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Essay # 2 Kim Pham English

Essay # 2 Kim Pham English 104-017 Professor James Place October 15, 2012 Pham 1 In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (rpt. in James P. Place, Literature: A reader for Freshman Composition II, 1st ed. [Boston: Pearson, 2011] 122-168), the oracles had prophesied that Oedipus would kill his father and beget children by his mother. Oedipus does not want to do the things that Apollo predicted; he is no puppet, but indeed the controller of his own fate. Oedipus was unwilling to have his fate come true; he was frightened that he would kill his adopted parents.

He believes they were his real parents, therefore he left to Thebes. The decision he made was based on the stories he heard. This led to Oedipus’s own downfall. Oedipus is not the puppet of his own fate, but indeed the creator of his own fate. Oedipus creates his own fate because after hearing the oracle, he did not return to his hometown, Corinth, but went to Thebes. He was afraid of making his fate come true, so he did everything possible to avoid the fate.

He did not realize that by avoiding his fate, he was actually heading toward it. In Thebes, he fulfills his fate by killing his father and taking his mother as his bride. Soon, he tries to investigate who killed Laios, but he does not know it was actually himself. None of Oedipus’s choice were predetermined, and nor were they accidental. The premise of the play is how Oedipus’s decisions unknowingly lead to his fate. Oedipus was free to make his own decisions, and his decisions tied in with his fate.

Oedipus did not know that all his decisions would lead to the killing of his father and the marrying of his mother. Oedipus was a very stubborn and curious person; he forced the servant of Laios and also Teiresias to tell him the truth about his past, even though neither one wanted him to know the truth. The servant stated, “… if I speak the truth, I am worse than dead” (p. 165). Both warned Oedipus that he did not want to know the secrets of his past. As he finds out the full truth, Pham 2

Oedipus accepts responsibility for his actions. Oedipus believes that was his own destiny, and his decisions and actions fulfilled it. The premise of the play is how freedom harmonizes with fate. Careless decisions and curiosity tie in with fate. Curiosity and the knowledge of the truth, in certain situations should be avoided. Within this play, ignorance is indeed better than knowing the truth. It is obvious that the fate of Oedipus is his own fault. Avoiding his fate, Oedipus makes his own fate occur.

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Oedipus Rex the Tragedy Aristotle

Oedipus Rex the Tragedy Aristotle created elements to prove a story is a tragedy. Aristotle was a philosopher and a scientist. Aristotle wrote his definition of a tragedy twenty years after Sophocles wrote the play Oedipus Rex. The play Oedipus Rex uses these elements. Oedipus Rex uses suitable language, dramatic form, and fear and pity wording throughout the play. Oedipus Rex is a true tragedy according to Aristotle’s prescribed elements. Oedipus Rex includes appropriate and pleasurable language.

Oedipus Rex uses personification. An example is “now I remember, O Healer, your power, and wonder; will you send doom like a sudden cloud, or weave it like nightfall of the past? ” (Sophocles 210). Oedipus Rex uses words that are lyrical and the audience can go along with the chorus. Oedipus states “though fools will honor impious men, in their cities no tragic poet sings” (Sophocles 234). It is powerful because it describes Thebes as honoring Oedipus, but they do not know all of the crimes Oedipus has committed.

A quote like this makes the audience think and wonder about Oedipus and his real character. Oedipus Rex uses powerful, imaginative language to enhance the audience’s theater experience. Oedipus Rex is written in a dramatic rather than a narrative form. When watching or reading this tragedy, the audience needs to think about what the author is trying to say through the character. Everything is written in a harder more complex way. When Oedipus talks about what he will do to the murderer or to whomever is hiding the murder, he is being dramatic.

He describes everything he is going to do in a specific way. This is dramatic irony because Oedipus is the murder. An excellent quote is “listen to me, act as the crisis demands, and you shall have relief from all these evils” (Sophocles 211). This is an exceptional quote because it shows power and command. When the chorus speaks they talk dramatically so the audience can tell what Thebes is feeling. A quote from the chorus states “but no man ever brought—none can bring proof of strife between Thebe’s royal house” (Sophocles 220).

The quote stated before means Thebes is feeling confused on the whole situation. The quote brings out that no one could prove anything and no one could prove the fight or problem in the royal house. Oedipus Rex is written in dramatic form so the audience can experience everything as if they are at the actual scene. Oedipus Rex shows fear and pity throughout the play. Oedipus and Teriresias argue back and forth about the murder of Lauis. Both characters are scared and it is a stichomythia.

Stichomythia is an argument back and forth at a fast pace. Oedipus says in the play “no matter what he fears for having so long withheld it” (Sophocles 211). Oedipus fears for his daughters’ futures, because he believes his crime will cause them to remain unwed. No matter his punishment, death or exile, Oedipus knows he will not be able to ensure a secure future for them. Jocasta wants pity from everyone because she slept with her son and her son killed his father which is her ex-husband.

The audience knows that Jocasta wants pity because she commits suicide. Oedipus Rex has the elements of fear and pity which makes it a true tragedy. The audience can bring to a close from the elements of Aristotle that Oedipus Rex is a tragedy. Oedipus Rex uses proper and enjoyable language throughout the play. The words have a rhythm and flow. The tragedy is written to be acted out to enhance the emotional appeal of the character’s experiences. Oedipus Rex is a dramatic play that has become the model of a tragic drama.

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Modern Adaptation of Oedipus Rex (Scene)

Oedipus Rex Adaptation Original Scene: Laius meets the oracle and learns that his own son will kill him and marry his mother. Laius orders Jocasta to kill the baby. Jocasta hesitates and gives the baby to a servant so he could kill the baby. The servant leaves the baby to die in the sun. *A shepherd saves the baby and names him Oedipus. *optional to adapt Characters 1. King Laius / Lionel von Hudson – Jared Lionel von Hudson is a wealthy and powerful businessman. He comes from a line of elites and his family holds tremendous economic power in New York. . Queen Jocasta / Cassandra von Hudson – Ravina Cassandar von Hudson is the wife of Lionel von Hudson. She also comes from a long line of elites from the Hamptons. She is unwilling to kil her first born child. Sometimes, she’s also conceited and proud. 3. Oracle / Gypsy lady – Ratna A gypsy fortune teller who receives a vision and prophecy on the fate of the von Hudsons. Carries her fortune telling crystal with her. 4. Servant / Sherry the Attendant – Farah Sherry is the von Hudson’s attendant who act as both driver and personal bodyguard.

A religious person but also fears her employers. She believes in fate. 5. * Corinthian Shepherd / Plumber – Jared A plumber who takes care of the sewer pipes. A person with a good heart. Setting: Modern day Upper East Side Manhattan, New York Scene 1 Setting: Outside Lionel’s office building Props: 2 chairs (car) and a “crystal” ball Lionel ask his driver to pull over at the office for a meeting. Lionel : Now, Sherry, the meeting will be till 2. I will be back at about 2:30. Sherry : Yes Mr. Lionel. I will be here. Have a good meeting Mr. Lionel, Mdm. Cassandra.

