Antigone and Ismene in Oedipus at Colonus

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 148
  • Published : September 30, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
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!" (Oedipus the King, 1524-1527). Now that Oedipus has lost everything-- his wife, mother, kingdom, and all power-- his existence rests entirely on the aid of his two daughters. However, that dependence is not evenly distributed between Antigone and Ismene. Even though both daughters provide assistance to Oedipus, the relationship that Oedipus has with Ismene is weaker in comparison to the firm and unwavering relationship that he has with Antigone.

Oedipus's incompetence is evident from the very beginning of the play, explaining why he relies on Antigone time and again. When they arrive at the sacred grove at Colonus, Oedipus asks Antigone to leave him and find out if anyone lives nearby, and she says that she can see a man approaching. To which Oedipus follows with more inquiries: "Is he coming this way? Has he started towards us?" (I, 30). Even after the stranger leaves, Oedipus cannot tell that he has exited until Antigone tells him so. Antigone also aids Oedipus by warning him that she sees the Chorus approaching. Oedipus, once a great intellectual, is not even capable of responding to a simple request of his name without the aid of Antigone: "My child, what can I say to them?" (ii, 214). Additionally, Oedipus seems to need help with every little move he makes, even for the mere act of being seated: "Help me sit down; take care of the blind man." (I, 21). Luckily for Oedipus, his relationship with Antigone reaches a point where Antigone no longer needs instructions from her father; it is assured that she will help him: "After so long, you need not tell me father" (I, 22). Even though Antigone helps her father with everything, Oedipus's reliance on Antigone seems to weigh greatly on her ability to see for him, emphasizing Oedipus's blindness and...
tracking img