oedipus rex

Topics: Sophocles, Oedipus, Oedipus the King Pages: 5 (2224 words) Published: November 11, 2013

In Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex, there are many themes that are woven through the life of King Oedipus, and revealed through the key points of the plot. One of the most important themes is the inevitability of ones’ fate. Although fate is considered the usual genre of the Greeks in playwriting there, are specifics that Oedipus conducts unusual to our own way of thinking of a king during the Ancient Greek times. For example: Oedipus’s ignorance of believing what is said from his wife, Iocaste and others. Also there is the prophecy and tragedy portrayed in the story. The action and plot/structure of the play is part of what makes it one of the most studied Greek, plays ever. Even today one of the most famous themes is the idea that your fate is inevitable. As seen in Oedipus Rex, Oedipus was prophesized that one day he will murder his father and sleep with his mother. When he was thrown out and raised by shepherds, his parents thought that action would end the prediction of his fate. Unfortunately it didn’t. He did unwittingly kill a man at the opening of the three roads, which was his real father. When a messenger told Oedipus that Polybos died, he was excited, page 1332 on lines 54 to 60, “They prophesied that I should kill Polybos, but he is dead and buried”. This does pose a little bit of irony when he found out that Polybos is not his father. At the end, his fate comes true anyways, revealed in the curse from Teirsais on page 1318 and in lines 195 to 205. In despair he blinds himself and takes his fate with him. There is a great consideration of plausibility in Oedipus´ ignoring all the clues that are put before him by Iocaste and others. Teiresias, in page 1318 and lines 195 to 205, says, “Listen to me, You mock my blindness. Do you? But I say that you are blind ”. This is the foreshadowing that Oedipus ignores, but becomes true later on. These questions as well as a couple of other questions might be lost in ignorance, but there are some others which cannot be ignored, because Oedipus himself points attention to them. One of them is the question, which Oedipus raises. If Teirsais was really an inspired seer, why was he not able to answer the riddle of the sphinx? Why did he keep silent about the death of Laius and the marriage of Iocaste, when he seems to have known about Oedipus´ identity?  The only thing we can say, is that everything seems to have been arranged by fate with Oedipus as the center. Oedipus’s name, which literally means “swollen foot,” foreshadows his discovery of his own identity. When the shepherds arrive and point out Oedipus’s feet, it becomes more and more evident that he was the one that killed his father and thrown out because of the horrible fate. But, on page 1326 lines 245 to 290, it quotes from Oedipus, “ If I was created so, born to this fate, Who could deny the savagery of God?” At this point Oedipus begins to to realize that his fate is going to stay with him forever until he ends it by himself. According to Aristotle, tragedy arises pity and fear and through these, brings about a catharsis or purgation. Although there is a great controversy about the real meaning of catharsis, there is no doubt that the story of the fall of Oedipus is full of great pity and terror. In the play from lines 245 to 265 on page 1346, Oedipus is having a last and over dramatic moment with his children before he goes into exile. Through these emotions, we are made to think deeply about human life. When he says, “Risk the bane that lies on all my children? Is there any evil wanting? Your father killed.” This quote sets the tone that its almost self-sacrificial for his children and the people of Thebes. Greek tragedy is generally believed to be tragedy of fate, in contrast with Shakespearean tragedy, which is regarded as tragedy of character. Whether or not this is true of other Greek tragedies, it is applicable to Oedipus Rex. At the most we can say that both character and the fate play a part in the...
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