save Oedipus from disgrace.

Every decision or quest that Oedipus made was solved by a simple equation. The equation was a matter of simply comparing pleasure and pain to decide the best path to a hedonistic lifestyle. Philosophers of the time such as Plato and Aristotle wrote of such equations and they described things such as the “Art of Measurement” and true reason to help describe what would be needed to correctly solve such an equation. Oedipus as well as other characters in the play embodied these virtues and skills, or even their defects in order to draw yet another link between literature and philosophy.

Oedipus the King – Blindness

Blindness plays a two-fold part in Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King. ” First, Sophocles presents blindness as a physical disability affecting the auger Teiresias, and later Oedipus; but later, blindness comes to mean an inability to see the evil in ones actions and the consequences that ensue. The irony in this lies in the fact that Oedipus, while gifted with sight, is blind to himself, in contrast to Teiresias, blind physically, but able to see the evil to which Oedipus has fallen prey to. Tragically, as Oedipus gains the internal gift of sight, he discards his outward gift of sight.

Sight, therefore, seems to be like good and evil, a person may only choose one. Teiresias, prophet of Phoebus, was stricken with blindness to the physical world, but, as a result, gained the gift of sight into the spiritual world. This great gift allowed him to become a superior prophet, praised by the people as “god like” and as a person “in whom the truth lives. ” Therefore, it was no surprise that Oedipus asked the old prophet to come before the people to enlighten them as to who or what the cause of the plague decimating their country was.

What Oedipus was not expecting, however, was that the sin he could not see himself was to blame for the judgement being poured out upon the country. The sin so hidden from Oedipus and the peoples eyes was quite visible to Teiresias. What Teiresias lacked in his ability to see the world, he made up for in being able to see a persons heart – a skill that nearly cost him his life after a lengthy argument with Oedipus. Yet what distinguishes Teiresias from the others was his genuine concern for others a concern that he voiced before demolishing Oedipus in front of the growing crowd outside of the palace.

For Teiresias, the choice was simple he chose to forego his disability and delve deeper into himself in order to find a sight that surpassed his physical limitations, a sight destined for good. Oedipus, on the other hand, was not given such an easy decision. While gifted with an outward sense of sight, he lacked the knowledge of his own sinful actions – his hamartia, so to speak. Oedipus was seeing to others, but blind to himself. As he fled from Corinth, fearing a prophecy he received from an oracle, Oedipus showed complete blindness to the inevitability of his fate.

The murder of his father, Laius, and the subsequent marriage to this mother, Jocasta, further elucidate the extent of Oedipus blindness; blind in deed, reason, and consequence. Tragically, Oedipus anagnorisis occurs simultaneously with his mothers/wifes suicide. With a heart full of despair and a pair of newly opened eyes, Oedipus makes his transformation complete as he exchanges his limited physical eyesight for the spiritual sight possessed by Teiresias. With this being done, Oedipus also seals his fate he no longer can serve evil, so his life must hange in order to serve his new master, good.

The legendary Sphinx was the only character that successfully possessed and maintained both types of sight. He had the outward gift of sight, which he used in conjunction with his spiritual gift of sight to wreck havoc on the people of Thebes. The Sphinx noticed that the people, while outwardly seeing, were utterly blind to the problems right in front of them. His riddle was his attempt at helping them though in an unusual way- to shift the focus of their eyes from outward to inward. He balanced the power and responsibility of both types of sight.

Sophocles used this aspect of the Sphinx to prove that it is in fact possible to possess both types of sight, just not for humans. The only danger in having both types of sight was making sure that the Sphinx served good more than he served evil, a highly contested fact. In conclusion, the theme of sight dominated Sophocles tragedy “Oedipus the King. ” The characters Teiresias, Oedipus, and the Sphinx were used to show the different types of sight physical, spiritual, and both. Overall though, Sophocles used sight as an extended metaphor, in which the prevailing form of sight showed his master good or evil, of which there can be only one.

Oedipus the King a myth

The mythological critic easily evaluates the written version of Oedipus the King, finding the prevalent mythological or archetypal characteristics in the text as well as common hero characteristics in Oedipus. The myth begins with a journey as Oedipus arrives in Thebes from his home in Corinth as the son of King Plybus. The ideas of heaven and hell are visible in the text. A heavenly atmosphere is presented upon the arrival of Oedipus in Thebes after he solving the Sphinx’s riddle, saving the citizens from her wrechedness.

In the end of the story Oedipus departs Thebes to Kithairon to spend the remainder of his life blinded and disabled and to avoid being seen by anyone. This place represents a hell on earth that Oedipus must live through many years until his awaited death. The texts presents several examples of water and sky imagery. Throughout the play violent sea and ship imagery emerge when speaking of the plague and its effects. For example “Thebes is tossed on a murdering sea”(prologue 27), , and using words like bowstring..

Again, sky imagery is seen. Teresias plays the role of te mythological old wise man. Teresias is a blind prophet who speaks nothing but the truth and he warns Oedipus of hi fate. Finally, the myth has an overall god ending. The tragedy and disgrace of Oedipus leaves the reader felling sorry for him and almost sick about his ironic tragedies, but overall, in the end the reader is left feeling good about the city of Thebes, and the reader knows that Thebes will get back to normal free of the plague.

Though Oedipus brings an awful plague to Thebes, kills its previous king, and changes the lives of his mother and daughters forever he still processes the characteristics of a mythological hero. He his parents, King Laius and Jocasta, can be considered divine parents do to their royalty. The disgracing fate of Oedipus leads him into exile from Thebes.

The true Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King

The true Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles (496-406 B. C. ), adheres to Aristotles (384-322 B. C. ) definition of a tragedy. The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the Greek tragedy Oedipus is also an aristocrat. Born of the King and Queen of Thebes he is of true nobility. Oedipus on the other-hand believes his parents are the King and Queen of Corinth. Oedipus was abandoned as a baby and adopted by them.

Because that information is known to the audience, and not to Oedipus prior to the start of the play, it is a perfect example of tragic irony because when he declares that he will find the murderer he is the man that he pursues. Here he is told by Tiresias,” I say you are the murderer you hunt” (1235). The theme of Oedipus the King is not clear-cut. The theme in this tragic play seems to be you cant escape your fate. Contentment leads to ignorance as Oedipus lends fate a hand in his bitter end. This trait is touched-on in these lines spoken by Creon. “Look at you, sullen in yielding, brutal in your rage- youll go too far.

Its perfect justice: natures like yours are hardest on themselves”(Sophocles 1242-1243). Oedipus is a true hero in the Greek tragedy. He has the fate of the community in his hands along with the noble character to take care of it himself. He announces his convictions to take this problem into his own hands and do whatever is necessary to lift the curse. Oedipus addresses the priests assembled before him, ” You can trust me; I am ready to help, Ill do anything (Sophocles 1225).

The city has this faith in him and the riest come to tell him so he will help them lift the curse. Now we pray to you. You cannot equal the gods, your children know that… But we do rate you first of men,”(1226). He also appears to have Apollos ear, which makes him seem all-powerful to the audience; this is another standard of the classic Greek tragedy. Oedipus told his people, “After painful search I found one cure: I acted at once. I sent Creon, my wifes own brother, to Delphi-Apollo the Prophets oracle- to learn what I might do or say to save our city” (1226). Following Aristotles qualifications of the tragic hero Oedipus does have a ragic flaw as is standard in the Greek tragedy.

Oedipus has a character flaw that brings his end. Although it cannot be summed-up in one word there is evidence that his flaw may be ignorance or blindness to his own fate. This ignorance unearths a pride that is revealed though out the play. As when Oedipus tells the chorus/city “You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers” (1231). Oedipus is too content with himself and his life to see his end coming. He throws caution to the wind when he kills a man who is old enough to be his father.

This was done shortly after he had gone to see Apollo. and the god Apollo spurned me, sent me away denied the facts I came for, but first he flashed before my eyes a future great with pain, terror, disaster-I can hear him cry, You are fated to couple with your mother… you will kill your father, the one who gave you life” (1246)! Oedipus goes to great lengths to keep his fate from being played-out. He thinks running away will stop his role in things to come. And in his marriage to an older woman, he seems to tempt fate by not questioning his choice, when he knows there were doubts about his being a true blood relation to his parents.

This is revealed to the audience when Oedipus says, “Some man at a banquet who had drunk too much shouted out-he was far gone mind you-that I am not my fathers son” (1245). There are many choices he makes that can only be accredited to his blind faith in himself. Which is displayed in a blindness that is transmitted throughout. Oedipus refuses to believe Tiresias because he is a blind man and he tells him, “Youve lost your power, stone-blind, stone-deaf–senses, eyes blind as stone! -this fortune-teller peddling lies, eyes peeled for his own profit-seer blind in his craft! “(1235).

But Tiresias not only foretells Oedipus fate but also predicts his physical blindness when he tells him, “I pity you, flinging at me the very insults each man here will fling at you so soon … This day will bring your birth and your destruction”(1235-1236). Even though Oedipus is told time and again. His unremitting blindness keeps him from seeing the whole truth and allows him to live a contented life as king. The revelation in this play comes shortly after Oedipus wife tells him, “The heralds no sooner reported Laius dead than you appeared and they hailed you king of Thebes” (1244).

His response to this news tells volumes, “I think Ive just called down a dreadful curse upon myself–I simply didnt know” (1244). He then refers to Tiresias vision dualistically, ” I have a terrible fear the blind seer can see” (1244). After Jocastas late-breaking news, Oedipus recounts the essentials of when he killed a man at a triple crossroad because the story correlates to the murder of Laius. He then begins to feel Apollos hand in this. “Wasnt I born for torment? Look me in the eyes … Wouldnt a man of judgment say … some savage power has brought this down upon my head” 1246).

The reversal in this play comes after Oedipus puts all the pieces together. The messenger who comes to tell of Polybus death is surprised to find that this news brings Oedipus relief. He then proceeds to recount the actual facts, “Well then seeing I came with such good will, my king, why dont I rid you of that old worry now… Polybus was nothing to you, thats why, not in blood” (1251). Unknown to the messenger this news only adds to Oedipus worrys. The truth is coming too close when the messenger says, “The one who gave you to me, hed know more…

He called himself a servant of… Laius (1252). Jocasta now knows the truth and begs Oedipus not to question him further. “Stop-in the name of god, if you love your own life, call off this search! My suffering is enough … may you never fathom who you are” (1253). But his commitment to discern his true origin will not stop the tale from unfolding. He tells a servant to fetch the man that the messenger spoke of. The shepard comes and after much pressing reveals Oedipus birth parents and of his fate known at birth:”… the child came from the house … of Laius… If you are the man he says you are… you were born for pain” (1256).

Upon hearing this Oedipus can no longer think of himself as good or hide from his fate,” O god- all come true, all burst to light! O light- now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last-cursed in my birth, cursed in my marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands” (1256)! Here is where the roles are reversed and he becomes the blind man who has seen more than he cares to. After Oedipus has blinded himself Creon comes to console but also to do his duty to the gods.

Oedipus is to be pitied when he says, “You’d ask the oracle about a man like me?… By all means,” Creon replies, “And this time, I assume, even you will obey the gods decrees” (1263). Which is Sophocles intent that Oedipus take responsibility for his misgivings and transcend human limitations. The audience could not possibly watch this misery unfold without feeling pity, for Oedipus, or being frightened by the extent that he is willing to go to redeem his ignorance to the gods.

After the audience has been told all, the chorus reminds everyone of his great measures, “You outranged all men! Bending your bow to the breaking-point you captured priceless glory… you rose and saved our land” (1257). He might have been able to hide the facts of his birth from the people but then he wouldnt be the man of great integrity and unwavering character that the audience admires. Here Oedipus tells the chorus, “Now Ive exposed my guilt, horrendous guilt, could I train a level glance on you, my country men… Impossible” (1261). If Oedipus had acknowledged Apollos power when he first learned of his fate would he then have been able to change it?

He seems to be an unwitting pawn in an elaborate game of Apollos, as Greek gods were fabled to do, and here he asks it out loud. “My god, my god- what have you planned to do to me? “(1244). Was Oedipus right to refuge himself from the visions and facts to then be crowned king and idolized before he banished himself? Oedipus did defeat Apollo in some ways. Because he was able to out run his fate until after he had lived a full and successful life. And only then when the city was being destroyed did he resign himself knowing that he could not allow the people to suffer for his deeds.

Oedipus the King and the Irony of Sight

Throughout the play, Oedipus the King, Sophocles refers to site and blindness to relate attitudes and knowledge of the past. The irony of sight in this play can be marked by Oedipus inability to realize that which is evident to the reader. His extreme pride is his tragic flaw. It blinds him from the truth. Oedipus blinding himself symbolizes his increase of knowledge, his sensitivity, and gives him the ability to finally “see”. He is now able to see the flaws of his hubris attitude, and the consequences of which his pride brought to him.

From the very beginning, Oedipus was blinded by pride. With the city of Thebes dying, Creon comes from the god Apollo to tell how to stop the plaque. An example of Oedipus hubris is shown when he will not go into the palace to converse with Creon. He insists on talking in front of the crowd of citizens. Creon tells that the only way to stop the plaque is to find the killer of Lauis, the previous king. King Oedipus takes this task lightly, for he is the one who solved the riddle of the Sphinx, he surely could find the killer of royalty.

This is another example of his tragic flaws, pride. When Oedipus vows to do everything in his power to find Laius killer, the leader of the chorus advises Oedipus that no one knows the identity of the murderer, and that the god Apollo should name him to the people. Oedipus replies “to force the gods to act against their will- no man has the power. “(320) He has called on the blind seer who knows what the god Apollo sees. It is ironic that Tiresias can “see” what Oedipus can not though he suffers of old age and physical blindness.

Tiresias, who is able to see the truth of the downfall of Oedipus thorough the oracles prophecy even in his own blindness, becomes the comparative image from which Oedipus is judged, both by himself and by others. Throughout the conversation between Oedipus and Tiresias, he will not divulge the information King Oedipus is longing to hear. “Id rather not cause pain to you or me. So why thisuseless interrogation? Youll get nothing from me” (321) Tiresias says. This enrages Oedipus and he blames him for the murder, and then for conspiring with Creon to take his throne.

These accusations Oedipus makes are caused by his fear of the truth he is too blind to see. This blame causes an argument between the two. The play has many references to sight and blindness. These references give a continuous message of good and bad to both. During the argument, Oedipus insults Tiresias of his blindness. It is ironic that Oedipus, who is disrespectful to Tiresias because of his blindness, eventually becomes blind himself. Tiresias comes back denoting Oedipus blindness to the truth, but assures him that he will soon be able to see. During the argument, Oedipus also shows his arrogance.

He says “when did you ever prove yourself a prophet? When the Sphinx, that chanting Fury kept her deathwatch here, why silent thenI stopped the Sphinx! With no help from the birds, the flight of my own intelligence hit the mark. ” (323) This show that he thinks himself greater than the prophet and in essence greater than the gods, yet another example of his pride. After Oedipus takes his sight he realizes that he is mortal and has flaws. He also sees that he and Tiresias have something in common: they both are blind, yet now are able to see the obvious. Oedipus also accuses Tiresias of conspiring King Lauis death.