Lionel and Cassandra exit the car and walk towards the office entrance when they were stopped by a gypsy lady with a crystal ball. Gypsy Lady : The couple there. Mr and Mrs von Hudson. [walks over to Lionel and Cassandra] Cassandra : Oh Lord woman. How do you know our names. But then again, we’re all over the news anyways. Gypsy Lady: I come with news, news you must hear, regarding your child and your fate. For I see your future. You are doomed Mr. von Hudson, doomed to death by the hands of your son. And you, Mrs. on Hudson, incest be upon you for when death befalls Mr. von Hudson, you will marry your child. Lionel: What nonsense. You foolish gypsy. Shut your mouth and stop this rubbish. I’m late for my meeting and you’ve just ruined my mood. Cassandra: I shall not believe in this nonsense either. Let’s go Lionel. Let’s leave this foolish lady. Lionel and Cassandra walks away. Gypsy Lady: [shouts] HEED MY WORDS VON HUDSON. FOR TRAGEDY WILL BEFALL YOU TONIGHT AND WE’LL SEE WHO THE FOOLISH ONE IS.

Cassandra looks over her shoulder at the gypsy lady, a tinge of worry on her face. Scene 2 Setting: Elevator to the von Hudson’s penthouse. Props: none Lionel: What foolishness. That gypsy sure knows how to get on my nerves. I’m still angry just thinking of her. Cassandra: Lionel dear, let’s not worry about her and open ourselves a bottle of champagne tonight. A fool will be a fool. DING! Elevator door opens. Lionel and Cassandra looks at their penthouse in horror and shock. Lionel : What in the world could have done this?! Look at our apartment.

It’s trashed. Cassandra : Oh no. What if the Gypsy Lady was right? Lionel : SHERRY?! Sherry comes running in. Sherry : Yes, Mr. Lionel…….. [looks around in horror] I’ll get the maintenance to clear this up. Sherry runs out. Cassandra : Oh Lionel, what are we to do. She was right. Lionel : We have to save ourselves Cassandra. I will leave for a business trip tomorrow. When I’m back, I want the boy gone. Kill him before he kills us and land you in sin. Cassandra : But… but he’s our flesh and blood. Lionel : It will be as I say. Scene 3

Setting : Penthouse (clean again) Props: “baby” Cassandra : [on the phone] Sherry, could you come up here please. DING! Sherry : Yes, Mdm. Cassandra? Cassandra hands Sherry the baby. Cassandra : You have to do it Sherry. I can’t. Sherry: Do what madam? Cassandra : Kill him. Before he grows up and kill Lionel. Sherry : I…. I can’t…. Cassandra : You must. Cassandra covers her face and sobs. Scene 4 Setting: Sewers Props : “baby” Sherry : I’m sorry young master. What ordeal has come upon such a tiny soul. Oh God. Why?! I could not bring myself to do it.

If it’s your fate to live, young master, then, may God send someone to save you. But if it’s your fate to die, let the crocodiles come to you first. Sherry leaves the baby on the ground and leaves. *optional Plumber walks in. Plumber: Now, where is that broken pipe? [hears baby’s cry, looks around and spots the baby] Oh dear god. Why? To an infant soul? [picks up baby] You poor thing. But I’m too poor. I do hope that Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein would take him? They’ve been trying to have a child for ages. [looks at the baby, smiles] Hello there, Alfie.

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A Misconception Punishment of Oedipus King of Thebes

In many plays a character could have a misconception of his or her world. In return this could destroy a major turning point in the story. “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is one of such story. At the end of the story Oedipus King of Thebes ends up banished forever from his kingdom. Additionally, Oedipus physically puts out his own eyes, for several reasons which will be discussed later. The question is: Did Oedipus deserve his punishments? There are many factors that must be considered in answering this, including how Oedipus himself felt about this situation.

His blinding was as much symbolic as it was physical pain. After all factors have been considered, I think that only Oedipus’ banishment was the necessary punishment. It is important to keep in mind the whole basic reasoning for Oedipus’ search for Laios’ killers: he wished to put an end to a deadly plague, and that plague would only be stopped when said murderer is killed, or driven from the land (Sophocles 723). Consequently, when it is revealed that Oedipus himself murdered Laios, then banishment seems to be the only option.

Death, in my mind, is not valid simply because of what it might do to the kingdom’s people. Even though it seems that Oedipus has not been a particularly good monarch, in fact his only major accomplishment seems to be killing the Sphinx all those years ago; having a king put to death could have serious repercussions on the rest of the kingdom. So in the end, the only way to cure the affliction and keep the kingdom stable seems to be the banishment of Oedipus.

In this case, the question of whether or not he deserved to be punished seems irrelevant; Oedipus’ only goal was to stop the problem and by leaving, he has accomplished that goal. Banishment was the only choice. But what exactly was Oedipus being punished for? Even after re- reading the play, this still seems to be a gray area. Incest? Immoral to be sure, but Oedipus was obviously ignorant to his actions, and to my knowledge in Sophoclean times, there was no written law against it and therefore no punishment for it (“The Three Goddesses”4).

Oedipus’ punishment may have been for killing Laios, but how could you punish someone for being a victim of fate? Greeks believed at the time of the play’s writing that a man’s life was “woven” by the 3 fates (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) and that he was irrevocably bound to that destiny (“The Three Goddesses” 2) . Knowing this and knowing that Oedipus became king of Thebes only because it was his destiny to murder Laios and kill the Sphinx, how could he rightfully be punished?

Even Oedipus himself knows that his actions are not by choice, but by acts of the gods, he mentions this twice in the play: “Some savage power has brought this down upon my head” (745). As well as “My god, my god — what have you planned to do to me? ” (755) Such quotes clearly show that Oedipus knew that he had no choice in his actions. With this approach alone, Oedipus is undeserving of any set punishments. Oedipus may not have been a particularly good man, but in the end he knew what was best for his kingdom: “Out of this kingdom cast me with all speed” (757) … or only that would save his problems.

Was that Oedipus’ only punishment the play might have been quite a bit simpler, but Oedipus vigorously stabs his own eyes with Jocasta’s dress pins. This was Oedipus’ way of trying to punish himself, as well as an escape for him. Oedipus would no longer stare upon the faces of his issues, his brother (uncle? ) Kreon or even those of his children. He is plunged into a world of darkness. It must be noted that this was more than a simply punishment, though I’m sure that it was one of the ways Oedipus intended it.

The physical pain alone seems to prove that. There are much easier ways of becoming blind to the world than stabbing one’s eyes out. As I have stated before, Oedipus was blinded by his foolish pride long before the beginning of the story. He only realized the truth behind Laios’ murder when it was right in front of his nose. He was by no means stupid, in fact he came off as quite a clever man, but his was a world of blindness because of pride and power. After concentrating on the two most obvious of Oedipus’ punishments, but there is another one that may not seem so clear.

Keeping in mind that Sophocles made it very clear that Oedipus was a man of so much pride that he may have thought of himself to be related to a god. However Oedipus basically stripped of that pride at the end of the play, then the true punishment was revealed. Oedipus’ life was based on pride. It was what led him to the murder of Laios, which in turn led to the killing of the Sphinx, then led to his becoming king. As he continues on his particular way of life, Oedipus becomes more and more powerful, and as such, his pride also increases proportionately.

He threatens both Teiresias and Kreon, and tries to untangle the mystery of Laios’ death. What must go on inside his min d when he finds out that not only did he murder his father, the king, but he also slept with his mother? Knowing full well that his kingdom would eventually find out his acts, how could he hold his head up when walking through the city streets? How could his people respect and look up to a king who was a murderer and an incest committer? Oedipus is therefore stripped of his pride, the driving force behind his whole personality.

