September 24, 2012
King Oedipus- Essay
"What walks on four legs at dawn, two legs at noon, and three legs at nightfall." This was the riddle posed by the Sphinx who at the time was destroying the city of Thebes. The riddle was solved by none other than Oedipus who was made king for ridding the city of the Sphinx. Ironically though, Oedipus in his life comes to embody the riddle of the Sphinx and its soulution. Firstly, the Sphinx is percieved as a curse on Thebes and Oedipus also becomes a curse by the end of the play. Secondly, Oedipus's physical health embodies the riddle. Thirdly, Oedipus's emotional state also resembles the riddle. Lastly, the events of Oedipus's life relate to the theme of identity in the play.
Just as the Sphinx was percieved as a curse on Thebes, Oedipus also becomes a curse to Thebes by the end of the play. During the course of the play it is known that there is a plague in the land of Thebes and the reason why is revealed by Oedipus's brother in law Creon who says, "He was killed. And clearly the meaning of the god's command is that we bring the unknown killer to justice" (Sophocles 28). So the reason why there is a plague on Thebes is because of the murder of the previous king Lauis who was killed by Oedipus. Oedipus also performs the heinous offense of incest. In the play, Oedipus reveals that he was told he would kill his father and marry his mother. "To the question I asked, having heard a tale of horror and misery: how I must marry my mother, and become the parent of a misbegotten brood, an offense to all mankind- and kill my father" (Sophocles 47). To explain, Oedispus has already been told that he would perform the heinous acts of murder and incest, and in doing so he would become an offense to all of mankind (curse). To summarize, because of Oedipus's actions he has unintentionally become a curse to the city of Thebes.
Secondly, Oedipus's physical health embodies the actual riddle of the Sphinx. Throughout Oedipus's...
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