Now I see it all. You helped hatch the plot, you did the work, yes, short of killing him with your own hands- and given eyes Id say you did the killing single handed! ” (322) Tiresias rebuttals by saying “Is that so! I charge you, then, submit to that decree you just laid down: from this day onward speak to no one, not these citizens, not myself. You are the curse, the corruption of the land! ” (322) Oedipus still does not realize that he is the killer. Through out the play, the reader sees that even though Oedipus has physical sight, he is spiritually blinded.

Meaning that while Oedipus had the sense of sight, he was blinded by his lack of perception. As for Tiresias, the opposite applies. Even though he suffers from physical blindness, Tiresias has captured spiritual sight. When he is lead to the King, he comments “How terrible to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees. ” (321) This is an example of how Tiresias does see, yet he is blind. It also shows that this spiritual sight has done no good for Tiresias, but one could also say that Oedipus physical sight has done no good for him either. Oedipus wife, Jocasta is a blinding figure in his life.

When he almost sees the truth of his past, she convinces him that he is wrong, and that it is not possible that he was the killer of her late husband. This happens twice that she keeps him in the dark, and refrains him from seeing the light of his wrongs. When Oedipus confides in Jocasta about his feelings of the situation, he is almost to the point of realization that he killed Laius. She tells him that it could not be possible that he killed King Lauis. She tells him the story of their son, and the prophecy that one day he would grow to kill his father and marry his mother.

She also tells him that they rid themselves of such a son. Even though the god Apollo told Oedipus the same story, that he would one day be the murderer of his father, and take over his fathers place by the side of his mother, he still does not put two and two together to realize the truth. Oedipus also tells Jocasta that Tiresias told him that he was the murderer of Laius. She then replies “Then free yourself of every chargeno human can penetrate the future. ” (332) This may be true. No human can see the future, but Tiresias only sees the truth!

But through his own suspicions, and pursuit of knowledge, and his attempts to work against fate, Oedipus is trapped into a course of action that he can not foresee, and that determines the tragic outcome and his own downfall, as well as the death of his wife. When Jocasta flees from the palace, in despair because she too finally realizes that she is married to her son, the leader of the chorus tells Oedipus to go after her for “Im afraid that from this silence something monstrous may come bursting forth. ” (344) Oedipus once again is blind to the warning and his wife dies in her bed chambers.

As seen throughout, Oedipus is oblivious to the knowledge about his past. He does not even pick up on simple clues that link him to his past and future. It is ironic that even the lowly shepherds, that come to give him messages about the death of King Polybus and then he also tells about the child that he gave to the king long ago, know the truth that he can not see. The first messenger comes to tell Oedipus of the death of his supposed father, King Polybus. He also tells Oedipus that he was given a baby along time ago and that he was that baby.

Polybus was not his father and Merope was not his mother. Oedipus may have been told by Apollo that he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, but they were not the ones in danger. The second messenger is the one that was ordered by Lauis to get rid of the child. He gave the boy, with his ankles pinned together to another shepherd, not thinking that he would ever really kill Laius and marry Jocasta. The second messenger is very old. Oedipus is so determined to find his true identity from this man, that he even speaks of torture to get him to talk.

From the way the man speaks to the other shepherd, “Damn you, shut your mouthquite! ” (346) You can tell that Oedipus is not going to like what this messenger has to say. He to owns the knowledge that is blinding Oedipus. But he will soon know and the knowledge of himself will set him free, and he will be able to understand his faults. When Oedipus finally realizes that the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother had came true, he was over come with shame. He goes to Jocastas quarters, where she had taken her own life, and gouged out his eyes with the broach that she wore.

In the end, Oedipus gains insight into his life, his failings, and the nature of the gods and fate only through his own blindness, only through accepting the truth of his lack of vision, and his inability to impact fate. Oedipus gains a compassionate, though tragic outlook because of his capacity to envision that which he could never see while he had his physical sight. Through his blindness, Oedipus is finally allowed the ability to see himself, and this is the irony of sight in Sophocles play Oedipus the King.

Oedipus the King – Tragic Justice of Fate

Oedipus the King is one of the most famous and influential of Sophocles’ plays. On the surface of this drama there is, without a doubt, a tone of disillusionment. Dramatic irony is a much-used literary device in this play and its unusual structure serves as an explanation for its enduring popularity. Oedipus is portrayed as a character of social conscience whose tragedy stresses the vulnerability of human beings whose suffering is brought on by a combination of human and divine actions.

The central theme is the incest of Oedipus with his mother; and then, the killing of his father. Depending on how one reads the intricacies and vagueness of Athenian culture and the author’s questionable character, Sophocles, in this play about King Oedipus, is viewed as either virtuous or immoral. The most common interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King maintain that the incestuous conduct that takes place between Oedipus and his mother and the murderous act he commits against his father are viewed morally.

Consequently, the notion is given that Oedipus commits a sin by sleeping with his mother and killing his father, and is punished because of it. Others will argue that this sort of moral interpretation is, in fact, wrong as further research into the translation of the play reveals a rationalization of an entirely different perspective.

In his individual analysis of Oedipus the King, D. W. Myatt articulates in his introduction that, “The essence of this particular Greek tragedy lies in the realm of the gods, with the relationship between individuals, their communities, and the gods. The incest in particular is merely an interesting incident which occurs to a particular mortal and whose importance lies in the realm of prophecy – in what prophecy says about the will of the gods and the fate of mortals” (paragraph 3).

On Oedipus’ morality Myatt offers this interpretation: “The tragedy lies in the fact that Oedipus was not initially disrespectful of the gods – he tried to avoid killing his father, and sleeping with his mother; and when he learns that the oracle at Delphi has said that the plague which is killing the people of Thebes is the result of a defilement which has not been cleaned [the blood is still on a killer’s hand] then he is ready to do all that the god says is necessary” (paragraph 5).

Myatt’s translation of this Sophoclean tragedy concludes, “mortals cannot be delivered from the misfortunes of their fate” (paragraph 5). This analysis shed a new light on what should have been most obvious to any reader of Greek mythology. I found this interpretation of Oedipus the King both intriguing and interesting in that it heightened my awareness that the Greek Myths are our window into the distant past; a view of a world that existed not only in the mind of the Greek playwrights but in the hearts of the humble and long suffering natives of ancient Greece.

Many critical theories can be applied to Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. Some may view the Sophoclean scholarship as historical in orientation as they view Sophocles’ work not in the light ofg universal values but in the light of ancient Greek past, particularly that of Sophocles himself in the Periclean Athens of the fifth century. Another theory to consider is the archetypal approach in that Sophocles never suggests that Oedipus had brought his destiny on by himself but rather was simply a hapless being who had been cursed by a fate beyond that of his control.

Hence the prophecies that led him into disaster, for reasons unbeknownst to all, was put in to place by the gods. Consequently, heroism describes the courage with which Oedipus searches to find the truth about what he has done and the acceptance of his fate is the sacrifice he makes upon learning the truth. In an overview of Oedipus the King J. Michael Walton’s psychological theory points out that the irony of this play by Sophocles appealed to none other than Freud himself for its way of demonstrating through myth the most basic of all relationships, those between a child and its parents (paragraph 1).

The Encyclopedia Britannica further maintains that, “Sigmund Freud chose the term “Oedipus complex” to designate a son’s feeling of love toward his mother and that of jealously toward his father, although these were not emotions that motivated Oedipus’ actions or determined his character in any ancient version of the story” (paragraph 4). The majority of reader-response approaches to “Oedipus the King” go one of two directions — Oedipus either receives just punishment in exchange for his corrupt behavior, or he is regarded as a blameless creature of god undeserving of the sentence that he receives.

In my own reader-response theory to “Oedipus the King” I see a righteous man with a good heart who, by seeking justice in the truth, faces devastation and is destroyed. Therefore, it’s pity that is felt as a result, as Freud tells us, because at some level, his fate could be our own (Walton, paragraph 7). Tragedy is commonly filled with ironies because there are so many instances in the plot when what appears to be turns out to be entirely different from what actually is.

Greek tragedy is traditionally more apt to be public than private and the fate of the entire community is often linked with that of the protagonist. Oedipus, the protagonist of this Greek tragedy, was looked upon as exceptional rather than typical; a prominent man brought from happiness to misery. His character’s stature is important because it makes his fall all the more horrific. In today’s world, newscasts are filled with daily reports of tragedies, such as a child being struck and killed by a car; an airplane crash; or a devastating fire.

According to The Bedford Introduction to Literature, these types of unexpected instances of suffering are commonly and accurately described as tragic, but they are not tragedies in the literary sense of the term (page 1221). A literary tragedy “presents courageous individuals who confront powerful forces within or outside themselves with a dignity that reveals the breadth and depth of the human spirit in the face of failure, defeat, and even death” (page1221). When real events are compared to a Greek tragedy it is almost always this play which lurks behind the comparison.

Many biographies have been written about the life and writings of Sophocles. The criticism has been made that Sophocles was a brilliant artist and nothing more (The Encyclopedia Britannica). He struggled with neither religious problems or with intellectual ones. He accepted the gods of Greek religion in a spirit of undeniable principle, and in his writing he took pleasure in presenting human characters and human conflicts. To Sophocles “the gods” appear to have represented the natural forces of the universe to which human beings are unsuspectingly or reluctantly subject.

Consequently, he believed that human beings live for the most part in the shadow of ignorance because they are cut off from these permanent, unchanging forces and structures of reality. Yet it is pain, suffering, and the endurance of tragic crisis that can bring people into valid contact with the universal order of how things appear to be and ho things really are. In the process, a person can then become more genuinely human, more genuinely himself. Sophocles’ extraordinary style and ability to portray exceptional characters under stress was his trademark.

His dramas were built around strong-willed, highly principled, and passionate characters that encounter seemingly insurmountable ethical and moral circumstances. Sophocles thus created characters of heroic magnitude but his plays also demonstrated that having a heroic persona might very well lead to disaster. Whatever perspective is taken of Sophocles and his writing of “Oedipus the King”, there is no doubt about the depth, conviction, and art with which he expresses his philosophy.

These qualities have always been admired, and, as a result, the form in which Sophocles has cast the myth has often been imitated and admired. Some of Sophocles’ finest choral writing is to be found in this play as “Oedipus the King” illustrates the significance of his total dramatic accomplishments. Structured within it, and suggested with exceptional dramatic diplomacy, are all the basic questions of tragedy, which are presented in such a way as almost to define the form itself.

Oedipus, The King Summary

Sophocles’ Oedipus, the King is a great representation of Greek tragedy and of the human experience. Within it, he explores the intricacies of human thinking and communication along with its ability to change as more information and knowledge is acquired. His primary focus as the story begins and progresses is the growth of Oedipus from an unintelligible and unenlightened mentality to its antithesis. Because the story was one familiar to most of its viewers in its time, there are certain things that they are expected to already know.

Among them is the background to the legend. Most generally it was that it was prophesied that Laios and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes, would give birth to a child who would grow up to murder his father and marry his mother. And, fearing the dreadful prophecy, that the parents nailed their first son’s feet together (thus the name Oedipus, which means “swollen-foot”) and left him to die on a lonely moun-tainside outside the city.

Moreover, that he was found by a wandering shepherd who took him to the nearby city of Corinth where he was adopted by the childless King Polybos and Queen Merope who raised him as a son and prince in the royal household. Then, when he was a young adult and first heard the prophecy, that he assumed that it applied to Polybos and Merope, the only parents he had ever known, and had fled Corinth and wandered around Greece where he met a group of travelers and killed an old man who, unknown to him, was his real father, King Laios.

Then, when he arrived at Thebes, he met the Sphinx, a monster who guarded the gates of the city and correctly answered its riddle and was rewarded with the title of king of Thebes and was given the hand of the re-cently widowed queen, Jocasta. The true horror in his life begins here because he has four children with her, An-tigone, Ismene, Eteocles, and Polyneices and fulfills the prophecy. The story begins after some time after Oedipus has taken the throne and when there is a mysterious plague that sweeps the city.

Here, he learns from the priest that the sacred oracle says that the plague will be re-moved only when Laios’ murderer is discovered. Consequently, he sends Creon, his brother-in-law, to Delphi to consult the oracles and find out the identity of the murderer. On his return and relation of the news, he discovers his identity and of his parents and discovers his sins. In his despair, he blinds himself, and Jocasta hangs herself. He is exiled and Creon takes the throne of Thebes.

During this entire fray of mindsbetween Tiresias and Oedipus, Creon and Oedipus, and otherscertain idiosyncrasies of Oedipus are brazenly revealed. Among them, in the beginning, is his short temperament and quick judgment of situations as, for example, his confrontation of Creon after he had sent Tiresias away. He is quick to think that Creon conspired against him although he had no proof. However, by the end of the novel, he is humbled by his discovery of his sins and becomes a more enlightened man through his discovery of his ignorance of the realities of his world and his realization that there is no escaping destiny.

Oedipus seeks knowledge, but only up to a point

Sophocles’ classical Greek tragedy Oedipus the King is one of the centrepieces of Western literature. It also has a broader place in modern Western culture, courtesy of Dr Freud and his Oedipus complex, in which the process of growing up male is bound up with competition for the mother and the symbolic overthrow and supplanting, or ”killing”, of the father.

The play can be read as a traditional study of the “fatal flaw” theory of tragedy, in which Oedipus is brought down by hubris. Or as an object lesson in cautious, wise, mindful living, playing with the imagery of light and sight. Or a statement about the nature of reality and truth, and the place of uncertainty and impermanence. Or even as the first detective story, complete with clues, red herrings, false leads and gradually mounting evidence. In this reading, Oedipus is not only the chief investigator and chief prosecutor, but the chief suspect as well.

A deep and consistent feature of the play is irony. If we compare the opening scene with the closing scene, the irony of Oedipus’s experience is stark. At the beginning he is a powerful, commanding, regal figure with the interests of Thebes and its suffering citizens as his focus. By the end Oedipus is destitute, exiled by his own decree (”may he wear out his life in misery and miserable doom”), having promised to wipe out the source of the plague without realising he is the source, and that all the evidence will lead back to himself.

At so many key points there is a sharp interplay between public knowledge and private awareness, or unconscious knowledge, which sets up great tension. This is part of the larger revelatory process that structures the play as a whole. The unfolding evidence takes centre stage in the key sequences and confrontations, and amid repeated patterns of imagery to do with darkness and light, blindness and sight, the value of knowledge and the ”plague” of ignorance and infamy.

The Chorus is the voice of the Theban citizens, fearful and confused by the unfolding events. Oedipus is a man of action who takes on the responsibility of rescuing the people by anticipating certain moves. He sends Creon to consult the oracle of Apollo before being advised to do so, and learns that the murderer of the former King Laius is the cause of the plague and is in Thebes. He decides to reopen the unsolved case and calls in the reluctant Teiresias. The blind seer reveals that Oedipus himself is the ”land’s pollution”, but Oedipus dismisses his words.