He has been crushed, and that which he had so much of before has been denied him. Where he was once at one extreme, he is now at the other. To take away the very thing that drives a man is worse than any physical pain or even death itself. That is truly, as Sophocles intended it, Oedipus’ ultimate punishment. When the curtain falls and the lights go out on Oedipus Rex, the king’s punishments total three. Though in my mind at least, one far outweighs the other two, they are all important and they all contribute to the total experience of the Greek tragedy.

In the end, I do not feel that Oedipus truly deserves the punishments he is handed, but that is only because of the fact that I place myself in the time period that this was written in, using the beliefs of that time for my own. If this story took place in modern times, Oedipus certainly would have deserved his punishment, but this idea is irrelevant because, quite simply, this did not take place in our “advanced” civilization. Oedipus was a victim of fate, incapable of free will, and as such he should have not been punished, save banishment only to cure the affliction.

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Oedipus Rex

Sophocles in Oedipus Rex introduces the horrors of veracity through the journey the tragic hero Oedipus takes on. This tragedy encompasses all the concepts of Aristotle’s Poetics in regards to a complex plot. According to Aristotle, a tragedy is an event that has to arouse pity and fear to the readers; Oedipus contains all the features of this demand. In terms of Oedipus’ tragedy, he’s seen as the cursed one who consequently has to suffer the tragic repercussions of fate.

In Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex, destiny persecutes Oedipus as it demonstrates elements such as his hubris that is exemplified through his behavior, his tragic flaws that is hamartia and the reversal of his tragic discovery that leads him to fulfill the prophecy. In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, the author depicts Oedipus’ tragic flaw of hubris through his kingship in Thebes. His pride qualifies as Aristotle’s concept of a tragic character.

Aristotle’s tragic character is defined as a character that must occupy a high status and also embody virtues. Aristotle defines Oedipus’ hubris as “his excessive pride that causes the hero to ignore a divine warning break of moral law” (Aristotle 43). Oedipus is confident about solving the murder of king Laius. His character’s self-belief is exemplified through this quote; “by the mouth of messengers, I have myself came hither, Oedipus, known far and wide by name (Sophocles 1)”.

This demonstrates how Oedipus is confident in his popularity, because he was the one who solved the Sphinx’s riddle and therefore believes that he deserves immediate respect and recognition. Oedipus illustrates himself as being the only intelligent one in all of Thebes, “with [his] readiness to afford all aid; hard hearted must [he] be (Sophocles 1)”. This passage clearly exhibits his arrogance as it also clarifies his hubris, which, in in end, leads to his downfall.

Furthermore, he speaks to people in a pretentious manner; “what you come see is known already – not unknown to me (Sophocles 3)”. This once again acts as an addition to Aristotle’s concept of hubris. Oedipus permits himself to freely behave with a highly conceded attitude that is exemplified through “Come to each singly; by at my once groans for the city, and for myself, and you,” (Sophocles 3). The structure of this quote indicates Oedipus’ high attitude towards the problems that dawn upon Thebes. Instead of showing his audience that his primary concerns re of himself, his focus is the security of the town. In doing so, it displays the tenacity of his pride and thinking he can save the city of Thebes by himself, yet also displaying his dedication, which can be seen as a heroic quality: “I [am] confident, nor prone to fear (Sophocles 4)”. His hubris is once again exemplified when questioning the blind man, Tiresias. This man is known to only speak the truth, and when threatened by Oedipus to express that knowledge about the murder, it leads to a tragedy, rather than enlightenment, in this plot.

Tiresias reveals the truth to Oedipus because of his perseverance in uncovering the truth. As he lets his hubris blurry his sight by believing he was lied to by Tiresisas and Creon because he thinks he is too virtuous to have committed such actions. Oedipus rejects all possibilities of such and rather refers to it as a plan to try and throw him off his reign: “For you would rouse a very stone to wrath – will you not speak out ever but stand thus relentless and persistent (Sophocles 13)”.

This passage shows that there is a lingering fear within the king’s mind. He uses the excuse that they are trying to overthrow him because he was the one who solved the riddle of the sphinx, which potentially means they were jealous of his position. Oedipus believes that by tricking him, they would reign over Thebes. Oedipus’ negligence in accepting responsibility, along with his surplus of pride leads to his refusal in accepting the truth and instead opts to blame others. Tiresias tells him “ you censure; but your own, at home, you see not, and blame me! Sophocles 13)”: this shows that Tiresias has had it with Oedipus’ hubris and him not being able to accept the truth, foreshadowing that Oedipus’ greatness is a tragic harbinger of his fall. Oedipus pushed himself into his fate which destruction is brought upon him through his ruthless means and arrogance. Oedipus’ hubris is portrayed through his thoughts, words and actions which eventually begin to work against him. Oedipus’ egoism leads him to think that he is perfect in everything, however, his superior attitude leads him to what Aristotle defines as one of the key points of a tragedy; hamartia.

Aristotle’s meaning of hamartia is defined as “the change of fortune should be not from bad to good, reversely from good to bad. It should come about as the result not of vice, but of some great error or frailty in a character either such as we have described or better rather than worse (Aristotle 23). In Oedipus’ case, hamarita is seen when he wants to know the truth but also plays a role in leading to his downfall . The notion of hamartia is seen during Oedipus’ discussion with Tiresias: when the blind prophet reveals the truth to him.

Oedipus disagrees with Tiresias’ statement, as he proclaims, “For I shall not be found a murderer (Sophocles 21)”. This passage indicates that he can’t be seen as the man who has killed the former king, although his determined search for the truth will uncover to him that that is exactly what he is. Because of this discussion, Tiresias abandons the scene thereby leaving Oedipus alone in his frustration, “this be the last time I shall gaze on thee, who am revealed to have nee born of those of whom I ought not – to have wedded whom I ought to be – and slain who I might not slay! (Sophocles 42)”.

Oedipus believes he has evaded fate, but ironically he has fulfilled everything the oracle had explained to him, and it is is hamartia, his search for the truth that has pushed him to these realizations. Subsequently, he consults his wife Jocasta by telling her that Tiresias condemned him and revealed his prophecy. Jocasta, already knowing the truth, attempts to persuade him by giving up his search. However, because of his hamartia, Oedipus does not stop his search he continues with his attempts at finding out the truth about the prophecy of him killing his father and sleeping with his mother.

This is seen as Oedipus’ annoyance of the truth, “more miserable than I am? Who on earth could have been born with more of hate from heaven? (Sophocles 29)”. This passage shows Oedipus’ realization that perhaps the prophet was right. “I am at the horror (Sophocles 41)”, indicates that Oedipus, beginning to panic, decides to consult the old man who knows the events. His hamartia is that which compels him to do so. However, the prophet refuses to say anything, so Oedipus says, “tell me the whole truth, or you will come to it! (Sophocles 41)”.

Oedipus is once again arrogant in discovering the truth, but still seeks it. The old man, threatened for his life, begins to tell the tale of the patricide, “…and I hear. But I must hear – no less (Sophocles 41)”. The truth is out there now; Oedipus has uncovered the mystery of the murderer. It is Oedipus’ actions that bring things into motion, but it is his fate, pride and his hamartia, as he relentlessly wants the truth, that lead him to his downfall. Oedipus’ ignorance comes from his fear concerning the appalling horror of the possible truth and its devastating implications.

This falls into the category of Aristotle’s concept in what makes a good tragedy; peripeteia. Aristotle defines it as the “reversal of the situation [which] is a change by which the action veers round to its opposite” (Aristotle 20). This concept is the reversal of a situation, which is the transition from ignorance to knowledge. The situations encompass scenes of suffering and of painful actions. In Oedipus’ case, his downfall is where he finally realizes that his prophecy of “self-slain” (Sophocles 44) was predestined to occur.

