Throughout history, writers and philosophers have expressed their views about how the life of man is ultimately defined in their works. The Greeks have played their part in this quest. One of the great plays of the ancient Greek world that led the way for others was Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. In this play, Sophocles shows us a chapter from the life of man. Throughout the book, he hints at the idea that life poses a riddle for man to solve thereby being a quest for the answer. He also hints to us that life is seemingly predetermined by the gods’ desires, giving rise to a fated world. Finally, Sophocles also believes that life is filled with paradox and irony. Given these difficulties, Sophocles regards the life of man with utmost respect and admiration. In Oedipus Rex, it is Oedipus who represents Sophocles’ ideal human hero. He displays the defining qualities of a morally correct human. Oedipus, unlike Odysseus in the Odyssey, another Greek work, had no divine influence, yet he still is able to continue for the truth after much hardship. Given all the circumstances, Oedipus still manages to live through to the end without losing composure. Sophocles would definitely honor such a man. Both Oedipus’ life and his kingdom were filled with riddles, paradoxes, and mysteries. Oedipus’ beginning and ending at Thebes both arose from the riddle of the oracle. Without his parent’s confrontation with the oracle, Oedipus would not have been cast away from Thebes in the first place. Yet without the riddle of the sphinx, Oedipus would not have arrived at his royal position. This could be Sophocles’ method to involve our minds, letting us know that every action we take has an effect on us later in life. At Thebes he is bothered by the plague of the city. For this mystery, Oedipus consistently strives for the truth, disregarding all tries to stop his quest. In a way, the riddles represent a much more...
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