Prophecy is a motivating force and Teiresias knows of the child prophesied to kill his father and marry his mother – a tale that unites Thebes and Corinth and motivates decisions both in the house of Laius and in the mind of Oedipus, as he flees the home of his supposed parents.

Oedipus’s true identity is revealed bit by bit. Firstly as the murderer of King Laius, then as the abandoned child, and finally as both the child and husband of Jocasta. Among the main clues early on in the unravelling truth of identity and circumstance is the scene of the crime – ”the crossroads”, which prompts deeper associations followed by other coincidences and readings of signs.

The ”fatal flaw” reading is still compelling. How much did Oedipus contribute to his own downfall? To some extent he is his own worst enemy and, paradoxically, his best qualities are closely related to his faults.

Oedipus is perceived as a man who values knowledge but it is all about mastery, and he is relentless in the pursuit that brings about his self-destruction. He acts impulsively and pushes unwisely, is high-handed and arrogant. He is not consistently clear-sighted – for example, he does not take on board the implications of the rumour of his illegitimacy, and after visiting the oracle flees before finding out the key fact of whether Polybus and Merope are his real parents. He displays paranoia and accuses Creon of ambition and sedition. He is highly disrespectful to the revered Teiresias and provokes the truth out of him. Finally he is extravagant in all he does; even his final scenes are grandiose.

Other key questions abound. What is the relationship between innocence and ignorance? Jocasta and Oedipus are both victims of circumstance, but Oedipus participates in his own tragedy differently, more actively and with more complexity. Jocasta struggles then tragically submits to defeat by the truth, compared with Oedipus’s solution of self-punishment, sight-in-blindness and redemption through suffering.

The Chorus closes with the statement that happiness is illusory and fragile, and can only be assessed at the very end of life. Trying to control everything in life is futile. And the wisdom of pursuing full, rather than partial, knowledge to counteract some of the pain of life is made evident.

Hamartia in Oedipus the King

According to the Aristotelian characteristics of good tragedy, the tragic character should not fall due to either excessive virtue or excessive wickedness, but due to what Aristotle called hamartia. Hamartia may be interpreted as either a flaw in character or an error in judgement. Oedipus, the tragic character in Sophocles Oedipus the King, certainly makes several such mistakes; however, the pervasive pattern of his judgemental errors seems to indicate a basic character flaw that precipitates them.

Oedipus character flaw is ego. This is made evident in the opening lines of the prologue when he states “Here I am myself–you all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus.” (ll. 7-9) His conceit is the root cause of a number of related problems. Among these are recklessness, disrespect, and stubbornness.

Oedipus displays an attitude of recklessness and disrespect throughout the play. When he makes his proclamation and no one confesses to the murder of Laius, Oedipus loses patience immediately and rushes into his curse. Later, he displays a short temper to Tiresias: “You, you scum of the earth . . . out with it, once and for all!,” (ll. 381, 383) and “Enough! Such filth from him? Insufferable–what, still alive? Get out–faster, back where you came from–vanish!” (ll. 490-492)

If an unwillingness to listen may be considered stubbornness, certainly Oedipus would take advice from no one who would tell him to drop the matter of his identity, among them Tiresias, the shepherd, and even Jocasta. Even after Oedipus thinks he has received a reprieve from the fate he fears when he hears that Polybus is dead, he does not have the sense to keep still.

“So! Jocasta, why, why look to the Prophets hearth . . . all those prophesies I feared . . . theyre nothing, worthless,” he says. (ll.1053-1054, 1062, 1064) To the shepherd, Oedipus certainly has no respect for the mans age when he tortures him. Oedipus cruelty indeed literally squeezes his own demise out of the shepherd: “Youre a dead man if I have to ask again . . . Im at the edge of hearing horrors, yes, but I must hear!” (ll. 1281, 1285)

After his recognition and reversal, Oedipus exclaims “The hand that struck my eyes was mine, . . . I did it all myself!” (ll. 1469, 1471) He is not only referring to his self-inflicted mayhem, but also the chain of events that led to his demise. Creon later comments that “its better to ask precisely what to do.” (l. 1578) In contrast to this observation, apparently this is precisely what Oedipus should have done.

Each of these events, when isolated, may be excused as a simple mistake. However, when viewed as a whole, a pattern emerges among these mistakes. The cumulative effect is indicative of an underlying character flaw. Oedipus hamartia may most directly be his mistakes, but ultimately these mistakes flow from his ego. For Oedipus, hamartia certainly refers to a flaw.

Oedipus the King – Tragic Play

Sophocles Oedipus the King is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenians. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? Oedipus correctly answered Man and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinxs riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinxs riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life.

Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. . Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found. They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity.

However, the driving force of Oedipus fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesnt realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct.

Oedipus Rex – Bliss in Ignorance Oedipus Rex – Bliss in Ignorance One of the most memorable and meaningful Socratic quotes applies well when in context of Sophocles’ Theban Trilogy. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” proclaims Socrates. He could have meant many things by this statement, and in relation to the play, the meaning is found to be even more complex. Indeed, the situation of Oedipus, king of Thebes, the truth of this statement is in question. Would Oedipus have been better off if he was blind to the knowledge of his birthing and the fate which was foretold to someday efall him?

Truly though, his life would have been a far better and easier path had he never known about his true origins. His life in Corinth would have been long and prosperous, and Thebes would have lived on under King Laius. In fact, everyone would have been better off in the long run if Oedipus had not ventured out beyond the walls of Corinth. So is it worth living an examined life? Socrates had made this statement long after the creation of the Theban Trilogy. In the context of his own time, this was meant to imply that life must be examined and reflected upon, known and iscovered by each individual philosopher to better enrich life for all.

Yet in terms of Sophoclean drama, specifically Oedipus Rex, this was meant in a vastly different way. The unexamined life was one that was in the dark, unknown as to what fate lied beyond every turn and irony of living. Oedipus, up to the point in which he heard the comment in the tavern in Corinth, lived an unexamined life. To Socrates, he was an unfulfilled man, one who deserved to know more, one who not complete. However, in a much less metaphysical sense, Oedipus’ life was complete, in that he had all that he needed, and was iving a happy and fruitful life.

As the drama progresses, he finds out more and more, learning exactly what the implications of his birth was, he suffers the fate for examining his life. So what Socrates had meant, that the life which was not rich with self exploration and reflection was not worth living, was indeed different than its application in terms of Oedipus, who’s life was unexamined, yet complete. The question arises, what would life have been like, if Oedipus had not discovered his true origins? If he had stayed in Corinth, would this have ever happened?

We find that indeed, we would ave had no story, if not for that lone comment of a drunkard which sparked the fire of rebellion in the young prince Oedipus. He ventured out to Delphi, to pry knowledge of his background out of it, and to discover if this was indeed the truth, despite the fact that his adopted parents of Corinth had assured him of it falseness. Oedipus leaves Corinth, fulfilling the Socratic idea of the unexamined life. However, we must evaluate the eventual consequences of his actions and the implications which they possess.

What becomes of his fateful journey out of Corinth leads to the downfall of an entire city nd family line. If he had not murdered King Laius, the Sphinx would have never descended upon Thebes, he would have never fulfilled the prophecy, and all would have lived on in a relative peace and tranquillity. Once examining these aspects of the relationship between the quote and Oedipus Rex, we can come to a final examination of its implications. The question which was addressed, that of the value of the examined life, can be answered.

Indeed, if Oedipus had not ventured beyond the protective walls of his adopted home, would anything such as what occurred in the play ever have transpired? If Oedipus had not pursued that answers to the mysteries that plagued him, despite the pleading warnings of Icasta, in fact his life would have been contented and happy. Instead, he follows the Socratic method of exploration and discovery, and proceeds down the path of pain and distraught. Was, after it was over, all worth it? We find that no, it was not. Being content and suited with what he knew of himself would have saved Oedipus and his children/siblings much agony.

However, in the typical Greek tragedy, we must see his fall from grace through, which is indeed what happens. In the bliss of ignorance, much pain and difficulty is averted. For what worries does the ignorant man have? In the case of Oedipus, ignorance would have suited him fine. The Socratic quote “the unexamined life is not worth living” certainly doesn’t hold true in the case of Oedipus Rex. While it may hold importance and a substantial meaning for our own lives, in the case of Oedipus Rex, he would have been better off without it.

Indeed, for while the unexamined life is poor in a metaphysical sense, Oedipus would have truly been fine without it. For the unexamined life is a simple one, nd he would have lived a long and happy life, never discovering the true nature of his birth, nor even caring. Oedipus Rex Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian’s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed.

Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used he riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man. The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus.

As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being. Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius’ son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured.

This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the racle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them. Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer.

Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth. This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx’s riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his ntelligence superior to theirs.

Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius. He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother.

In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly. Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was.

A Discussion of Self-Discovery and the Pursuit of Truth in Sophocles Oedipus

It is said that the truth will set you free, but in the case of Sophocles Oedipus, the truth drives a man to imprison himself in a world of darkness by gouging out his eyes. As he scours the city for truth, Oedipus ruin is ironically mentioned and foreshadowed in the narrative. With these and other devices Sophocles illuminates the kings tragic realization and creates a firm emotional bond with the audience. Oedipus quest is revealed to him early on in the play, though it undergoes a number of transformations before he is actually examining his own life and heritage.

He begins with the reasonable search for the motive behind the wave of death and destruction that has overcome Thebes. This leads into his search for the man who murdered Laius, and finally to Oedipus questioning his own innocence and origin. The final stage of his search is where he becomes most fervent, regretfully not considering the magnitude of the effect his discovery will have on him. In order to assess Oedipus search for truth, one must first look at each transformation separately before tying them together.

Oedipus first investigation, as previously mentioned, relates to the terrible condition of Thebes. His attention is brought to this matter by a throng of suppliants praying at his steps. Oedipus characterizes himself as a father figure to his people, addressing them as such: “My children” (Prologue. 1). As father to his people, he sees the importance of relieving their suffering, and thus sends Creon to the Oracle at Delphi. This vague stage of Oedipus search quickly loses its cryptic nature, however, with the return of said messenger.

Oedipus pursuit experiences its first conversion when Creon brings him this charge from the Delphic Oracle: “expel from the land of Thebes / An old defilement we are sheltering” (Prologue. 99-100). It is quickly determined between the two men that the defilement to which the prophecy refers is the murderer of Laius. Oedipus sees it as his duty to rid the city of the villain, who the audience knows to be the king himself. Seeking out the man who slew Laius leads Oedipus to question his own innocence, and leads into the final metamorphosis of Oedipus quest.

Prompted by a messenger heralding the death of Polybus, he is beginning to dig into his past, going deeper than the possibility of his murdering Laius. He has become obsessed with his hunt for truth to the point where he is a worry to those around him: “He will listen to any voice that speaks disaster” (III. 7). He finally draws parallels between Laius and himself, realizing the horrible truth of his very existence; he has murdered his father and married his mother. This prompts him to gouge out his eyes, ending his search.

These three stages, with respect to literary devices, can be traced accurately and effectively throughout the play. Sometimes highlighting Oedipus character, other times hinting at his fate, the author creates an intricate web of ironies and images to captivate his audience. Each layer compounds the suffering of Oedipus when the truth is revealed. While presenting the plea of all Thebans in the prologue, the priest says, “We rose but later fell” (52). He, of course, is referring to the city, but the audience sees the irony in the line.

Oedipus “rose” to the throne when the city was released from the horror of the Sphinx, but he is the one who will “fall” in trying to save the city once more. Oedipus goes full circle in this respect; he begins by searching for a way to prevent the downfall of Thebes, and ends by provoking his own downfall with the revelation of his personal truths. Oedipus believes the truth will bring relief to both him and Thebes: “you shall have relief from all these evils” (I. 3). Once again, the irony is apparent in the fact that when Oedipus knows the truth he blinds himself yet lives on in agony.

When his attention is turned to finding the murderer of Laius, Oedipus makes a vow that surpasses irony: “I say I take the sons part, just as though / I were his son” (I. 48-49). He is saying that he will avenge Laius as he would his own father. Irony exists on two levels here. On one level, he will press on as diligently as a son would, inevitably incriminating himself in this situation. On another, more obvious level, he is, in fact, the son whose part he his figuratively assuming.

Irony is beautifully expressed in the first scene, depicting the clairvoyant Tiresias hurling damning prophecies at the king, the following quotation in particular: “I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind” (195). The irony comes from the fact that, despite being physically blind, Tiresias sees the truth and the harm it will do to Oedipus when it is revealed. Oedipus, on the other hand, cannot conceive of any reason why the truth would hurt him. This confrontation between the figuratively and literally blind proves to be a clever example of peripety as well as irony.

Oedipus goes from having physical sight but being ignorant and blind to reality to being physically blind but quite knowledgeable about his situation. The coming of Oedipus literal blindness is divined by Tiresias, foreshadowing the kings reaction to the truth he seeks so passionately. Tiresias says, when provoked, that “the double lash of your parents curse will whip you / Out of this land some day, with only night / Upon your precious eyes” (I. 203-205). This depicts Oedipus blinding himself and exiling himself from Thebes.

The journey he goes on leaves the play with an indeterminate ending; the audience does not know where Oedipus goes afterward. By not incorporating the details of his excursion the author elucidates Oedipus depravity and hopelessness. Night, representing Oedipus blindness, foreshadows the nature of Oedipus discovery. The Chorus is the first to make this symbolic reference: “For the day ravages what the night spares” (Parodos. 40). “Day” is substituted for truth here. For Oedipus, ignorance would have been bliss had he been able to avoid overcoming his blindness.

Later, following Oedipus reversal, Creon sympathetically says to Oedipus, “Your misery, you are not blind to that. Would God you had never found it out! ” (Exodos. 124-125). This passage emphasizes the above theory as the king has, in essence, bartered his physical well-being for his knowledge. Light and darkness is a repeated image in the play, enforcing the devastating nature of the truth Oedipus reveals. Upon embarking on his quest, Oedipus says, “once again I must bring what is dark to light” (Prologue. 134). When he achieves this, however, he finds that reality is blacker than he could have imagined.

Another example of this occurs near the end of the play when Oedipus refers to his blindness: “O cloud of night, / Never to be turned away” (Exodos. 90-91). This darkness, in contrast to the first, is real and cannot be overcome. He removes the offending part of himself; the eyes that failed him as well as his ignorance of reality. Oedipus sets out to discover the truth despite his possible ruin. He realizes a danger to himself in scene two: “You are aware, I hope, that what you say / Means death for me, or exile at the least” (138-139).

While he does not consider the severity of his future suffering, he still risks a great deal by continuing his search once he is insinuated in Laius murder. This shows the extent of his desire for truth and prosperity for his people. The continuing agony experienced by Oedipus is apparent when, after blinding himself, Oedipus refers to the fact that despite being blind he sees the truth: “The flooding pain of memory, never to be gouged out” (Exodos. 95-96). By ruining his eyes Oedipus has merely deprived himself of physical sight.

The knowledge of his wretchedness lives on in his mind, and will live on despite the removal of his eyesight. Oedipus shame is highlighted when, explaining his self-mutilation, he says that he will not be able to “bear the sight / Of my father, when I came to the house of death” (Exodos. 143-144). He is ashamed to have caused his fate to come around, thus causing the deaths of his parents. Had the truth been know to him from the beginning, before he even left Corinth, this suffering could have been avoided.