Peripeteia, necessary for a complex plot, occurs when he realizes this, as we see in that quote. By this truth being actually understood, all consequences fall into place for Oedipus. First off, Jocasta, Oedipus’ wife and mother, knew the truth about Oedipus all along; she even pierced his tendons when he was younger so he couldn’t run away when she put him in a forest. After she found out that Oedipus discovered the truth, she locked herself in the bedroom alone and hung herself, “for whom it was impossible to watch, the ending of her misery (Sophocles 45)”.

Oedipus is slowly introduced to the miseries of this truth; “say where he could find his wife – no wife, rather the [dead-corpse] of his mother (Sophocles 45)”. With his mother/wife dead, he could no longer handle the outcome of what his life came to be, so he no longer knows how to act, and is compelled to doing the most extreme of actions: “what followed; snatching from her dress gold pins wherewith she was adorned, he lifted them, and smote the nerves of his own eyeballs, saying that they should see no more (Sophocles 45)”.

Oedipus could not put up with the realization; so instead, he opted to remove his sight. He could no longer bear the physical world and chose to focus on the psychological torment that accompanies the contemplation of the truth: “What deity was it that with a leap so great – farther than farthest – sprang on thy sad fate? Woe is me, woe is me for thee – unfortunate! (Sophocles 46)”. As blood is shrieking out of his eyes, he blinds himself in agony, demonstrating that nothing is worse than looking at the miserable truth.

The irony is that even though he no longer has sight; he can now finally see the truth of the prophecy. As said when he was king, whoever the murderer was to be exiled from Thebes, so in order to fulfill this statement, he asks Creon, the new king “lead me to exile straight; Lead me, O my friends, the worst of murderers, or mortals most accurst, yea and to Gods chief object of their hate. (Sophocles 48)”. In addition to the demand of exile, he also asks Creon to take care of his daughters, as he can no longer bear the sight f them: “Knowing what is left of bitter in the life which at men’s hands you needs must henceforth live (Sophocles 53)”.

This shows that Oedipus is talking to his daughters and telling them the truth, which is that no one will want to marry them because they were born from an incestuous marriage and because of this, they will be excluded from this society: the horrors of his actions cease to stop. Oedipus is then exiled from the city, expressing “to Gods, above all men, I am a mark for hat (Sophocles 53)”. Oedipus loses his sight and family, exiled from the city of Thebes, but gains the truth and lives in humility.

Oedipus’ hubris was a mixture of rage and pride that unfortunately was possessed. The Greeks believed that this sin was grave and one of the most dangerous because people with such pride thought that they were above the Gods. Seeing that Oedipus’ arrogance is so strong as a consequent it led to his downfall. Therefore the result of hubris led him to a tragic fate. It is only when Oedipus’ plucks out his eyes that he returns to a human state. Oedipus’ character brings out his hubris, hamartia and recognition that enable it to fit under the concept of Aristotle’s complex plot.

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Oedipus Reader’s Log

World Literature – Reader Response Log – Oedipus Rex Section|Line(s) |Questions|Reader’s Commentary|| Prologue|1-150|1. Describe the dramatic purpose of the Prologue. |The prologue sets the atmosphere of Oedipus Rex, and gets the reader interested. || |8|2. How does Oedipus characterize himself in line 8? |He sees himself as famous to all men. || |25-30|3. Describe the conditions in Thebes as depicted by the Priest in lines 25-30. |There is disease infecting the fruit and cattle of their land, and women in labor are losing their children. || |40-46|4. How do the suppliants view Oedipus in lines 31-34, 40, and 46? They are thankful of him because he freed them from the tribute they were paying|| ||5. What is a Sphinx? What is the answer to the riddle, “What has one voice and four feet, two feet and three feet? ” Who answers the riddle? |A winged monster of Thebes, having a woman’s head and a lion’s body. Man as an infant, he crawls on all fours; as an adult, he walks on two legs and; in old age, he uses a ‘walking’ stick. Oedipus answers the riddle. || |41-4253|6. What request does the Priest make of Oedipus in lines 41-42 and 53? |They beg Oedipus for help, to help their state. So now, you best of men, raise up our state. ”|| |60-61|7. Define dramatic irony. Then, explain its function in lines 60-61. |Irony that is understood by the audience/readers but not by the characters in the story. The audience would have already known Oedipus’ fate when hearing those lines, while the priest/Oedipus had no idea of what really happened. || |95-107|8. Review lines 95-107 once more. What does Apollo say must be done to rid Thebes of its pollution? |“Lord Phoebus clearly orders us to drive away the polluting stain this land has harboured” they have to find who killed Laius. || |114-123125|9.

What were the circumstances surrounding Laius’s death (refer to lines 114-123)? Furthermore, what motive does Oedipus assign the murderer (lines 124-125)? |All of the messengers died that went with Laius except for one man. Oedipus says that the men are robbers. || |137-141|10. Explain the irony present in Oedipus’s resolution (lines 137-141). |Oedipus is talking about what the killer might do; while unbeknownst to him he’s actually the killer. || Section|Line(s) |Questions|Reader’s Commentary|| Parados|151-215|11. Discuss the Chorus’ reaction to Apollo’s advice to the city of Thebes (lines 154-157). The chorus is frightened, and is asking what they have to do for Zeus. “What obligation will you demand from me, a thing unknown”. || |170-182|12. Describe the conditions in the city as recounted by the Chorus (lines 170-182). |Everyone is unhappy, and many of the townspeople have died or are dying. || First Episode|216-462|13. Why does Oedipus seek the counsel of Teiresias (lines 278-287)? |He can see into things like Lord Apollo. || 316-344|316-344|14. What is Teiresias reaction to Oedipus’s request (lines 316-344)? |He doesn’t want to tell Oedipus anything. || 353-371|353-371|15.

How does Oedipus view Teiresias? What ironies exist in their conversation? Refer to lines 353-371. |Oedipus views Teiresias as a liar, he thinks what he’s saying is wrong. Oedipus calls Teiresias blind, and eventually Oedipus will be blind. || |385-389|16. In lines 385-389, Oedipus begins to harbor a suspicion about Creon. What is this suspicion? Why is this important? |He thinks Creon has betrayed him. However, Oedipus is wrong, and won’t see the important truth that is in front of him. || |390-398|17. What superior trait does Oedipus claim over Teiresias in lines 390-398? Oedipus claims he has wit, while Teiresias only has “the birds”. || |413-425|18. In lines 413-425, Teiresias reveals the truth to Oedipus about his lineage. What does Teiresias predict will be Oedipus’s fate? Refer to lines 417-423; 452-460. |Teiresias says that Oedipus will go blind, and that his cries will not be heard. Also, he says he will be poor. || First Stasimon |463-512|19. Discuss the Chorus’ view of Teiresias’s accusations against Oedipus. Refer to lines 483-495; 504-511. |They cannot confirm or deny them, the chorus is very confused. || Section|Line(s) |Questions|Reader’s Commentary||

Second Episode|513-862|20. How does Creon defend himself against Oedipus’s accusation of conspiracy (lines 583-604)? |Creon says he’s much happier not being king and that when you’re king you have to live in fear. || |639-697|21. What does Jocasta do in lines 639-697? |Jocasta learns of what Oedipus wants to do to Creon and she stops him. || |707-722|22. How does Jocasta assure Oedipus that is not guilty of the king’s death, lines 707-722? |She tells him what the gods said. That it would be Laius’ son who killed him and that Laius’ sent his son away. || |726-745|23.

