“There once lived a man named Oedipus Rex
You may have heard about his odd complex.
His name appears in Freud’s index
‘Cause he loved his mother.”
To what extent do you think the tragedy of Oedipus Rex has been simplified over time?
The way in which the tragedy of Oedipus Rex is interpreted has changed significantly since its first presentation to audiences in ancient Greece. The ways in which audiences over many years have interpreted it have changed because of changes to society in matters such as culture, religion and morality and the . At the time Oedipus Rex was written, audiences saw Oedipus’s marriage to his mother and murder of his father as moral sins even though he was fated to do so. As a result of their moral code ancient Greek audiences were much more likely to condemn Oedipus whereas Modern audiences would mostly appreciate his marriage to his mother and murder of his father as accidental and very unfortunate. Modern audiences are usually more sympathetic towards Oedipus for this reason, seeing him as a martyr who died finding out the truth instead of an example of the inevitability of fate. Modern audiences are however somewhat restricted due to the need for the text to be translated. Some modern translations are narrow minded, and may corrupt the original story line in a way which leads to the play being misinterpreted as focusing on Oedipus and Jocasta’s incestuous relationship and the morbid outcome thereof instead of the potential dangers of pursuing self-knowledge and the inevitability of fate which Sophocles mean for Oedipus to be an example of. The way in which Oedipus Rex has been simplified over time can be seen through a comparison of Freud and Aristotle’s interpretations of the play. In his Interpretation of Dreams Freud focuses on the fact that Oedipus murdered his father and married his mother. Freud does not explore ideas about self-knowledge and fate, instead portraying sex as the main theme the play is concerned...
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