Sophocles Oedipus is the tragedy of tragedies. An honorable king is deceived and manipulated by the gods to the point of his ruination. In the face of ugly consequences Oedipus pursues the truth for the good of his city, finally exiling himself to restore order. Sophocles establishes emotional attachment between the king and the audience, holding them in captivated sympathy as Oedipus draws near his catastrophic discovery. Oedipus draws the audience into a world between a rock and a hard place, where sacrifice must be made for the greater good.

The play “Oedipus the King”

In the play “Oedipus the King”, the main character, Oedipus tries intensively to figure out the truth about himself. There were many instances where Oedipus was looking for the truth but instead was led away from it. As Oedipus searches the city of Thebes for the truth, his ruin is ironically mentioned and foreshadowed in the narrative. His quest is revealed to him early on in the play, though it undergoes a number of changes before he is actually examining his own life and heritage. He begins with the reasonable search for the reasoning behind the death and destruction that has overcome Thebes.

This leads into his search for the man who murdered Laius, and finally to him questioning his own innocence and origin. The final stage of his search is where he becomes most intense, regretfully not considering the extent of the effect his discovery will have on him. Oedipus’ first investigation, as previously mentioned, relates to the terrible condition of Thebes. As father to his people, he sees the importance of relieving their suffering, and thus sends Creon to the Oracle at Delphi. Creon brings him this message from the Delphic Oracle: “expel from the land of Thebes / An old defilement we are sheltering”.

It is quickly determined between the two men that the defilement to which the prophecy refers is the murderer of Laius. Oedipus sees it as his job to rid the city of the plague. Trying to figure out who killed Laius leads him to question his own innocence, and leads into the final stage of his quest. When a messenger comes to tell him of the death of Polybous, the man Oedipus thinks is his father, Oedipus is beginning to dig into his past, going deeper than the possibility of his murdering Laius.

He has become obsessed with his search for truth to the point where the people around him worry for him. He finally draws a connection between Laius and himself, realizing the horrible truth of his very existence; he has murdered his father and married his mother. This prompts him to poke out his eyes, ending his search. Oedipus sets out to discover the truth despite his possible ruin. While he does not consider the severity of his future suffering, he still risks a great deal by continuing his search once he is insinuated in Laius’ murder.

This shows the amount of desire for truth and prosperity he has for his people. The continuing agony experienced by Oedipus is obvious when, after blinding himself, Oedipus refers to the fact that despite being blind he sees the truth: “The flooding pain of memory, never to be gouged out”. By ruining his eyes he has only deprived himself of physical sight. The knowledge of his wretchedness is still evident in his mind, and will live on despite the removal of his eyesight.

Oedipus’ when, explaining his self-mutilation, says that he will not be able to “bear the sight / Of my father, when I came to the house of death”. He is ashamed to have caused his fate to come around, also causing the deaths of his parents. Had the truth been know to him from the beginning, before he even left Corinth, this suffering could have been avoided. It is said that the truth will set you free, but in the case of Oedipus, the truth drives a man to imprison himself in a world of darkness by gouging out his eyes.

“Sight” and “Blindness”

“ Sight” and “Blindness” can be considered one of the main and most important themes in Oedipus Tyrannus. The themes of blindness and sight can be looked at both metaphorically and literally. When defining both physical and Metaphorical blindness, the following definitions are very useful: to be physically blind is, naturally, to be “unable to see,” and metaphorical blindness is an “ inability or unwillingness to understand or discern.

Throughout the play, throughout the play Sophocles keeps these two components at the center of the action and uses them to create dramatic irony. When reading this play the reader must take in to account who can “see” and who is “blind” either figuratively and literally. In the beginning of the play, Oedipus has perfect physical vision. However, he is blind and ignorant to the truth about himself and his past. He desperately wants to know, to see, but he cannot.

Oedipus’ blindness which must be considered is that many times throughout the course of the action he is warned not to pursue the matter any further, for fear that the truth could be damaging to him as the prophesies would suggests. The events are made all the more tragic at the point where he thinks he can ‘see’ when he at last realizes that he is in fact the murderer of Laius, and yet he is still blind to the final horrible truth. To make the situation worst Jocasta his wife advises Oedipus not to pursue the matter further: “Stop-in the name of god, …. ll off this search! ” Jocasta has seen the truth but Oedipus is only worried in she finds out he was not of noble birth.

Ironically, into the play the prophet, a seer, Teiresias, who is physically blind, but who is clairvoyant. This just makes Oedipus more ignorant to the true appearance of things. This man is blind but can “see” the truth about Oedipus, yet Oedipus, in all his physical perfection cannot see anything. Throughout the play Oedipus continuosly belittles and accused everyone of the crime that he is guilty of.

In Act II, Scene II he calls Teiresias a “blind and impious traitor Thus Oedipus’ ignorance, or blindness, is his hamartia, and were it not for this it is unlikely the audience would have been as pitiful of Oedipus as they would be when viewing Sophocles’ play in its present form—if Oedipus had acted knowingly at any time he would unquestionably been viewed of as the very model of inhumanity, and he would certainly not arouse the pity that ought to be aroused in a tragedy. As Oedipus says himself, “I simply didn’t know. “

Sophocles Oedipus the King

Sophocles Oedipus the King is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenians. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? Oedipus correctly answered Man and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinxs riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinxs riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life.

The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life. Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. . Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found.

They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity. However, the driving force of Oedipus fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesnt realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct.

Sophocles Oedipus The King

A Puppet without Strings The theory behind fate or predetermination has been embedded in todays society partially due to literature. Sophocles Oedipus The King perpetuates this ideology that the title character pursues a path which happens to be foretold. Oedipus was determined to save his city and discover his identity, however he ultimately assists in his own downfall. An Oracle reveals that Oedipus is destined to murder his father and marry his mother, and Oedipus, unable to face his unspeakable fate, chooses to flee his home in order to escape from it.

Oedipus, whom believed he was running from his destiny, was actually led directly to it. Oedipus unknowingly fulfills the prophecy by marrying Jocasta, his biological mother, and becomes King of Thebes after murdering a man who was his true father, Laius. Oedipus resolves to lift a deadly plague that had descended on the city, only to learn that in order to do so he must find and punish the murderer of the former King Laius. He invokes a curse on the sinner. Ironically, Oedipus remains ignorant of the fact that he himself was the transgressor; he was jinxing himself.

When the blind prophet Teiresias is summoned to shed light on the subject, he warns Oedipus not to be overly presumptuous and assures him that the future will come of itself and the past will surface when need be. Initially, his rash, self-righteous internal character begins to surface and with his increased frustration Oedipus begins to adversely affect his relationships with others, particularly antagonizing his friends and respected members of the city. Oedipus detrimental behavior eventually leads to the realization of his true identity; this horrifying truth brings dishonor to his family and destroys his image in the eyes of the people.

Oedipus finally emerges with his world in pieces and the mere thought of his abominable sins leaves him guilt-ridden; he is eventually overcome. Overall, in terms of the downfall of the king, Oedipus brought it upon himself, what he sought to find out was intentionally kept from him, in the words of the prophet Teiresias, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man thats wise! (Page 23, line 316) At first, Oedipus appears to be genuinely concerned about the welfare of his citizens. He is anxious to do all in his power to ensure that the plague that engulfed the city was ameliorated by avenging the murder of Laius.

But evidently, the people were not his primary concern. Oedipus virtually attacks the prophet when Teiresias challenges him with the truth: you are the lands pollution! (Pg. 25, line 353) and I say you are the murderer of the king whose murderer you seek. (Pg. 26, line 360) Oedipus calls Teiresias a false prophet, ridicules his blindness, and even goes so far as to tell him that only his old age has spared his punishment.

Oedipus threatens him with the vitriolic, condemning words: Go and a curse with you! Quick, home with you! Out of my house at once! (Pg. , line 430) After alienating Teiresias, whose counsel is normally revered, Oedipus succeeds in accusing the seer of scheming with Jocastas brother Creon. At this point, Oedipus violent anger and rage is apparent and in full swing. Creon, his kinsman, acts as a contrast to his irrational behavior; Oedipus dramatic foil: My mind would not be traitor if its wise; I am no treason lover, of my nature, nor would I ever dare to join a plot. Prove what I say. Go to the oracle… if you discover I laid any plot together with the seer, kill me I say, not only by your vote but my own.

But do not charge me on obscure opinion without some proof to back it. (Pg. 36, lines 600-609) When Oedipus threatens to kill Creon, accusing him of trying to gain control of the throne, Creon rationally attempts to make sense of the situation. He has no reason to defend himself, for he is innocent; there is no evidence against him and Oedipus accusation is unfounded. It is Oedipus who is becoming more and more defensive as he is beginning to realize that the unspeakable may be true. He lashes out at those who merely state the facts; to him they are hard to accept as realities.

But by doing so he has antagonized a well-respected prophet, and lost a friend. Creon, realizing that his friendship to Oedipus may be lost, reminds him: To throw away an honest friend is, as it were, to throw your life away, which a man loves the best. Primarily, he committed patricide without his own knowledge, and never had the opportunity to really know his true father. He had to escape from the man who he believed to be his father in order to protect him and keep from fulfilling the rest of the prophecy.

This proves that he could run away, only he escaped from the wrong place. Oedipus then unintentionally commits incest by marrying his mother and has four children by her. Upon realization of his true parentage and the horrifying nature of the crimes he committed without his own knowledge, Oedipus is shocked at the extent of his sinful deeds. His actions cause tremendous pain for Jocasta, his wife and mother, who pleaded with him from the beginning not to seek that which is not meant to be sought.

Initially, when Oedipus had not yet realized that he was indeed responsible for these terrible sins, he thought that Jocasta feared uncovering of the past because of the dishonor she would feel if associated with Oedipus if he was discovered to be of low lineage. Ironically, dishonor is too mild a term to describe the amount of grief and suffering the unleashing of the past would bring about. Unfortunately, once the trail was started it was followed to the end, and a bitter end at that. Oedipus is ultimately so ashamed that he could not bear to face his sins: Light of the sun, let me look upon you no more after today!

I who first saw the light bred of a match accursed, and accursed in my living with them I lived with, cursed in my killing. (Pg. 63, lines 1183-1185) Jocasta finds a means of escape only through suicide. At the sight of her dead body, Oedipus, also choosing self-inflicted pain as the ideal form of punishment, removes her gold brooches from her dress and pierces his own eyes, for he feels he does not deserve to see nor does he wish to look upon his horrendous deeds, Why should I see whose vision showed me nothing sweet to see? (Pg. , line 1334) He also begs Creon to banish him from the city, into exile but Creon refuses to comply.

Oedipus does feel grief and concern for his children and the pain this horror will inevitably cause them. He asks Creon to take care of his daughters, for they will need his guidance. He tells Antigone and Ismene: If you were older, children, and were wiser, theres much advise I would give you. But as it is, let this be what you pray: give me a life wherever there is an opportunity to live, and better life than was my fathers. (Pg. , line 1511) This is perhaps one of the most tragic scenes in the play, for the obvious emotional pain Oedipus is experiencing is overwhelming.

Befittingly, misfortune seems to encompass the tragedy of Oedipus, as the downfall of a king is witnessed. The root of this destruction appears to be a course of action, which was chosen by Oedipus; the irony that it had been written before is just that, satire. As a tragic hero, his story is one in which he himself becomes responsible for accelerating his own downfall, he managed to run away from one facet of his life, it just happened to be the wrong one.

Introduced as a caring and concerned King, he suddenly emerges as a rash and presumptuous character whose decisions are not well founded. The Greeks belief in moderation is relevant with respect to Oedipus character in that those who display emotions in excess are destined for a fall. Oedipus overpowering sense of rage is the reason for his pitiful condition in the end, when all that remains is a powerless blind man, victim of his own self-nature.

Oedipus The King as Greek Tragedy

The genre of drama is wide and contains works of varied forms and subjects. The first drama, on which all later works are based, developed in Greece and dealt with religious and social issues. According to AristotleOs The Poetics, a Greek Tragedy must deal with a serious purpose, arousing a sense of pity or fear in the audience. The emphasis must be on plot over character development and the playwright must utilize suspense and unity of time, place and action.

Aristotle writes that a tragic hero is a character who is renowned and prosperous, not necessarily perfect, but not an evil person either. The ragic hero must meet with a reversal of fortune brought about by either folly or fate. Based on these criteria, Oedipus the King by Sophocles is considered the prototypical Greek Tragedy. Oedipus, the playOs main character, is also considered the model of a Greek tragic hero. Oedipus the King deals with several serious purposes, the greatest of which being the agnosticism Sophocles perceived in his community.

Through Iokaste who OEwould not waste a second thoughtEO on oracles, Sophocles shows his audience the perils of disbelief in the gods, since each prophecy made by oracles in the play ended up coming true (l. 813). Sophocles uses his play to perform serious religious functions as well as to entertain theatre-goers. The fulfillment of the predictions made by the oracles led to the downfall of Oedipus, which created a catharsis in the audience, brought by arousing feelings of pity and fear for the fallen king.

The Choragos gives the lesson, OElet none presume on his good fortune until he find life, at his death, a memory without painO (l. 1473-5). This scene allows the audience to leave the theater feeling purged of their pity and fear. The plot is the most important component of Oedipus the King, as it is of every Greek Tragedy. Development of characters is secondary, and the audience rarely Ogets insideO any of the characters. Only characters crucial to the plot are introduced; there is no extraneous action on stage. This development of plot is a challenge.

A tragedian must present a story with which the audience is already familiar and still make it interesting and exciting. Sophocles accomplishes this goal by using dramatic irony. Several times in the play the audience knows something the characters on stage do not. During the conversation between Oedipus and Iokaste in which Oedipus is trying to determine if he is King LaiosOs murderer, Iokaste tells him hat he canOt possibly be the killer, since OMy child was doomed to kill him; and my childEdied firstO (l. 810-1).

The audience, familiar with the story, knew that her child in fact had not died, and that Oedipus was actually both her child and the killer. This creates suspense that came to be called Sophoclean irony. By using this dramatic irony, Sophocles ensures that his plays will be interesting to an audience that already knows the story. The story in Oedipus the King, characteristic of all Greek Tragedy, has unity of time, place and action, since it takes place all in one day, happens in a single scene, and evelops only one plot. These qualities combine to make Oedipus the King the primary example of a Greek tragedy.

The main character in a Greek tragedy cannot be just anyone. A Greek tragic hero like Oedipus has distinctive qualities, which set him apart from the characters we see in modern drama. Oedipus holds a high position at the beginning of the play; he is the King of Thebes, famous for solving the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus is a good man, but he is not perfect. He has a temper that leads Kreon to describe him as OUgly in yielding, as you were ugly in rageO (l. 635)! Though he has a endency to get very angry, Oedipus is not at any extreme of evil.