Why is Oedipus disturbed and frightened by Jocasta’s comments in lines 726-745? |He realizes that he is the person who murdered Laius’, meaning he is Laius’ son, and has an incest relationship with his wife/mother. || |758-764|24. Return to lines 758-764. What happened to the one witness to the king’s death? |The witness begged to be sent off to where the animals graze. || |774-775779-793|25. Whom does Oedipus believe are his true parents, lines 774-775? Why does he visit the Delphic Circle? What is he told? Refer to lines 779-793. |He thinks Polybus of Corinth is his father.

Oedipus goes to Delphic Circle to seek answers about his parents; he’s told that his fate was to defile his mother’s bed. || |813-822|26. Describe what Oedipus fears most in lines 813-822. |He says he won’t be welcomed by anyone. || |842-858|27. How does Jocasta reassure Oedipus in lines 842-858? |She says that Laius was killed by a group of men, and that her son died long ago so the sayings could not be true. || |858-860|28. What request does Oedipus make in lines 858-860? |He requests to see the peasant/witness. || Section|Line(s) |Questions|Reader’s Commentary||

Second Stasimon|863-910|29. What wish does the Chorus express in the first stanza, lines 863-872? |They pray that “fate still finds me worthy”. || |897-910|What concern does the Chorus express in the fourth stanza, lines 897-910? |They worry that the prophecies will fail to be fulfilled. || Third Episode|911-1085|30. Whom is Jocasta praying to in lines 911-923? |She is praying to Apollo. || |924-963|31. What news is delivered to Oedipus in lines 924-963? What is his reaction to the Messenger’s news? (964-972)? What is Jocasta’s reaction (977-983)? The messenger tells them Oedipus’ father has died. Jocasta says not to worship Apollo because he was wrong about the prophecies. Jocasta says that she already foretold of this. || |1008-1046|32. What additional information does the Messenger provide, lines 1008-1046? |The messenger tells him that Polybus is not his real father, and that Oedipus was found with his ankles tied together. || |1056-1075 1076-1079|33. Why does Jocasta ask Oedipus to refrain from seeking out the Herdsman then leave, lines 1056-1075? How does Oedipus view Jocasta’s erratic behavior?

Refer to lines 1076-1079. |Jocasta knows that Oedipus is her son, and she doesn’t want him to find out. Oedipus makes his own decision, making Jocasta vow to never speak again. Oedipus thinks Jocasta is ashamed of him. || ||34. Discuss the irony surrounding the Messenger’s arrival immediately after Jocasta’s prayer. Is he truly delivering good news? |The messenger is not truly delivering good news; it’s actually news that will hurt both Jocasta and Oedipus. Also, the irony is she her prayer is immediately answered by the messenger’s arrival. | Third Stasimon|1086-1109|35. Whom does the Chorus identify as parents to Oedipus? Refer to lines 1098-1101. |The chorus identifies immortal gods as Oedipus’ parents. || Fourth Episode|1110-1185|36. Whom was the Herdsman employed with? Why is he reluctant to answer questions from Oedipus, lines 1117-1181? |The herdsman was employed with Laius. He’s doesn’t want to answer because he knows he and Oedipus will suffer. || Section|Line(s) |Questions|Reader’s Commentary|| Fourth Stasimon|1186-1222|37. What general comment does the Chorus offer based on Oedipus’s plight?

Refer to lines 1186-1196. |They say that “no mortal man is ever blessed”. They pity Oedipus. || |1214-1215|38. What horrific fact concerning Oedipus’s marriage to Jocasta does the Chorus identify in lines 1214 and 1215? |It says that Oedipus and Jocasta are in fact mother and son. || Exodos|1223 to the end|39. What news does the second Messenger announce in lines 1235-1279? |They say that Jocasta killed herself. || |1290-1291|40. Discuss the symbolism of Oedipus’s self-blinding. What does Oedipus intend to do, lines 1290-1291? What prompts these actions? Oedipus has put a curse on himself, he wishes to be banished to sat he doesn’t bare the curse on to the house. || |1329-1331|41. In the next section of the Exodos, Oedipus joins the Chorus in lamenting his fate. Whom does Oedipus blame in lines 1329-1331? |He blames Apollo. || |1369-1385|42. What reasons does Oedipus provide for his self-blinding in lines 1369-1385? |He couldn’t bear to see his father and mother in Hades, or look at his children. || |1436-1467|43. What requests does Oedipus make of Creon? Refer to lines 1436-1467. |He wants Creon to cast him out where no other person will see him. | |1489-1502|44. Describe the vision Oedipus has for his daughters’ future in lines 1489-1502. |Oedipus thinks his children will be unmarried, and barren for the rest of their lives. || |1524-1530|45. What moral lesson does the Chorus derive from Oedipus’s life? Refer to lines 1524-1530. |“We cannot call a mortal being happy before he’s passed beyond life free from pain. ” You can’t call a person happy until they’ve died. || *Adapted from The Classical Origins of Western Culture Study Guide, Copyright © 1986 by Brooklyn College, The City University of New York All rights reserved. Published 1986.

Free Essays

Oedipus Rex Cosmic Trial

Caitlin Lacy AP English Literature 11/12/12 Persuasive Essay Everything happens for a reason. You were born for a reason, there’s a reason you got an F on your math quiz. Everything happens for a reason. Most of the time the reason for something bad happening might not be very clear to you, but it’s there. Everything that happens to you happens because it all leads up to your ultimate fate, you can’t change your fate because for one, you probably don’t know what it is, but if you happened to know, everything you do to prevent it will eventually lead up to it.

Think back to why you got an F on your math quiz, you didn’t study at all. So, you get your quiz back and your teacher asks you to stay after class, after her lecture you walk out of class late and you bump into a guy, long story short, he’s your soul mate and fifteen years later you’re happily married. Imagine if you had studied. It was fate, you weren’t supposed to study. No one is to blame for Laius’s death, not even Oedipus, it was fate, and fate can’t be avoided.

Before reading the play, we’re already aware of Oedipus’s story. We know what his ultimate fate is, so we know what that all of Oedipus’s actions led up to his ultimate fate. One of the first clues we are given is also one of the biggest clues proving that fate can’t be changed. King Laius didn’t kill Oedipus himself, he ordered the shepherd to do it for him. There was no way for Laius to know whether the shepherd would kill the infant or not because he wasn’t present.

Naturally, the shepherd didn’t kill Oedipus because Oedipus was just an infant, and a person with a heart probably wouldn’t kill an infant just because, the shepherd then proceeded to give Oedipus to a messenger who then took the baby to Corinth where Oedipus was adopted by the king and queen. This leads to another clue, which is the fact that Oedipus was raised to believe that the king and queen of Corinth were his biological parents. Had he known they were his adoptive parents he most likely wouldn’t have gone to the oracle to Apollo at Delphi.

The very fact that he went to see the oracle is just another example of fate prevailing. Once Oedipus learned his fate he left Corinth because he obviously didn’t want the prophecy to come true. Fate is the strongest theme in the story, another reason why fate is to blame for King Laius’s death. He had to be killed by his son no matter what; every single action in the play shows that. From the very beginning there was a way around this terrible fate, but Laius lost the chance when he ordered someone else to do his dirty work for him.

