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Dramatic Irony in Oedipus Rex

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Dramatic Irony in Oedipus Rex

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Dramatic Irony in Oedipus Rex

In Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, there are several instances of dramatic irony. Not only does this irony give the plot a rounder shape, but it helps the audience understand, or follow along, the plot better.

Dramatic irony is sometimes used to intensify a scene or act. By doing this, the plot of the story, or play, is made more interesting. One example is Oedipus taunting Teiresias for his blindness, both physical and stellar. He says, "You sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man!", "You child of endless night! You can not hurt me or any other man who sees the sun." Oedipus constantly made remarks to Teiresias blindness and his sight, though unknowingly, Oedipus himself was the "child of endless night", the "sightless, witless, senseless" man. His own sight blinded him of the truth, which had been told to him in more than one way. He decided not to listen to the truth, but rather seek it out himself.

Another noticeable point of irony in this story grows from Creon, Oedipus's brother-in-law (or uncle if you prefer). Early in the story, Oedipus charges Creon and Teiresias with treason. His blindness again doesn't allow him to see that Creon and Teiresias are merely trying to help him. Creon tells Oedipus that he has no intentions of being king. He is happy ruling next to Oedipus, without all the headaches that come along with absolute power. Creon is happy being the main advisor, instead of being the king himself. At the beginning of Scene II, Creon addresses the people of Thebes, telling them of Oedipus's accusation towards him yet he is of no harm to Oedipus. After clearly stating that he did not want the throne, once Oedipus blinds himself, Creon rapidly picks up the position of king, and immediately begins to rule. If Creon was so uninterested in the throne, why, then, does he accept it so quickly?

Throughout the entire play, the irony helps the audience to accept Oedipus's cruel fate without seeing him as less of a hero....