He is not a depraved ruler; he shows genuine concern for his people when they come to him in droves asking him to find an end to their famine. He recognized that he would OEbe heartless were [he] not moved to find you suppliant hereO (ll. 14-5). Oedipus is not a bad man, but he does suffer a reversal of fortune that is requisite upon a tragic hero. He falls from his high position not because of any fault or flaw, but because he couldnOt escape his fate. Though he did make some decisions that led to his demise, ultimately, despite his best effort, is fate led him to murder his father and marry his mother.

When he learned of his destiny from the oracle at Delphi, he tried as hard as he could to leave the country where he thought he was born. It was not through folly, or careless decisions that Oedipus met his demise. Like Tess, Oedipus could do nothing to escape the pain he was destined to suffer. Greek tragedy is exemplified in Oedipus the King because of the subject matter and the action onstage. Oedipus falls from his high position due to fate that he cannot escape, which is typical of a tragic hero.

Jocasta Role in Oedipus

Jocasta is an integral part of the play, Oedipus The King, by Sophocles. Her actions and thoughts are important to the reader as well as the characters within the play. In this passage there are several themes and significant items that she is addressing. Jocasta is trying to help relieve Oedipus of his fears that come from the oracles. Jocasta states at the beginning of her speech to Oedipus (977-984), that since chance is against him there is no need to worry; he can not know what will occur in the future.

Jocasta, on the other hand, does not follow her own advice, and decides to kill herself instead of living with the guilt of sleeping with Oedipus. She continues to say that because of fate man should live life without thinking of the consequences of his actions. It seems as though Jocasta advocates a world without morals. It is almost as though Jocasta does not see anything wrong with a man sleeping with his mother. Jocasta is being hypocritical when she says that person should not think about his actions because he can not avoid taking them [971].

According to this logic, her discussion to marry Oedipus, even after the oracle stated that she will marry her son who will kill her husband, was inevitable. When she finally becomes aware that Oedipus, her husband, is also her son she is horrified [1060-1061]. If she really believed that a person should live life unthinkingly,” then she would have been able to continue on with her life, and not to have been so distraught by the news. However, she goes so far as to kill herself [1246-1252].

While Jacostas speech point to her hypocrisy, it also points to a world without morals – a world where man should do whatever he wants and does not have to worry about his actions. Best to live lightly, as one can, unthinkingly,” Jocasta says, painting a portrait of a society without morals. One might say that Sophocles here argues that fate is responsible for everything and that man can do nothing to avoid it. In this play we realize that man is punished for acts that may be considered immoral. The fate of a person still rests on the actions that he commits.

If Oedipus had not killed Laius, then the oracles decree would never have come to pass. Lined throughout the play are examples of people suffering for the actions that they committed that were immoral: the people of Thebes suffer from a plague because they have not avenged the murder of their Laius; Oedipus suffers for killing his father, and sleeping with his mother. In Oedipus case he punishes himself by blinding himself. He does this because he knows that the acts that he committed are so horrible.

He is unable to live with himself, seeing the results of his actions, Ismene and Antigone. Oedipus blinds himself, so that he would not have to see the products of his terrible deed, his daughters [1272-1276]. Oedipus might be physically blind only at the end of the play, but from the beginning of the play he is unable to see what his future holds for him. Jocasta infers in her speech that Oedipus, just like most other men, is blind when it comes to his future. Jocasta states that because man does not determine his own future; he can not control the events that will affect his future.

He is subject to what fate determines for him. This is evident in the fact that even though Oedipus knew from the oracle that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He was still unable to predict that Polybus was not his father, and that Laius was. Oedipus thought he knew exactly how to escape the oracle, but in the end he lost. The people who he thought were his parents were not really his parents, and the man that he killed was really a king, and his father. Nothing is clear for him at this moment.

Towards the end of the play everything does become apparent to him, but he can only see what had occurred in the past, and not the future. It is ironic that the only person within the play that was able to see the future was a blind man. Oedipus even mocked Teiresias that he is blind. In the end we see Oedipus as the blind man: in both aspects, that he can not see physically, and that he was unable to see his future [370-372]. One of Oedipus greatest mistakes were that he was unable to see that he is sleeping with his own mother.

Jocasta, in this passage, is not so against a man sleeping with his own mother. She states, man has slept with his mother many times before in many other circumstances, but only the man who does not give it much thought will continue to live peacefully. It seems that she is telling Oedipus to be inhuman. She says that Oedipus should not fear sleeping with his own mother. Oedipus, rightly so, is very upset at this point it the play, because he is filled with fear when he thinks of committing such a vile act [984-986].

It is unnatural for a person to sleep with his mother, yet Jocasta insists that it is fine. Jocastas speech is one of great importance it has several ideas that Sophocles is trying to stress throughout this play. She states that man can not get away from his fate. She also offers several pieces of advise to Oedipus which seem to go against what she feels or does. Overall this passage is important for the reader to understand the themes, characters, and their positions within the play.

Comparing And Contrasting The Character’s Oedipus And Othello

When comparing and contrasting the character’s Oedipus and Othello by means of the different theatrical practices, one must take in account that there have been many interpretations, and productions of each of their respected plays. The differing presentations of each may lead someone to think differently about the play than another would.

In comparing and contrasting the dramatic representation of the protagonists Oedipus and Othello, theatrical presentation, costume design, and character will lead the reader, and viewer, to have a greater insight into the theatrical ractices of their times and their approaches to the issue of verisimilitude. The theatrical presentation of both plays are very similar. The two plays would both be presented on a thrust stage, which is a platform surrounded on three sides by the audience. Except for the backdrop which would have some element of scenery, the stage itself would be bare apart from a few scenic elements and props.

Othello, like most of Shakespeare’s plays, had what is called an abstract setting. That is a setting in which the locale may change rapidly, it may not be indicated by the script that it has changed, and was most likely suggested by a few props. Abstract settings place more emphasis on the language and the performer, which causes the spectator to use their imagination. It also places more emphasis on costuming. This type of setting helped set up the style of representational theater, which places high emphasis on the realistic.

The style used in classical Greece was presentational which, because of the use of the mask, gave no illusion that this story is happening before their eyes. The audience is reminded that they are watching a play, and not merely observing life. Thus, the use of the thrust stage is the only similarity of the two types of presentation. Othello is a purely illusionistic play, whereas Oedipus Rex is one that when watched, the viewer knows that they are watching a performance. Costumes convey information about the character and aid in setting the tone or mood of the production.

Because most acting involves impersonation, most costumes are essential to re-create historical or to the period in which the production takes place. Costumes like that of William Shakespeare’s Othello maybe abstract, ever-changing, like it’s setting. When using the costume design of the latest film version of Othello, he is usually seen in a toga-like uniform which may have stemmed rom his moor background. Since costume elements were formalized in classical Greek theater, the costumes would be that of everyday dress with slight additions of colour, designs, all of which created a larger meaning in the context of the play.

The additions on the toga also contributed to accentuating the setting , which in Oedipus’ case was Thebes. His toga could have been coloured like the sand and have an ornament like a Sphinx tooth, signifying his bravery for killing the beast. In the case of Othello his toga-like uniform, may have had a general’s insignia on the shoulders, nd much like in the film, the scars and tattoos showing the suffering he has gone through. On the issue of verisimilitude, actors in Oedipus Rex would be required to wear a mask bearing an expression that would stay throughout the place, making the character’s seem flat and general.

Oedipus is a round character, but because of the mask, he has a one dimensional projection to the audience. The costumes worn in Othello would be that of clothing of that time. This is common in both plays, but the absence of the mask in Othello, meant that the actor provided their own expressions. Thus, the costumes worn in both plays would be life-like to the audience, but the use of the mask in classical Greece robbed the viewer of a three dimensional projection and withheld the expressions, by the actor.

When an actor acts, they impersonate to believably re-create a historical or fictional character. The character’s of Oedipus and Othello are developed into round characters. Round characters are those that are well developed three dimensionally with multiple meaning to their characters. Oedipus is a character who’s fate cannot be avoided, and which ever path he seems to take leads him to more trouble than hat he had to deal with before. Even though his character is well-rounded, he is not believable.

It would be highly unlikely that Oedipus would marry a woman who looked as if she could be his mother without asking a few questions about her past marriages and about her children. It could have caused some insight in their characters, and questions could have arisen about the first child which was sent away and thought of as dead. Othello on the other hand is a well-rounded character, and he is believable. Othello is a man who is filled with jealousy and mistrust he learns hat his wife may be sleeping with another man.

Anyone who has been in love has had this feeling once and a while, and that feeling is being fed by the person of whom they most trust it can be devastating for that person. As Iago continually feeds Othello’s suspicion, his hurt and mistrust grows for his wife, until he finally kills her. This is seen in the news everyday… a jealous lover kills the other half because they were seen with another man, or with their ex. Thus, the character of Oedipus is a round characters, but cannot be believed due to the absurd circumstances of his marriage with Jocasta.

Othello’s round character can be believed, because jealousy invades all of us at one time or another and for Othello, he chose to act upon it much like those who act in our society today. In conclusion, when comparing and contrasting the dramatic representation of the protagonists Oedipus and Othello, the differences in their theatrical presentations ,with regard to the styles of presentational and representational theater, the similarities in approach to costume design, and their approaches to the validity of realistic characters, gives great insight on these two different dramatic periods.

Oedipus the King, A Great Play

Oedipus the King is a great play whose qualities of inscrutability and of pervasive ironically quickly come to complicate any critical discussion(). Sophocles play Oedipus the King fits into a tragedy because it recounts the events in the life of Oedipus Rex, arouses pity and fear in the audience, and ends in an unhappy catastrophe (Harmon).

Oedipus life began in Thebes as the son of Laius and Jocasta. Apollo had placed a curse on Oedipus. The cursed said that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. Since Laius and Jocasta were afraid of the curse, they sent Oedipus away into the woods with a shepherd to be left to die. The shepherd should not bare to leave an infant in the woods to die, so he gave the infant to another man who took him to Polybus and Merope, king and queen of Athens, since they were not able to have kids.

Oedipus grew up and learned that he was cursed. He left Athens believing that Polybus and Merope were his parents. He thought that if he moved away the curse would not come true. Oedipus left Athens and during his travels he ended up killing Laius and became the king of Thebes and married after answering the riddle.

After Oedipus became King his kingdom was hit by a plague and the only way to stop the plague was to avenge Laius death by executing or exiling his killer. Oedipus brother-in-law Creon tells him to ask the prophet, Tiresias, who the killer is. Tiresias tells Oedipus that he does not want to know who the killer is, but Oedipus keeps on Tiresias until he tells Oedipus that,

“I charge you, then, submit to that decree you just laid down: from this day onward speak to no one, not these citizens, nor myself. You are the curse, the corruption of the land.”(Sophocles 833)

At first Oedipus thinks Creon put Tiresias up to say what he said. He questions Jocasta about the party Laius was traveling with and he starts to think that he might have killed Laius, so he sends for the survivor of the party traveling with Laius to find out for sure if it was Laius he killed. Then a messenger comes from Athens telling them that Polybus is dead from natural causes.

Jocasta tries to comfort Oedipus by saying the curse could not be true if his father died of natural causes, but the messenger tells Oedipus that he is not Polybus biological son. The survivor was also the same man who took Oedipus when he was born to the woods. He confirmed that he was not Polybus son and he was Laius son. As these events occurred the audience begins to that the curse has already came true.

Oedipus the King arouses pity and fear in the audience. Pity starts rising when Oedipus born and is sent away into the woods to die. The audience feels pity for Oedipus when he realizes that despite all his efforts the curse still came true. Pity also arises when Jocasta kills herself and after Oedipus gouges out his eyes. Fear arises in the audience when Oedipus is talking to Tiresias.

The audience knows that he is the cause of the plague, but fears that Oedipus is going to find out that he was the cause of the plague. The audience also fears when Oedipus is talking to the messenger and the audience fears that Oedipus is going to find out that the curse has already came true. As pity and fear occurs throughout the play, it leads up to the catastrophe at the end of the play.

Oedipus the King further fits into the definition of a tragedy because the play ends in an unhappy catastrophe. After Oedipus finds out that the curse has come true, that he really killed his father and married his mother. Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus gouges out his eyes. “As Oedipus was doing the deed, he cried out that his eyes should no longer be able to look upon his crimes; before, his eyes had seen those they should not have seen, and failed to recognize those they ought to have recognized (Buxton, 109).

Sophoclese play Oedipus The King

Where Lies the Blame? In Sophoclese play Oedipus The King, the fate of Oedipus, the main character, was foretold at his birth that he would kill his own father and marry his mother. As a young adult, he went to see an oracle after hearing rumors. The oracle told him of his foul fate and he ran away trying to escape the chances of this awful future unaware he running towards what he thought he would escape.

Oedipus was partially responsible for his downfall because let curiosity lead him to the oracle where he found out his orrifying fate, he killed his own father when he should have avoided killing anyone, and if he wanted to avoid marrying his mother, he should have never married anyone older than he. After the birth of Oedipus, his parents Lias and Jocasta, King and Queen of Thebes sentenced him to death because the oracle told them that he would kill his father and marry his mother. They were unaware of the fact that did not die, but was adopted by the king and queen of Corinth.

Oedipus was never informed that he was abandoned at a young age, found by a hepherd and adopted. One day while attending a dinner, a drunken man accused him of being a bastard. And I went at last to Pytho, though my parents did not know. But Phoebus sent me home again unhonoured in what I came to learn, but he foretold other and desperate horrors befall me, that I was fated to lie with my mother, and show to daylight an accursed breed which men would not endure, and I was doomed to be the murderer of the father that begot me. 1735, 860-868)

In utter fear of his newfound knowledge, he fled from Corinth to make ure to none of what the oracle said would come true. On his travel, he took little precaution in the field ensure falsifying the oracles prediction. Demanding to know all details about King Lias death he was described the site where three crossroads met. Upon being told this information, Oedipus recalled the time when had just fled Corinth and came to a spot similar to the one described. Being so distraught with fear and so overwhelmed with emotions, his thinking and reasoning was clearly impaired.

I was encountered by a herald nd a carriage with a man in itHe led the way and the old man himself wanted to thrust me out of the way by force. (1735, 878-882) The old man then struck Oedipus on the head with a two-point goad. His impaired thinking angered him so much, he attacked and killed everyone in the band of travelers, except for one survivor who managed to get away. If Oedipus was dead set on not letting this prediction come true, he would have avoided any sort of conflict with any man.

It was a very stupid, impulsive move on his part because he let his confidence verride the fact that the gods had planned his life. What Oedipus was unaware of, was the fact that one of the predictions had already come true. He had killed a total stranger not thinking twice about the prediction. Now having only one prediction to contend with, he still did not take any precaution into avoiding the prediction. After coming to Thebes and answering the Sphinxs riddles, he was granted kingship. Since King Lias had just been murdered and Queen Jocasta was widowed, Oedipus married her unaware of his terrible mistake.

Not thinking twice about the prediction after he ran away from Corinth, he led a happy life and had four children with his mother. Again, Oedipus did nothing to protect himself against the awful prediction believing he had already falsified the gods prediction. When the townspeople came to Oedipus for help to get rid of the unknown plague sweeping through the city, he sought the help of his wife and many others to help find the murderer of King Lias. All the information that was gathered, he pieced together and finally made the realization he had been living n a false reality that he had dodged the prediction entirely.