Also, Oedipus was a baby at the time so he had no control over what was happening to him, and it would also be ridiculous for Oedipus to be blamed for his father’s death, because he was destined to fulfill this prophecy from before he was even born. If there was no prophecy, and Oedipus had killed his father, then he could be blamed, but there is too much evidence suggesting otherwise. From the way everything plays out you can see that fate is the cause of the whole ordeal. The minute Oedipus found out what he was destined for, he fled Corinth, because, as mentioned before, he believed that his adoptive parents were his biological parents.

If you found out that you were destined for something as terrible was what Oedipus was destined for, you’d probably leave home too. No one who is sane wants to marry their mother and kill their father, Oedipus found out and tried to prevent this from happening, one might argue that his efforts to prevent his fate led to his fate, which is true, but he had no way of knowing that among the men he killed in the road that one of them was his father, and that the woman he married was his mother. “Now my curse on the murderer.

Whoever he is, a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step-“ Oedipus, 280-283. Although this quote is extremely ironic, it shows that Oedipus has no idea he killed his father, and also that he believes that the act was wrong, and that the murderer needs to be punished. We also know that Oedipus murdered his father and his father’s men at a triple crossroad, there were two other roads for Oedipus to follow after killing the men, but for some reason, fate, it happened to be the road that led to Thebes.

Fate, once again. Oedipus, once again, had no way of knowing that he had chosen the path to Thebes, it was just supposed to be that way. At the time of Oedipus’s arrival in Thebes, there was a sphinx keeping people out of the city, anyone who guessed the sphinx’s riddle incorrectly was devoured. Also, Oedipus had already fulfilled half of the prophecy, which meant that he was going to answer the riddle correctly because he had to get to Thebes to be able to wed Jocasta.

Because Oedipus saved Thebes, and because the king was mysteriously murdered, it was custom for Oedipus to marry the widowed queen, it had always been that way and there was no reason for Oedipus to reject her, he had no idea that he was about to marry and have kids with his mother. By this time, the prophecy was then fulfilled, and no one had any idea about it. The prophecy ended here. There wasn’t anything anyone could do anymore. Many years passed and Oedipus came to be one of the greatest kings Thebes had ever seen.

Until the city of Thebes fell under a terrible plague, and everything Oedipus knew went downhill from there. When Oedipus was informed that finding Laius’s murderer would help bring happiness back to Thebes, he was set on it, because he was a good king. “OEDIPUS: From whom of these our townsmen, and what house? ?SHEPHERD: Forbear for God’s sake, master, ask no more. ?OEDIPUS: If I must question thee again, thou’rt lost. (1164-1167)” This exchange between Oedipus and the shepherd shows that Oedipus will stop at nothing to save his people and find the murderer.

It wasn’t fate that led Oedipus to the truth, it was his own determination. He was completely blind to the truth, but when he figured out that all the clues pointed to him, he did something that most people wouldn’t do, he punished himself, he kept his word that Laius’s murderer would suffer, and Laius’s murderer did suffer indeed. He begged Creon to exile him; he gouged his own eyes out. Oedipus might be the one to blame for uncovering the truth, but he definitely isn’t the one to blame for killing Laius, it was set in stone for him, and there was no way around that.

Free Essays

Freud’s Interpretation of Sophicles’ Oedipus Tyrannus Is Ridiculous

“Freud’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus is ridiculous. ” Discuss This essay will discuss the interpretation of Oedipus Tyrannus by Freud and whether his interpretation holds any weight in using it to aid his own theory, the Oedipus complex, or whether it was a ridiculous reading of the play itself. Freud’s theory will be explored first, before moving on to look at the interpretation itself. This will give a strong sense of how the Oedipus complex comes about in a young child and help in the discussion as to whether Oedipus may have been fulfilling this unconscious desire.

The discussion will also touch upon Freud’s belief that it is his own theory that explains the reason for the play’s long-lasting success. Sigmund Freud is the father of a branch of psychology that he named psychoanalysis, as well as having a tremendous influence in how modern psychology has developed since the turn of the 20th Century. Freud was born on May 6th 1856. The first reference to Freud having used Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus to help strengthen his theory of the Oedipus complex, which is explained below, and also the first mention of the Oedipus complex altogether comes in 1900 in Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.

However, in The Interpretation of Dreams the theory is clearly only just beginning to be devised by Freud as it is not until 1910 that the term ‘Oedipus compex’ is first used. To be able to understand Freud’s interpretation of Oedipus Tyrannus it is vital to grasp what the Oedipus complex actually refers to. Before discussing the Oedipus complex it is important to discuss the earlier psychosexual development of a child, which leads into the development of the Oedipus complex. The first two stages, or the ‘pregenital’ stages, begin very early in life.

The first is the oral stage, unsurprisingly, as infants first derive sexual pleasure primarily through the mouth; such as tasting, sucking, and making sounds. This stage is followed by the anal stage, in which the infant has discovered the anus. This stage is focused on the control of the self and gives the infant the first opportunity to gain a sense of independence and achievement through learning to control the bowel and bladder. With the next stage, the phallic stage, the Oedipus complex tarts becomes apparent. It is during this time that the infant discovers the difference between a boy and girl, the boy begins to see the father as a rival for his mother’s affections, but also develops a fear of the father becoming a rival for the mother’s affections. Alongside these developments the child finds the genital area as an erogenous zone. The ‘castration complex’ can develop throughout this period and it is important to think of the male and female child as, ‘with penis’ or ‘castrated’, relatively.

Freud believed that the male child saw the female child as a castrated boy and thus the result of, what seemed to be common in the turn of the century, the threat of parents telling young boys to stop playing with their genitals or they will be cut off. The young boy now believes that the father becomes a real threat to the affections for his mother. Between the age of four and five, Freud believed that the young child develops sexual feelings for his mother, and alongside this wants to have complete possession of her and thus hostile feelings develop towards the father.

However, the possibility of castration that the young boy has understood to be seen in the naked girl, poses a horrific possibility to the boy. With the loss of his penis at stake, as in the young boy’s mind this is the form of retaliation the father will take to any hostile action from the child, the boy focuses his attention towards other feminine sources for sexual satisfaction. This is the Oedipus complex laid out as unimpeded development of the young boy and variations to this development through childhood is how Freud can explain ‘abnormal’ sexual behavior.

For the young girl the Oedipus complex follows a different path once the difference between boy and girl has been realised. The lack of a penis is seen, through the young girl’s eyes, as the fault of her mother, because of this the girl moves away from the need to possess the mother and begins to long for the father in a similarly sexual manner and the wish for him to impregnate her. It is the resulting child that Freud imagines can ‘cure’ the girl of her ‘penis envy’ seeing the baby as a replacement for the missing organ.

For Freud however the female never really surpasses this stage of penis envy. With Freud’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus it is the male side of the Oedipus complex that is discussed. It is obvious that Oedipus indeed performs the actions that one would attribute to the desires of the Oedipus complex being fulfilled: The murder of his father and the sexual union with his mother. Freud’s interpretation, however, seems to conveniently ignore certain aspects of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, which upon inspection provide obstacles for Freud’s theory to navigate.

In the development of his theory on the Oedipus complex, Freud undertook a great deal of self analysis and as such it is questionable as to how generalised his thoughts can be used to understand the human development. Freud had seen the play Oedipus Tyrannus and; “saw himself in a very concrete sense as Oedipus. ” With this in mind Freud’s interpretation of Oedipus Tyrannus is not lessened in itself, but this does have bearings on his interpretation as proof of the Oedipus complex. Tragedy, as in all art forms, is open to interpretation no matter what the original artist intended as the meaning.

