The Real Tragedy of Oedipus the King Is That of All Humanity: We Cannot Escape Our Destiny

Topics: Oedipus, Sophocles, Oedipus the King Pages: 2 (783 words) Published: March 25, 2013
the real tragedy of oedipus is that of all humanity: we cannot escape our destiny. The greatest tragedy of Oedipus is that as human we cannot escape our destiny. This is shown in the play, ‘Oedipus the king’ by Sophocles. The main character, Oedipus is caught in the problem of fate and destiny. Oedipus, as the king is in a position of power. In this position he becomes quite superior and proud of himself, this becomes a tragic flaw. Ironically, many years before the play is set, Oedipus tries to escape his fate. It is ironic because in doing this he ends up running straight towards it. The play is made to make us understand that as humans we are powerless against death, and it is true that we are born to die. Firstly, in the play it is ironic that Oedipus tries to run away from his destiny but ends up running straight towards it. When he is younger he hears from a oracle that he is doomed to ‘kill is father and marry his mother’. Thinking that the oracle is referring to Polybus and Merope he flees towards Thebes to try to escape his ‘destiny’. It is ironic that while fleeing what he believes is his fate, he runs straight toward it. On page 205 Oedipus quotes the oracle saying, ‘you are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see- you will kill your father, the one who gave you life!’ Oedipus then says, ‘I heard all that and ran. I abandoned Corinth, from that day I gauged its landfall only by the stars, running, always running toward some place where I would never see the shame of all those oracle come true.’ This quote perfectly captures the idea of Oedipus not running away from his fate but straight towards it. The audience experiences dramatic irony in this scene as they know something that the characters do not. In the play, this is a point of mimesis for the characters, but also the audience, when they realise that Oedipus made a great fault, in running from Corinth. The repetitive...
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