From the beginning he was dead-set on dodging his fate, yet his ignorance got in the way of reasoning. He did not think twice that he was dealing with the gods. He should have just lived with the fact that the prediction would come true and make the best of it. He could have turned the bad into good somehow, but decided he could escape anything and trick the gods. Obviously Oedipus was not fully responsible for the outcome and not lacking blame, but was partially to blame because of his faulty decision making.

What Was Oedipus Crime

Oedipus, ruler of Thebes, murdered his father and married his mother. Such acts are almost always deemed unnatural and criminal; they are not tolerated within traditional society. A person who has committed these illegal acts of murder and incest would be considered a criminal, yet Sophocless character, Oedipus, is not guilty of either crime. Prior to the birth of Oedipus, a prophecy was spoken over Laius and his wife Jocasta. They were told that their son would one day be his fathers killer and would then marry his mother. In fear, King Laius and Queen Jocasta sent the baby Oedipus off with a slave to be killed.

He was never killed, but rather was given to a childless king and queen which lovingly raised him. Oedipus was never factually told about his lineage. Later in his life, Oedipus was confronted by several unknown men while traveling. Upon confrontation, Oedipus killed all but one of the men in self defense. Unknowingly, Oedipus had begun to fulfill the prophecy for one of the men had been his birth father, Laius. While still traveling, Oedipus had come to the city of Thebes. There, he saved the city from the wrath of the Sphinx by solving her riddle.

Seen as a savior by the citizens of Thebes, Oedipus was made king and subsequently, the husband of Jocasta. Oedipus and his wife-mother ruled together and had four children while never knowing of the true relationship between each other. As the tragedy comes to a close, the truth is revealed to Oedipus concerning his lineage and unnatural actions. Although the truth had been spoken to him about these matters previously, Oedipus had chosen not to believe and understandably so. True revelation comes to Oedipus through the same slave that had been ordered to kill him as a baby.

Since Oedipus had no knowledge of his birth parents, he cannot be accused of knowingly fulfilling the prophecy. He had no understanding of Laius as his birth father upon killing him. One might say that Oedipus is then guilty of murder regardless, but if he had killed in self defense, that cannot be true. Likewise, if Oedipus had no understanding of Jocasta as his birth mother, then he cannot be guilty of incest. Neither can he be guilty of defiling Laiuss marriage bed, as he did not know that Jocasta was the wife of the man he had murdered.

Oedipus cannot be guilty of lying to the people of the city of Thebes since he did not know he was not speaking the truth. Unfortunately, Oedipus was the victim of destiny. The gods caused him to fall prey to fate and injustice. According to the norms of modern Criminal Justice, an individual cannot be guilty of a crime that he did not understandably commit; he cannot be guilty of a crime unless there is evidence of mens rea. A crime is defined as an act act punishable by law; a sin; a grave offense. Oedipus cannot be guilty of an act, sin or grave offense that he did not knowingly commit.

Oedipus Tyrranos or Oedipus the King

Oedipus Rex, otherwise known as Oedipus Tyrranos or Oedipus the King, was a Greek Tragedy written by Sophocles himself. It was an epic story of a boy, soon to be a man, named Oedipus. He was abandoned at birth and forced by the Gods to live out a horrible prophecy. Oedipus name means swollen foot in Greek. That name is important, for when he is born his ankles are severely wounded. His parents, Laius and Jocasta, King and Queen of Thebes, abandoned him because of a prophecy. The oracle at Delphi said that when Oedipus grew up he would kill his father and marry his mother. That really scared them.

So they ditched the kid and told a shepherd to get rid of him. The old shepherd takes the boy to Mount Cithareon. Eventually he ends up under the care of King Polybus of Corinth. When Oedipus grows up, he learns of his prophecy. He immediately flees Corinth, believing that Polybus was his father. He hears of the sphinx terrorizing Thebes and heads in that direction. On the way he kills a perfect stranger and all of his party except one. Oedipus did not know that the perfect stranger was his father Laius. The one survivor, however, did. It was the old shepherd, the person who delivered Oedipus away in the first place.

Fortunately for Oedipus, the old shepherd was kind and spread the story that he was killed by a gang of thieves. Afterwards Oedipus catches up to the Sphinx in Thebes. The Sphinx had the head of a woman, body of a lion and wings of a bird. It was terrorizing the city. It refused to stop until someone answered its riddle, which it had learned from an oracle. Anyone who got it wrong was killed. The Sphinx would ask What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the evening and three legs at night? Oedipus was the only one to get the correct answer, which was man.

This led to the fulfillment of the second part of the prophecy, the marriage to his mother. With no king, Thebes had to elect a new leader. Oedipus, who was now a hero, was their choice. He married the Queen, his mother, Jocasta. They had two sons and two daughters together. Eventually a terrible plague came upon Thebes. The townspeople looked to Oedipus for help since he had already proved his worth with the Sphinx. He sent his brother in-law, Creon, to the oracle at Delphi. He returned with the news that there was ome unresolved business that was causing the plague.

He suggested it was the death of Laius. An investigation immediately began. After awhile the truth started to unfold. The shepherd returned, Jocasta and Oedipus both learned some of the truth and refused to believe it. It took some convincing, but when they came to terms with it, Jocasta killed herself. Oedipus didnt know it yet and went around looking for with murder being his intent. When he found her dead he took the pins off her shoulders and blinded himself to avoid looking at his children, the townspeople and the situation in general.

Oedipus was exiled and left with his daughters, thus ending Oedipus Rex. One of the key characters in the story was the old shepherd. He moved the plot along in several points all through the beginning, middle and end of the story. Oedipus was Sophocles way of warning the Greeks that the Gods had absolute power and shouldnt be challenged. It was a very well-written tragedy in a period of history where drama was incredibly important. A story with so much meaning proves the power that drama can have on people, or even a whole culture.

Sophocles “Oedipus the King”

Oedipus Essay (Fate) Sophocles “Oedipus the King” is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian’s. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest? ” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius’ son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died. Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them.

Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has layed with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth.

This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx’s riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years. Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverence to find the killer of Laius.

He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus’ intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly.

Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was. The sphinx’s riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life.

Also in answering the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery. . Oedipus does not unselfishly seek out the truth even though he knows it will be painful for him, rather, he has no idea what the outcome of his search will be, denies the truth at every turn, and threatens those who speak it. Many people may paint Oedipus as a great man, pointing out that he pursues the truth at whatever personal cost and has the strength to accept and endure it when found. They admire that Oedipus was willing to bring himself down in his lust to find his true identity.

However, the driving force of Oedipus’ fact-finding mission is an attempt to end the disease that plagues his city. He doesn’t realize the personal consequences his hunt will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance of it. In fact, if we examine his “quest for identity”, it becomes apparent that the sequence of events are quite coincidental. First, he summons Tiresias to name the killer, who Oedipus does not at the time believe to be himself. Secon! The tragic hero Oedipus emerges as anything but a social person.

He may begin that way, motivated by a genuine desire to help the people, but what emerges throughout is different. It becomes plain to see that Oedipus is actually, deep down where it really counts, far more concerned with his own sense of self and demands for justice on his terms, than in compromising his desires like any other true leader would. This tragedy reminds us that even the bravest, those known throughout the world for their knowledge, are doomed if they set themselves up against the mystery of life itself, and if they try to force life to answer them, they are going to self-destruct.

Comments on Oedipus the King

It has been a fascinating process to read Sophoclesis play, Oedipus the King , with fresh eyes, mentally carving away the things I “know” about the story, in particular Freudis application of it to human psychology and my own spiritual take on it (in part derived from the popular show “The Gospel at Colonus”). As my preconceptions dropped away, several dramatic ways in which this extraordinary drama moves away from the early Akkadian cosmgony, “Enuma Elish” and Hesiodis “Theogony” revealed themselves.

These pivotal stories illustrated clear ways in which the peoples of Babylon, early Greece and classical Greece differed from one another, especially with regard to their relationships to their deities. In the earlier writings the gods are the only players in the story they are clearly central to the lives of the Akkadians and the early Greeks. Oedipus the King, on the other hand, features human beings as the central figures – the players of greatest interest. While Sophocles mentions the gods and even allows his characters to invoke them, he keeps them on the sidelines with regard to the meaningful events of the story.

Closely connected to this shift in emphasis, the gods in the later Greek work seem to be losing their power. At several points the characters threaten to lose faith in the gods and oracles unless their guidance and information prove accurate. When Oedipus learns that his adoptive father has died a peaceful, natural death, exultant at his apparent vindication, he declares, “But they, the oracles, as they stand heis taken them away with him, theyire dead as he himself is, and worthless. ” (Oedipus the King, p. 1)

This kind of questioning of the Godsi power would have been unthinkable in the earlier cultures. We might confidently infer that the classical Greeks had their basic needs met. They lived in a period of relative peace and plenty, free from external threat. This undoubtedly allowed them to begin posing the larger more troubling philosophical questions in safety and freedom.

In another dramatic shift, patricide and incest, which in the previous writings are essential aspects of the cosmogonies acted by the gods, critical to the birth of the cosmos and, in fact, the very actions from which order arises become human taboos. If enacted, even unwittingly, they carry the gravest, indeed the most tragic consequences for those involved. When it is confirmed that Oedipus has murdered his father and married his mother, his lament is most pitiful. “O marriage, marriage, you bred me and again when you had bred bred children of your child and showed to men brides, wives and mothers and the foulest deeds that can be in this world of ours. ibid P. 170,171))

In Sophoclesis play, humans have wrested the big emotions and actions away from the gods. Suffering, fate, life and death become issues for humans to grapple with not by removing them and projecting them onto the gods but by acknowledging their humanness and attempting to pose questions and propose answers around those eternal mysteries. The classical Greeks have taken an enormous step in the expansion of human consciousness.

There is something noble and mature about a people who would allow one of its cultural icons to speak these words: “You that live in my ancestral Thebes, behold this Oedipus, – him who knew the famous riddles and was a man most masterful, – not a citizen who did not look with envy on his lot see him now and see the breakers of misfortune swallow him. Look upon that last day always. Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain. ” These words would never be found in the mouth of a Babylonian or an early Greek.

Oedipus, the King Summary

Sophocles Oedipus, the King is a great representation of Greek tragedy and of the human experience. Within it, he explores the intricacies of human thinking and communication along with its ability to change as more information and knowledge is acquired. His primary focus as the story begins and progresses is the growth of Oedipus from an unintelligible and unenlightened mentality to its antithesis. Because the story was one familiar to most of its viewers in its time, there are certain things that they are expected to already know.

Among them is the background to the legend. Most generally it was that it was prophesied that Laios and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes, would give birth to a child who would grow up to murder his father and marry his mother. And, fearing the dreadful prophecy, that the parents nailed their first son’s feet together (thus the name Oedipus, which means swollen-foot) and left him to die on a lonely moun-tainside outside the city.

Moreover, that he was found by a wandering shepherd who took him to the nearby city of Corinth where he was adopted by the childless King Polybos and Queen Merope who raised him as a son and prince in the royal household. Then, when he was a young adult and first heard the prophecy, that he assumed that it applied to Polybos and Merope, the only parents he had ever known, and had fled Corinth and wandered around Greece where he met a group of travelers and killed an old man who, unknown to him, was his real father, King Laios.

Then, when he arrived at Thebes, he met the Sphinx, a monster who guarded the gates of the city and correctly answered its riddle and was rewarded with the title of king of Thebes and was given the hand of the re-cently widowed queen, Jocasta. The true horror in his life begins here because he has four children with her, An-tigone, Ismene, Eteocles, and Polyneices and fulfills the prophecy. The story begins after some time after Oedipus has taken the throne and when there is a mysterious plague that sweeps the city.

Here, he learns from the priest that the sacred oracle says that the plague will be re-moved only when Laios’ murderer is discovered. Consequently, he sends Creon, his brother-in-law, to Delphi to consult the oracles and find out the identity of the murderer. On his return and relation of the news, he discovers his identity and of his parents and discovers his sins. In his despair, he blinds himself, and Jocasta hangs herself. He is exiled and Creon takes the throne of Thebes.

During this entire fray of mindsbetween Tiresias and Oedipus, Creon and Oedipus, and otherscertain idiosyncrasies of Oedipus are brazenly revealed. Among them, in the beginning, is his short temperament and quick judgment of situations as, for example, his confrontation of Creon after he had sent Tiresias away. He is quick to think that Creon conspired against him although he had no proof. However, by the end of the novel, he is humbled by his discovery of his sins and becomes a more enlightened man through his discovery of his ignorance of the realities of his world and his realization that there is no escaping destiny.

The Greek drama Oedipus Rex

The Greek drama Oedipus Rex is clearly a tragedy. It definitely meets the five main criteria for a tragedy: a tragic hero of noble birth, a tragic flaw, a fall from grace, a moment of remorse, and catharsis. Oedipus Rex clearly meets the first of these five criteria. Oedipus is the son of Laius, who was king of Thebes. Even at the beginning of the story, when we are told that Oedipus is the son of Polybus, he is still of noble birth; Polybus is king of Corinth. The tragic flaw, or mistake that a character makes, in Oedipus Rex does not actually take lace during the story.

We only watch as Oedipus and the rest of the characters discover this mistake that was actually made long, long ago and cannot be reversed. This tragic flaw is of course Oedipus killing his father Lauis, and then marrying Jocasta, his mother. We realize that these actions have taken place much earlier in the story than the characters do. However, both of these events actually took many years ago. The fall from grace in Oedipus Rex is when Oedipus, Jocasta, and all the other characters in the story realize that Oedipus actually did urder Laius and that Jocasta is indeed his mother as well as his wife.

This occurs rather quickly, very close to the end of the play. The audience sees this coming long before it actually does, however. In one of the passages of Oedipus speaking with Jocasta, just about everything is spelled out for us. Jocasta speaks of Laius leaving the castle with just a few servants and his being killed where three roads meet. Oedipus claims that he killed somebody where three roads met, who had a few servants with him. As though this isn’t enough, Jocasta describes Laius to Oedipus by saying “his figure was not much unlike your own” (p. 7).

Oedipus, after hearing all this, says “O, it is plain already! ” (p. 27) indicating that he was the killer of his father. He goes on to make absolutely sure, even though it is obvious that he was Lauis’s killer. The moment of remorse comes at the end of the story, when one of the servants who had accompanied Laius on his final journey came to speak to Oedipus. He was the only one who survived the attack, and told that contrary to rumor, Laius was killed by one man, not robbers. He then ointed out this one man, Oedipus.

We are told soon after that Jocasta hanged herself upon hearing this. When this news reaches Oedipus, he takes the pins from her dress and stabs his eyes out. The catharsis, or emotional cleansing of the audience, comes at the same time as the remorse. The audience suddenly feels sorry for this poor man who has unknowingly killed his father and married his mother, for the people of this land who have been suffering from an awful curse because of it, and for the unfortunate Jocasta, who was basically an innocent bystander in he whole confusing disaster.