For Freud, Oedipus represents the fulfilment of the early sexual desires towards the mother and the aggressive behaviour towards the father. However, that Oedipus does not know that these two people are his biological parents seems to belittle Freud’s use of Oedipus as an exemplum for his theory. Freud’s use of Oedipus is meant to show that the Oedipus complex “transcends time and place. ” That Oedipus has a lack of knowledge of his true parents doesn’t seem to affect Freud in his use of Oedipus in this way. In my opinion, however, this use is severely at odds to the point that Freud attempts to make.

A child, according to the Oedipus complex, that grew up with non-biological parents should have had little to no effect upon the early stages that lead to the development of the Oedipus complex, thus little to no effect upon the complex itself. Oedipus was sent away as an infant to be killed, but instead grew up with different parents. This, therefore, gives no reason to think that the idea that Oedipus sleeping with his biological mother and killing his biological father is the Oedipus complex realising itself within Oedipus.

The interpretation by Freud seems to have used the popularity of Oedipus Tyrannus, at the time he was developing his theory, to help in popularising and explaining the Oedipus complex. Although Freud himself seems to have believed that Oedipus was, indeed, a good example of his theory: Broken down simply his argument runs, 1. There is a universal psychological conflict (Oedipus complex), as I have discovered in my clinical experience. 2. This is confirmed by a drama which has universal effectiveness. 3.

Why this drama is universally effective can only be understood if my hypothesis is correct. This reference to why the drama is universally effective is Freud’s belief that the play in itself is not that challenging a concept. According to Freud it is only if his theory is correct that the ability of Oedipus Tyrannus to have had the “universal power to move” at all. This scientific sounding argument leaves little option for Freud to be wrong, as the play has indeed enjoyed thousands of years of success.

This, however, is according to Freud. Freud’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus seems to continually leave absolutely no room for a lack of the Oedipus complex being present. Throughout Freud seems to have missed what many people miss in Oedipus Tyrannus, Some readers of the Oedipus Rex have told me that they find its atmosphere stifling and oppressive: they miss the tragic exaltation that one gets from Antigone or the Prometheus Vinctus. They miss the courage of Oedipus, he knows of his fate and yet he carries on.

His blinding represents the fumbling of humanity for the truth in the world and it is in this strength portrayed Oedipus that one can gain the tragic exaltation normally expected from a Tragedy. Freud’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus cannot be said to be an outright ridiculous interpretation. It is clear to see, when looking at the Oedipus complex, that Oedipus fulfils the exact fantasy of the young ‘Freudian’ boy. The Killing of his father and having a sexual relationship with his mother, however, when the interpretation is looked at closely it is obvious to see that there are clear flaws.

The process of the development of the Oedipus complex cannot occur properly if one of the parents is absent from childhood, let alone both of them. Oedipus fulfils the fantasy of the young boy, but with the ‘wrong’ parents, even though they are his biological parents. The idea that the Oedipus Tyrannus portrays the idea that no matter who, where, or when we exist, the complex is inescapable even if it remains in the subconscious ‘is’ ridiculous. If this was the case then it would have been the king and queen of Corinth that were involved in this play, Oedipus’ adoptive parents.

That Freud felt a great similarity between himself and Oedipus is not ridiculous, in and of itself, it is the belief that his own self-analytical thoughts and the actions of Oedipus are actually similar that brings the interpretation into question. Oedipus acted without knowledge of his true parents, whereas Freud knew his parents and is discussing fantasy from childhood as opposed to actual action. The idea that Freud’s theory provides a reason for Oedipus Tyrannus’ success is definitely ridiculous in nature. Oedipus is the representative of the, albeit tragic, character of perseverance.

He knows his fate yet carries on to find the truth, even after he has blinded himself he does not rest until he has made it to the site where he is prophesied to come to peace. Freud’s interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus has many ridiculous aspects to it, but the use to which Freud uses his interpretation does retain an aspect of credibility. Bibliography * Armstrong, R. H. Oedipus as Evidence: http://www. clas. ufl. edu/ipsa/journal/articles/psyart1999/oedipus/armstr01. htm (1998) * Gay, P the Freud reader (Vintage 1995) * Storr, A. Freud, A very short introduction (Oxford Uni. Press 1989) * Dodds, E. R.

On misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex Ed. E. Segal (Oxford Uni. Press 1983) * Simon, B. And Blass, R. The development and vicissitudes of Freud’s ideas on the Oedipus complex Ed. Neu, J (Cambridge Uni. Press 1991) ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Gay (1995) xxxi [ 2 ]. Gay (1995) 273 [ 3 ]. Storr (1989) 33 [ 4 ]. Storr (1989) 34 [ 5 ]. Simon and Blass (1991) 170 [ 6 ]. Simon and Blass (1991)171 [ 7 ]. Oedipus as Evidence: http://www. clas. ufl. edu/ipsa/journal/articles/psyart1999/oedipus/armstr01. htm (1998) [ 8 ]. Oedipus as Evidence: http://www. clas. ufl. edu/ipsa/journal/articles/psyart1999/oedipus/armstr01. htm

Free Essays

Comparing Oedipus and Prufrock

Everyone has at least one personal flaw that somehow overcomes or defeats them in a certain place in time. In this essay, two characters of completely different fields will be put side by side to compare their own tragic flaws. On one hand, Sophocles’ Oedipus is proud, arrogant and persistent; while on the other hand, Eliot’s Prufrock is self conscious, insecure, and indecisive. While the two characters are complete polar opposites, they also share a devastating similarity: they are paranoid and in fear of their own fate. Oedipus’ personality is clearly conveyed as having excessive pride and determination throughout the play.

He first travels far from Corinth to prevent an oracle’s prediction that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He arrives in Thebes where the people were distressed over the Sphinx’s riddle. Oedipus then sets his mind on solving this riddle in which he succeeds and is awarded the throne to Thebes. This should have been a huge boost of confidence for a man who was worried he would be cursed for the rest of his life. He serves as a loyal King for his people, seeming to want to do the right thing for Thebes, but talks with such a conceited attitude.

In the play, right after receiving news that the preceding king’s killer is residing in Thebes, Oedipus states “Well, I will start afresh and once again make dark things clear. Right worthy the concern of Phoebus, worthy thine too, for the dead; I also, as is meet, will lend my aid to avenge this wrong to Thebes and to the God” (Sophocles). With both assurance and superiority in his voice, Oedipus throws it in Thebes face that he has saved them once before, and will do it again by bringing Laius’ killer to justice. He sets out on finding the person that murdered King Laius and puts all of his energy, pride, and persistence into it.

He acts as a great detective and follows each clue diligently. This helps the play revolve around the question of solving a crime (Rix). By putting together the pieces of the murder mystery, he finally begins to questions himself about his involvement in the assassination and even his own fate. Sophocles’ Oedipus pursues self-knowledge and at the same time resists it because it may connect him with his past (Morgenstern). He eventually finds out that he is indeed his father’s killer and his mother’s husband. Oedipus’ tragic flaws of hubris and determination lead him to blind himself and be exiled just as e said would happen to the murderer if he was found. Unlike Oedipus, the character in T. S. Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is timid, insecure and indecisive. Throughout the poem, Prufrock is faced with a decision to approach a woman he has developed a liking to, or remain looking out a lonely window drowning his self consciousness in an ocean of self doubt. He wants to ask her the overwhelming question, but instead he purposefully avoids the woman by having personal detour conversations with himself about his self image. The entire poem is laced with Prufrock asking himself questions.

