Oedipus Essay

Topics: Oedipus, Sophocles, Sphinx Pages: 4 (775 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is a tragic play which discusses the

tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married

his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian's.

Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is

self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the

very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained

the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles

used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of

Oedipus' life and to further
characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the

rule of thebes: "What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet

and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the

weakest?" Oedipus correctly answered "Man" and became the king

of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a

child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to

which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child.

He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to

the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god

apollo that Laius' son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not

come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has

not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus

to raise as his own Oedipus would have died.

Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for

Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape

the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage

kills them. Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus

then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes.

By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes...
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