In these five ways, the story Oedipus Rex classifies as a tragedy. However, in my opinion at least, you don’t really need a standard checklist to see if Oedipus Rex is a tragedy or not. Any story which ends in the death of one major character and a lifetime of misery, shame, and self-exile for the other major character is clearly a tragedy. The role of the king in the time of Greek tragedies was simultaneously desired and dreaded because of the king’s responsibility to the people and because of the effects of the position on the king’s character.

Creon reveals such ambivalent thoughts towards the kingship in his speech defending himself from Oedipus’s conspiracy accusation in Oedipus the King; these ambivalent thoughts reveal much about the nature of the kingship, especially in conjunction with Creon’s later actions in Antigone. In attempting to refute Oedipus’s assertion that Creon has taken part in a conspiracy to obtain the kingship, Creon evaluates the nature of the kingship and of his present role. First, he says, “Consider, first, if you think any one/ would choose to rule and fear rather than rule and sleep” (36. 4-585).

By this, Creon means that the main difference between his position and the king’s is that of the accompanying action to ruling. In both positions, one is a ruler who holds great power over the state. However, the king is placed in a greater place of accountability to the people. This accountability is what Creon says inspires “fear” in the king, for if affairs of state or of the people fall into decline, the king is the first person whom the citizenry look to blame.

This is analogous to executive leaders throughout history, as one can see in looking at American presidents and the correlation between the present conditions and events of the nation to the public’s opinion of the president, regardless of the actual impact that his decisions may have made in these conditions. Creon maintains that he has the same amount of power as the king but without the accountability that inevitably leads a king to distress. Creon’s reasoning concerning the equality between his power and Oedipus’s leads him to state: I was not born with such a frantic yearning to be a king- but to do what kings do.

And so it is with every one who has learned wisdom and self-control. (36. 587-590) He means that he has never desired the position of king, because he sees no advantage over his present position in the state. Rather, he sees the disadvantage of the fear that accompanies the position of king. Creon has evaluated this situation for his circumstances and then goes further in stating that anyone with wisdom and self-control would come to such a conclusion as well. This could be interpreted as an insult to Oedipus in two different ways.

Creon could mean that Oedipus and anyone else who desires and assumes the kingship are by nature not people of wisdom and self-control- or he could be saying that the position of the kingship is one that strips an individual of his wisdom and self-control. In support of the assertion that the kingship changes one’s character, one could point to the events of Antigone and Creon’s striking change in character in the play. In Oedipus the King, Creon reveals himself to be a reasonable ruler, who makes rational decisions and is not quick to anger, as is revealed by his calmness in his responses to Oedipus’s heated accusations.

However, in Antigone, Creon has become prideful and irrational. His dealings with Antigone and Teiresias and his stubbornness in the play indicate a change in his character. In fact, his actions, especially in his dealings with Teiresias the prophet, are very similar to Oedipus’s actions in Oedipus the King. Just as Oedipus had done before him, Creon refuses to completely believe Teiresias’s prophecies for the state. Creon also emulates his predecessor’s actions in his accusation of bribery directed towards Teiresias: “Out with it-/ but only if your words are not for gain” (201. 1128-1129).

Creon’s words and actions in Antigone indicate that he has taken on the negative characteristics of king that he describes in his speech in Oedipus the King. He has same amount of power as king, but he now seems to have lost his wisdom and self-control. This indicates that perhaps his words to Oedipus are, in fact, mainly an insult to the position of king and to what it evokes from a person’s character rather than an insult solely directed towards Oedipus. Creon also feels that the king is generally not responsive to the desires of the citizenry: “But if I were the king myself, I must/ do much that went against the grain” (36. 0-591). By this, Creon means that in his present position, he is more apt than the king to know the will of the people and to respond accordingly.

Again, this seems to be a flaw inherent in the kingship based on Creon’s actions in Antigone. As king Creon is blind to the fact that the people of Thebes are opposed to his actions concerning the punishment of Antigone. One who is not king, Creon’s son Haemon, senses the will of the people: But what I can hear, in the dark,are things like these: the city mourns for this girl; they think she is dying most wrongly and most undeservedly of all womenkind, for the most glorious acts. 88. 746-749)

Haemon has sensed that the people feel Creon’s actions are unjust, which is something that Creon is not aware of. However, in his speech, Creon is also asserting that a king, even when aware of the will of the people, does not respond accordingly. He demonstrates this in Antigone when he says, “Should the city tell me how to rule them? ” (189. 794). Once again, Creon’s words in Oedipus the King and actions in Antigone correspond and indicate that his speech reveals characteristics that are inherent in the kingship and not just in Oedipus’s rule.

Creon finds these characteristics of a king to be despicable and prefers his own present position. “How should despotic rule seem sweeter to me/ than painless power and an assured authority? ” (36. 592-593). He is saying that his present power is less painful and even more effectual than that of a king. It is less painful in that he is not held directly accountable for the conditions of the state. It is more effectual both in that he has a better sense of the will of the people and in that he is less likely to allow selfish interest and pride to interfere with his execution of the will of the people.

Creon’s speech serves two purposes, both effectively. First, it is a convincing argument to prove that he is not involved a conspiracy to overthrow Oedipus, although Oedipus’s pride does not allow him to be convinced by this argument. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Creon’s speech gives insight into the two-sided nature of the kingship, for although it is a position of great honor and power, it is also a position that often corrupts the man who holds it. Creon believes that there is a certain type of man who desires such a position, a man who has not learned wisdom and self-control.

He believes that he is a man who has learned these attributes; thus, he would not be susceptible to desire for the kingship and the corruption which would inevitably follow. However, his actions in Antigone show that there are very few men who will reject the kingship if presented with the opportunity and even fewer men who will not allow the kingship to corrupt them. ” Oedipus The King, by Sophocles, is a play about how Oedipus lives up his fate that he will kill his father and marry his mother, both of which are extremely bad in the Greek society, even though he thinks he is getting away from it.

Despite the Greek notions of supreme power of the gods and fate, Oedipus’ downfall is primarily the result of King Laius’ and his own actions and attempts to defy the gods, consequently Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone’s fate should not be ignored. Prophecies from the Oracle of Delphi are told to King Laius and Queen Jocasta, and to Oedipus. Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone’s fate should not be ignored when King Laius went to the Oracle of Delphi and received a prophecy that his child, Oedipus, was going to kill him and marry his wife, Jacosta.

Shepherd – No! No! I said it before–I gave him the child… It was the son of Laius, so I was told. But the lady inside, your wife, she is the one to tell you. Oedipus – Did she give it to you? Shepherd – Yes, my lord, she did… To destroy it… She was afraid of dreadful prophecies… The child would kill its parents, that was the story. Oedipus – Then why did you give it to this old man here? Shepherd – In pity master. I thought he would take it away to a foreign country– to the place he came from.

If you are the man he says you are, you were born the most unfortunate of men. ” (86-89) When King Laius heard this prophecy and returned to Thebes to tell of this prophecy to his wife, they planned to kill their child, but neither had the guts to do it. They had a servant shepherd bring their child to Mt. Cithaeron to kill it, but the servant felt pity for the child and gave him to a fellow Shepherd from Corinth in hopes he could take it to a foreign country to take care of it.

Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone’s fate should not be ignored when he tells that when Oedipus was in the care of his foster parents, Polybus and Merope, he took a journey to The Oracle of Delphi without them knowing. “Oedipus – Without telling my parents, I set off on a journey to the oracle of Apollo, at Delphi. Apollo sent me away with my question unanswered but he foretold a dreadful, calamitous future for me–to lie with my mother and beget children men’s eyes would not bear the sight of–and to be the killer of the father that gave me life.

When I heard that, I ran away. From that point on I measured the distance to the land of Corinth by the stars. I was running to a place that I would never see that shameful prophecy come true. “(56) The Oracle’s prophecy was that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Thinking that Polybus and Merope were his real parents, Oedipus left Corinth so that he would not have contact with his parents and the prophecy could not happen. On the way, though, Oedipus met a man and a herald that tried to run him off the road.

Angered, Oedipus hit the old man and then killed both of them. “Oedipus – On my way I came to this place where you say this king, Laius, met his death. I will tell you the truth, all of it. As I journeyed on I came to this triple crossroads and there I was met by a herald and a man riding a horse-drawn wagon, just as you described it. The driver, the old man himself, tried to push me off the road. In anger I struck the driver as he tried to crowd me off. When the old man saw me coming past the wheels he aimed at my head with a two-pronged goad, and hit me.

I paid him back in full, with interest: in no time at all he was hit by the stick I held in my hand and rolled backwards from the center of the wagon. I killed the lot of them. “(56-57) In King Laius’ and Oedipus’ attempts to defy the gods, they brought the downfall of Oedipus in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, in which Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone’s fate should not be ignored. Trying to have Oedipus killed and not succeeding was the way King Laius and Queen Jocasta tried to defy the gods and stop the prophecy from coming true.

Had Laius not tried to kill his Oedipus, the events that followed up to Laius’ death and Jocasta’s marriage would not have happened. Oedipus leaving his foster parents is the way that Oedipus defies the gods and tries to stop the prophecy from coming true. Had he not left Corinth, he would not have met Laius, who happened to be his real father, they would not have fought, and Laius would not have been killed. In all reality, Oedipus was a goner from the minute he was born, because that was the prophecy of his fate the Oracle of Delphi gave.

Oedipus Fate vs Free Will

Oedipus is a man of unflagging determination and perseverance, but one who must learn through the working out of a terrible prophecy that there are forces beyond any mans conceptualization or control. Oedipus actions were determined before his birth, yet Oedipus actions are entirely determined by the Gods who control him completely. In the beginning of this tragedy, Oedipus took many actions leading to his own downfall. He tried to escape Corinth when he learned of the prophecies that were supposed to take place in his life.

Instead, he fell right into the trap of the prediction by unwittingly killing his father and later marrying his mother. By doing this, he proved that his life was predetermined by fate and there was nothing he could do to change it. He could have waited for the plague to end, but out of compassion for his suffering people, he had Creon go to Delphi to plead before Apollo to relieve the curse of the plague. Instead of investigating the murder of the former King Lauis, Oedipus took matters into his own hands and cursed the murderer, now the curse would effect him as well, because he was the one who killed Lauis..

Now my cursed on the murderer,/Whoever he is, alone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step- I curse myself as well as… if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house, here at my hearth, with my full know ledge, may the curse I just called down on him strike me! (606). Oedipus doesnt realize the personal consequences his hunt for the murderer will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance.

His pride, ignorance and unrelenting quest for the truth ultimately contributed to his destruction. An example is when Oedipus was told [after threatening Tiresias], that he was responsible for the murder of Laius. He became enraged and called the old oracle a liar. However, Oedipus thought he could outsmart the gods, but in fact, his every action moved him closer to the prophesy becoming a reality. Upon discovery of the truth of his birth from the herdsman, Oedipus cries, O god all come true, all burst to light! /O light now let me look my last on you!

I stand revealed at last cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands. (631). Oedipus knew that his fate had indeed come to pass and feels cursed by it. Oedipus was guilt, of killing his father and marrying his mother. He punishes himself for the sins he committed by gouging out his eyes. The true sin is when he attempts to raise himself to the level of the gods by trying to escape his fate. Oedipus is accepting the full burden of his acts and knows that he must be punished for his sins.

Therefore, this last act of gouging out his eyes was the result of Oedipus free will and his tragic fate came about because every sin must be punished. Sophocles feels that a person has no control over the course of his life. No matter how much free will Oedipus had in controlling his life, fate had already taken control. Therefore, fate is proved to be inevitable. Oedipus is one play that is held together by the fact that fate is more powerful than anyones free will. Fate is the one true evil– everything that happens is somehow meant to be, and free will cannot change it.

Tragedy in Oedipus Rex

The Greek drama Oedipus Rex is clearly a tragedy. It definitely meets the five main criteria for a tragedy: a tragic hero of noble birth, a tragic flaw, a fall from grace, a moment of remorse, and catharsis. Oedipus Rex clearly meets the first of these five criteria. Oedipus is the son of Laius, who was king of Thebes. Even at the beginning of the story, when we are told that Oedipus is the son of Polybus, he is still of noble birth; Polybus is king of Corinth.

The tragic flaw, or mistake that a character makes, in Oedipus Rex does not ctually take place during the story. We only watch as Oedipus and the rest of the characters discover this mistake that was actually made long, long ago and cannot be reversed. This tragic flaw is of course Oedipus killing his father Lauis, and then marrying Jocasta, his mother. We realize that these actions have taken place much earlier in the story than the characters do.

However, both of these events actually took many years ago. The fall from grace in Oedipus Rex is when Oedipus, Jocasta, and all the ther characters in the story realize that Oedipus actually did murder Laius and that Jocasta is indeed his mother as well as his wife. This occurs rather quickly, very close to the end of the play. The audience sees this coming long before it actually does, however. In one of the passages of Oedipus speaking with Jocasta, just about everything is spelled out for us.

Jocasta speaks of Laius leaving the castle with just a few servants and his being killed where three roads meet. Oedipus claims that he illed somebody where three roads met, who had a few servants with him. As though this isn’t enough, Jocasta describes Laius to Oedipus by saying “his figure was not much unlike your own” (p. 27). Oedipus, after hearing all this, says “O, it is plain already! ” (p. 27) indicating that he was the killer of his father. He goes on to make absolutely sure, even though it is obvious that he was Lauis’s killer.

The moment of remorse comes at the end of the story, when one of the servants who had accompanied Laius on his final journey came to speak to Oedipus. He was the only one who survived the attack, and told that contrary to rumor, Laius was killed by one man, not robbers. He then pointed out this one man, Oedipus. We are told soon after that Jocasta hanged herself upon hearing this. When this news reaches Oedipus, he takes the pins from her dress and stabs his eyes out. The catharsis, or emotional cleansing of the audience, comes at the same time as the remorse.

The audience suddenly feels sorry for this poor man who has unknowingly killed his father and married his mother, for the people of this and who have been suffering from an awful curse because of it, and for the unfortunate Jocasta, who was basically an innocent bystander in the whole confusing disaster.

In these five ways, the story Oedipus Rex classifies as a tragedy. However, in my opinion at least, you don’t really need a standard checklist to see if Oedipus Rex is a tragedy or not. Any story which ends in the death of one major character and a lifetime of misery, shame, and self-exile for the other major character is clearly a tragedy.

Oedipus And The Gods

In Ancient Greece the existence of gods and fate prevailed. In the Greek tragedy King Oedipus by the playwright Sophocles these topics are heavily involved. We receive a clear insight into their roles in the play such as they both control man’s actions and that challenging their authority leads to a fall. The concepts of the gods and fate were created to explain things. In Ancient Greece there was a lot that was not understood; science was in its infancy and everything that happened could be explained by the will of the gods or fate.

The gods were the height of power; they supposedly existed since the beginning of time. They were immortal, omnipresent and omnipotent. However, the different gods had different personalities. In this sense they were anthropomorphic. Having such mastery of the world would enable them to control man’s behavior, as is shown in King Oedipus. The idea of fate has existed for a long time and exists even today. Fate revolves around the idea that people’s lives are predetermined and that no matter what is done it cannot be changed.

