Irony Essay

Topics: Irony, Oedipus, Sophocles Pages: 4 (972 words) Published: April 19, 2015
Irony Essay
In the timeless tragedy Oedipus the King, Sophocles implements masterful irony in the forms of dramatic, verbal, and situational ironies, which are essential contributions to the theme of the limitations of a man’s potential caused by fate. The dramatic end of Oedipus raised a crucial question of the extent of a man’s impact on society in the minds of the Chorus, “Luckless Oedipus, whom of all men I envy not at all” (1378). The reason that this question is elevated into the minds of both the Chorus and readers alike is because of the numerous ironies present throughout the story. Dramatic ironies present in Oedipus the King demonstrate to the reader how Oedipus was luckless since the beginning of the story. In response to the beginning pleas by the priests, Oedipus vouches to save the city from the plague the second time “Upon the murderer I invoke this curse” (266). Although Oedipus saved Thebes from the first plague of the Sphinx, he is responsible for the second plague as he killed killing Laius. This effect is that Oedipus is cursing himself when he thinks he is cursing the slayer of Laius. From this dramatic irony, the reader starts to respect for Oedipus for his relentless quest against injustice, but also the reader knows that this is in fact the starting point of his downfall. Furthermore, an example is present in the stichomythia between Tiresias and Oedipus. The dialogue of Oedipus, “It has … because you are blind in mind and ears as well as in your eyes” has the ironic meaning that Oedipus is the blindest even when he calls Tiresias, the seer blind (430). This is because although Tiresias has no eyes, his prophetic eyes give him insight into Oedipus’s tragic past. The impact on the reader is that he/she begins to sense that Oedipus is arrogant, and his hubris could lead to his downfall. Hence, the dramatic irony plays a crucial role in helping the reader develop a feeling of ambivalence, a crucial emotion needed toward a tragic hero....
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