With the gods it was used to explain events that seemed strange. Sophocles expands on this idea by introducing Oedipus’ fate. The thought of fate is strong considering no matter how hard he struggles he still receives what was predetermined. As a baby he survived the elements on Mount Cithaeron. As Oedipus was destined to live, it shows the dominance of fate. Having fate play such a large part of the play is certainly an insight into the Greek’s idea that fate controls us no matter how hard we struggle against it. In the play the dominance of the gods is shown again and again.

In the second stasimon after Tiresias leaves the chorus chants “Zeus and Apollo know, they know, the great masters of all the dark and depth of human life”, reasserting the belief in the god’s power. At the very opening of the play, the priest who converses with Oedipus says “. . . You cannot equal the gods, your children know that. . . “, proving again the Greek belief that the gods are the height of power. However, it is not only the people that revere the gods. After Oedipus blinds himself, Creon takes control of Thebes. When Oedipus asks to be banished, Creon replies “Not I.

Only the gods can give you that”, again acknowledging the higher authority of the gods. Thee numerous mention of the gods reiterates their importance in the eyes of Ancient Greek society. In the play the characters show great respect for the gods. Before the play’s beginning, Oedipus goes to Apollo’s oracle at Delphi. There he is told the prophecy of him murdering his father and marrying his mother. In any other case this statement would seem absurd, not worrying Oedipus in the slightest. However, the words came from the gods.

Oedipus was so shocked by this prognostication that he ran away from what he thought was him home, leading to the chain of events that lead to his downfall. Oedipus’ reaction to the prophecy he received is another indication of the power of the gods and their words. Not only does the play show that the gods are in control, it shows that man is not in control. The play’s final words are “count no man happy till he takes his happiness with him to the grave”. This is clearly trying to suggest that one can never say that he/she is happy because by doing so they are inadvertently saying that they are in control.

This can never be true as man cannot control everything. This message is just as true today as it was two thousand years ago in Sophocles’ time. By proving that man is not in control, the play is suggesting other forces control man’s destiny, such as fate and the gods. Throughout the whole play the importance of man not controlling his own fate is emphasised. An oracle predicted that any child that Laius and Jocasta had would kill his father and marry his mother. Jocasta and Laius try to control their fate by destroying the child by giving it to a shepherd to leave on Mount Cithaeron.

The baby lived despite the odds, reaffirms the power of fate and simultaneously proving that Laius and Jocasta are not in control. When Oedipus heard about his destiny, he tried to avoid it by running. Ironically, when he thinks he is running from his fate he is actually running to it, again proving fate’s power. Oedipus states in the play “I am content”, indicating that he thinks he is in command of his life. However, the gods and fate prove him wrong by giving him the worst of fates, again re-emphasising how little control man has over his life.

The theme of humans thinking they are in control is constantly being shown and then disproved, again demonstrating the importance of this idea in Ancient Greek society. All throughout the play, defying the gods sets up a downfall. The Greeks believed their gods had human qualities. When a man challenges the gods, as is done numerous times in King Oedipus, the gods, having personalities, use their power to “put him back in his place”. One cogent example of this is in the story of Arachne the weaver and Athene, god of wisdom. Arachne was so skilled at weaving that she challenged the god Athene to a contest.

When Athene won, she turned Arachne into a spider to spend eternity weaving and being destroyed by man as punishment for her brashness. This is an example of gods punishing man for challenging the gods, an action that is repeated in King Oedipus. Before the play begins, Jocasta and Laius have a child in full knowledge that they are going against the will of the gods. As previously stated, the gods having human qualities are liable to punish this behavior. At the beginning of the third stasimon, Jocasta asks the gods to help Oedipus.

When the messenger arrives and tells of the death of Polybus instead of thanking the gods for help she says “A fig for divination”. This is a prime example of disrespecting the gods. Later on in the play, both Laius and Jocasta were duly punished. Here is evidence of the one of the Greek theories, that contempt for the gods leads to being undone. It is clear that a breach in the god’s dominance resulted in the Laius and Jocasta being “taught a lesson”. Laius receives death by the hand by his own son. Strangely, this is one of the lighter penalties.

This end is ronic and cruel because a son is supposed to respect his father and instead he ends up killing him. Also, as the chances of killing somebody who happens to be their father are fairly slim, it shows that fate is also in play. Jocasta is forced to live with the pain of knowing she slept with her son, which in effect led her to suicide. There may also be some grief from the motherly instinct and knowing her son is also suffering immeasurable grief. While not as physically painful as Laius’ death, the emotional pain would be intolerable, as shown by Jocasta’s suicide.

Again, like Laius, the probabilities of these events occurring naturally are so small that it becomes almost impossible to ignore the factor of divine intervention. Both of these tragic fates were a result of defying the gods and fate, again highlighting the fact that going against the gods leads to tragedy. Another character who offends the gods is Oedipus. This starts before the play when he tried to run from his fortune. Trying to escape is a sign of challenging fate’s authority, which according to Greek belief leads to punishment.

Again he confronts the gods with his encounter with Tiresias. Firstly, he disregards what he says. Given that Tiresias’ words are the voice of the gods, this means he is indirectly defying the gods. Secondly, Oedipus quickly forms the assumption that Creon is plotting against him based on unsteady reasoning. By coming to this conclusion Oedipus is ignoring important evidence, proof that he thinks himself above other men and comparing himself to the gods. Again Greek beliefs state no man can be on the same level as the gods. So again he is exposing himself to destruction by the gods.

In the words of Tiresias “Creon is not your downfall, you are your own”, which sums up the consequences of his fast conclusions. Tiresias brings out the worst in Oedipus, being his hubris, or thinking one is higher than they actually are. For example, Oedipus says, “I stopped the Sphinx”, acknowledging nobody but himself. He has not considered that the gods are in control of all things and therefore must have helped him defeat the Sphinx. By leaving out their help, he is again saying he is on their level; another example of hubris. This yet again shows Oedipus disputing the god’s powers.

After the messenger delivers the news of Polybus’ death, Oedipus exclaims “But now, all those prophecies I feared. . . . They’re nothing, worthless”. Prophecies are sacred in the sense that they came from the gods who are said to be almighty. In no clearer way could Oedipus dispute the words of the gods. Disputing the words of the gods is in effect disputing the god’s control itself, which inevitably lead him to suffer the most horrible of ends. Shown here are numerous examples of how Oedipus disputes the god’s control, which in effect lead to his horrible punishment.

Of all the suffering in the play, Oedipus by far bears the most pain. Physically, there is the suffering of gouging his eyes out along with the blindness that follows. With the blindness comes the humiliation. However, all this physical pain was self-inflicted in the belief that he could never be punished enough for his crimes. This is also accompanied by fierce emotional torture. Firstly there is the anguish of knowing he killed his own father. This, as mentioned, is ironic as he should respect his father but in actual fact ends up killing him. Understandably, this would lead to great anguish.

Secondly, he slept with his mother. This kind of behavior was taboo in their society. Along with this is the sheer disgust in knowing that his brothers were his sons, his sisters were his daughters and his wife was his mother. Obviously, Oedipus has undergone extreme pain and suffering by the god’s will. Also there is the fact of knowing that his mother is suffering terrible pain. Again, this would cause Oedipus considerable agony. As a large part of the last stasimon explains, another way in which Oedipus is pained is in knowing that his daughters will suffer.

Living in a patriarchal society, they would have to marry a man in order for them to live a reasonable life. However, he knows that men would not want his daughters, considering their background. Again knowing his children will suffer troubles him. Oedipus quotes “. . . who will he be, my dear ones? Risking all to shoulder the curse that weighs down my parents. . . “, showing that he concerned about their future. Oedipus experiences great grief when he looks back and realises how much he has fallen from his former mighty perch of power.

This would be again painful in seeing how great he used to be compared to the wreck he is by the end of the play. In Oedipus’ words, “The blackest things a man can do, I have done them all! “, summarising the extremity of his pain. All of this goes to show that the gods indeed are in control in accordance with the Greek belief. As shown before, Oedipus tries to compare himself to the gods in power several times. Using the Greek belief that the gods and fate are in control of man, Oedipus comparing himself to the gods is in effect challenging them because no man can be on the same level as the gods.

As a result he is punished in a way that is more severe than even death. It is apparent that there are gods at work in engineering this most dreadful torture. Again this is proof that challenging the gods and fate sets up for a fall, as shown by the furthest decline in Oedipus. It is clearly apparent from this wide variety of evidence Greeks believed that the gods and fate are in control of man’s destiny, their lives being “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare, Macbeth) and also that confronting their authority leads to an undoing, showed in “what mortals dream, the gods frustrate” (Euripides, Medea).

Time and time again this message is re-emphasised through plot and character. We as the audience receive these ideas clearly and constantly, showing that man is not in control of his future, as shown by the tragic downfall of Oedipus, delivering a message as important now as in the days of the Ancient Greeks.

Oedipus the King: Appetite for Destruction

Of all the tragedies that Greek playwright Sophocles created in his illustrious career, the one that stands out as his masterpiece, and quite possibly one of the greatest of all the Greek tragedies is Oedipus the King. The tragedy focuses on the life and downfall of the unfortunate King Oedipus, who was condemned by the oracle at an early age to murder his father and marry his mother. Despite the oracle’s grim prediction, Oedipus was responsible for his own downfall due to his overly proud and impetuous attitude, and his own intellect and diligence.

In the polis of Thebes, Oedipus was the not only the king but he was also the hero of the community. The security and health of the community depended on him and he was expected to meet every urgent crisis with a plausible solution. He was celebrated for acting decisively and making decisions and then acting on them. With all his past accomplishments and achievements, Oedipus developed a strong sense of confidence, which fueled his over inflated ego.

Unfortunately, when circumstances did not turn out in his favor, such as in his conflict with Tiresias the blind prophet, Oedipus became rigid and refused to see the problem on any one else’s terms except his own. Oedipus only wanted things to go the way he thought they should go. Whatever stood in his way he tried to overcome publicly and without any compromise from the opposing party, which was illustrated in his argument in front of the palace with Creon over the murder of the former King Laius. Ultimately his attitude of confidence with no compromises contributed to his disastrous and sad end.

In most cases, intelligence and diligence are valuable traits to possess, but for Oedipus they contributed to his eventual downfall. Oedipus was known for being extremely intelligent and was very talented at solving riddles. To earn the right to be King of Thebes, Oedipus solved a riddle, which as a result removed a plague from the land. In the play, Oedipus is again faced with another plague in his kingdom and this time the riddle was to discover who murdered King Laius. Using his intelligence, he again solves the riddle, but tragically for Oedipus he discovers that he is the murderer and he ultimately has to punish himself for the crime.

Throughout his search all the people around him were urging him to use caution in his search, and even his wife Jocasta ordered him to abandon his quest, citing that the oracle was mistaken and was a hoax. Tragically, Oedipus would not compromise and he continued his search until finally his diligence in his quest led to his downfall. Oedipus was a confident and intelligent king who worked hard for the people and would stop at nothing to save his beloved Thebes and the people who resided there. Ironically, it was those respectable traits that ultimately contributed to Oedipus bringing his downfall upon himself.

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King

In today’s society we let our lives be led by a certain force that we believe in very strongly. Yet, a common debate that still rages today is whether we, as a species, have free will or if some divine source, some call it fate, controls our destiny. In the play, Oedipus the King, that special force is also used and is known and defined as fate. This played an important role in the lives of the characters just as it plays one in our daily lives. First of all, Oedipus is determined to discover who he is, just like any person who is having problems. One explores the reason behind the problem to set their mind free and feel relief.

They try to explore what is causing the problem and when it is discovered it is better left unknown. Oedipus can not accept things as they are and by investigating his past, he is his own worst enemy by destroying his relationships and himself. When he was a young man he heard that his parents were not his real paternal parents, from the oracle. He believed that his adopted parents were his real parents so he moved to Thebes so he would not fulfill what the oracle had predicted as his fate. Oedipus was a character that had a certain way of feeling sure about himself.

Many people act this way, but this are the same kind of people that spend their time searching for the truth about themselves. I believe that his pride was his biggest character flaw and because of this, the conclusion of the play was tragic. He feels that he has to take responsibility for his actions even though he had no control over them and fate was to blame. Yet many aspects could have been avoiding with extensive research about his background from his adoptive parents, but because he avoided this, his circumstance determined his fate. His fate was sealed by his actions of pride and determination.

His pride of conquering the Sphinx led him to the marriage of Jocasta, his mother. Many people use pride as a weapon to cover their feelings. They feel pride helps seal the wounds in the heart and mind, but will not realize that only for a while. When avenging Jocasta’s previous husband, and his true father, King Laius death, he was blinded by his pride to the concept that perhaps he was the murderer. Pride leads people to believe very strongly about themselves but not realizing that too much pride is not good. Sometimes pride is thought of as a positive characteristic, that may lead to one’s downfall if it is expressed as egotism.

Not knowing the truth, Oedipus cursed himself as people make the same mistakes in today’s society. Pride in people make them seem ugly and other people tend to stay away. I have believe people that act like this, always seem to cry for help by using pride, always hiding a deep black secret. Just like Oedipus the King, he failed to realize his connections to Jocasta and Laius, but recognition of the truth would bring him to his eventual suffrage. When the blind prophet Teiresias stated that Oedipus was the murderer of King Laius, Oedipus pride prevented him to believe. Pride makes people blind to see the truth.

However, other events opened his eyes to the tragedy, which had taken place. When realization came, he recognized the truth of what he had done; Oedipus stabbed his eyes, a simple physical suffering compared to the torture of his soul. He had fulfilled the prophecy because of his own actions, which he had believed were beneficial based on highly respected attitudes of pride and determination. The character of each individual has certain positive and negative attributes that affect the choices that he or she makes. People insist that fate can be changed if it is explored.

In my experience I used to feel, that if I went to get my tarot read, I could avoid situations or prepare for them. I used to go to these places for the truth, but realized that the truth is already destined and the fate that is given to each one of us is from God. For Oedipus, one of the attributes that affected his ultimate destination in life was his intense desire for knowledge and truth, ignoring the signs of the gods. The debate over fate vs. free choice has been raging for a long time. Some People believe that fate dominates a person’s entire life, and that all events are inevitable.

Others feel that we are free to make choices in life and that fate has absolutely no role in our lives. People can always choose their own direction in life, but some things in life are unavoidable. The more people try to change for better choice, the harder it gets to change. In conclusion, I believe that Sophocles believed in both fate and free will, but mainly that man has free will, it just exists within fate and the limitations that go along with it. In other words, that man makes his own choices, but not if they go directly against fate. The life and fate of Oedipus was that of tragic circumstances.

However, whether or not Oedipus’s tragic fall was produced by forces beyond his control or by aspects of his character that led to errors in his judgment and action. That is, fate exists, but ultimately man makes his own decisions and bears the responsibility for them. One’s ending is already determined, but free will decides how one gets there to their destination. Oedipus mistake was not killing his father and marrying his mother, it was trying to go against the gods and fate. Choices made along the road are yours alone, but it is my believe that God has already decided where we are going.