He asks “Do I dare disturb the universe? ”(Eliot) as if the whole world will come crashing down if he simply talks to her. He wants to wait for the right time, but in the same thought, he knows his years are running out; he mentions his bald spot and thin arms. Prufrock is so consumed with himself and how others might portray or judge him, that it is paralyzing him from social activities and gatherings. He is going through a mid life crisis that he may have brought on himself by leading an unproductive, bland life and his lack of determination and will to change that life may lead him into his fear of being lonely forever.

Prufrock is essentially intimidated by women or people in general because he is ashamed of his personal appearance and monotony. One side of his personality believes in the possibility of having a relationship but the side of his self doubt and pity shackles him from living the life he is clearly screaming out for (Blythe). Towards the end of the poem, he realizes that he will never summon up the courage to talk to the person he admires. He gives up on himself and becomes aware that he has wasted his life asking himself if he should do the things he wanted to do instead of putting his plans to action.

Where Oedipus is without a doubt expeditious, stern and decisive in his promises, J. Alfred Prufrock is deficient by being obsessed with taking his time, indifferent and unable to make a simple choice even for himself. However both of these characters share a haunting similarity of fearing the realization that their lives have finally come to a particular point they have been attempting to prevent their whole life. Sometimes life presents a person with a deficiency in personality which becomes highlighted in the spotlight while trying to correct that specific trait.

In the Case of Oedipus and Prufrock, their own life flaws are over exaggerated and yet still overcorrected, in which they remain troubled with the things they hate about themselves. The two characters failed to avert a lingering curse which had been following them throughout, eventually sealing their fate with their own personal flaws. Works Cited Blithe, Hal and Sweet, Charlie. “Eliot’s THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK. ” The Explicator 62. 2 (2004): 108-110. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. Eliot, T. S. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The Norton Introduction to Literature: Shorter Tenth Edition. Eds. Allison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: Norton, 2010. 1015-1019. Print. Morgenstern, Naomi. “The Oedipus Complex Made Simple. ” University Of Toronto Quarterly 72. 4 (2003): 777-788. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. Rix, Robert W. “Was Oedipus Framed? ” Orbis Litterarium 54. 2 (1999): 134. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. Sophocles. Oedipus the King. The Norton Introduction to Literature: Shorter Tenth Edition. Eds. Allison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: Norton, 2010.

Free Essays

Oedipus the King: A Theme Analysis

Oedipus the King is one of the group of three plays by Sophocles known as the Theban plays since they all relate to the destinies of the Theban family of the Oedipus and his children.  The other two plays of this group are Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus the King relates the story of Oedipus who reached Thebes, having killed on the way an old man with whom he picked a quarrel. The city of Thebes was then suffering terribly because of the monster, the Sphinx. He solved her riddle and citizens of Thebes offered him the kingdom as city is afflicted with the loss of their king, who had been murdered while on a pilgrimage.

So he assumed the power and married the widowed queen. Here the tragedy of Oedipus takes its final course. As city was afflicted with famine, so Delphic oracles were consulted who disclosed that troubles of the city arose from the fact that it is harboring an unclean person, the murderer of late king Laius. Oedipus resolved to get to the bottom of this mystery and punish the wrongdoer. However, he ultimately discovered that the culprit he was seeking was none other than he himself. He blinded himself and went on exile. There are various standpoints for looking at the theme of the play.

It may be considered as a play enacting the theme of insecurity and illusoriness of human happiness. Or the theme may be that of the inadequacy of human intelligence in resolving the riddles of destiny. The identification of themes in Oedipus differs from reader to reader and from critic to critic. I think that Sophocles wanted to convey that a man is plunged from prosperity and power to ruin ands ignominy due to his own human failings.  It was something[1] in his character that brought his tragedy. Anything foreign to his own character only augmented the tragic proceedings but it was only his own disposition that made him a prey to disgrace. Dodds is of the view, “If Oedipus is the innocent victim of a doom which he cannot avoid, does this not reduce him to a mere flaw puppet?” Whereas Knox (1984) is of the view that Oedipus’ tragedy takes place due to tragic flaw[s] and fate as no part to play in Oedious Rex.

Distinguished Professor Butcher has identified four possible ranges of human failings in Oedipus. The foremost of these connotations is an error due to unavoidable ignorance of circumstances whereas an error caused by unawareness of conditions that might have been identified and for that reason to some extent morally blameworthy The third range is “A fault or error where the act is conscious and intentional, but not deliberate. Such acts are committed in anger or passion.” (313) Where as fourth one is “A fault of character distinct, on the one hand, from an isolated error, and, on the other, from the vice which has its seat in the depraved will…a flaw of character that is not tainted with a vicious purpose.” (315)

The crucial point is that whether Sophocles wants us to think that Oedipus has basically unsound character. One way of deciding this question is to examine what other characters in the play say about Oedipus. The only result that we can arrive at in this way is that Sophocles intends us to consider Oedipus an essentially noble person. In the opening scene of the play, the priest of Zeus refers to him as the greatest and noblest of men and the divinely inspired savior who saved Thebes from being destroyed by the Sphinx. The Chorus also considers him to be noble and virtuous. They refuse to believe in Tireseas accusations of him. When catastrophe befalls Oedipus, not a single character in the play justifies it as a doom which has deservedly overtaken Oedipus. (Dodds, p.39) So there were certain other tragic flaws that were acting behind the curtain to bring about Oedipus tragedy. Let us examine those.

Oedipus seems to be obsessed with his own intelligence and this leads him to very unfortunate and uncomfortable situations. This human weakness[2] of Oedipus laps over with his pride as he is extremely proud of the fact that he was able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx which had proved too much for any other person. He thinks that Gods has capacitated him with intelligence and wisdom to solve riddle that the Thebes is afflicted with. Oedipus even taunts Tireseas on his inability in solving the Sphinx’s riddle. He says;

And where were you, when the Dog-faced Witch was here?

Have you any word of deliverance then for our people?

There was a riddle too deep for common wits;

A seer should have answered it, but answer there came none

From you…..   (12-16)

After calling the soothsayer false prophet, Oedipus boasts of his own skill in having solved the puzzled which proved too much for the blind seer;

Until I came—I, ignorant Oedipus, came—

And stopped the riddler’s mouth, guessing he truth

By mother-wit, not bird-lore.   (17-19)

So he describes Tireseas predictive cautions as the whims of a fanatic and opposes the seer’s prophecy with arguments of his own. Self-confidence and pride in his own wisdom is an outstanding feature of his character that also brings his tragedy. Here Oedipus also fulfills the traits of Aristotelian tragic hero as he possesses a noble tragic flaw. The man who sets out on his new task by sending first for the venerable seer is not lacking in pious reverence; but we also observe that Oedipus manifests unrestrained arrogance in his own intellectual achievement. No seer found the solution, this is Oedipus boast; no bird, no god revealed it to him, he “the utterly ignorant” had to come on his own and hit the mark by his own wit. This is a justified pride but it amounts too much. This pride and self-confidence induce Oedipus to despise prophecy and feel almost superior to the gods. He tell the people who pray for deliverance from pathos and miseries they are afflicted with if they listen to and follow his advice in order to get a remedy.

Lastly his unrelenting pursuit of the truth is demonstrated when he believes he is the murderer and that Polybus was not his father, yet he continues with his search with the statement, “I must pursue this trail to the end,”(p.55).  These characteristics were only fuel to the fire and added to the pride created a blaze that consumed him. Bernard Knox eulogizes Oedipus’ “dedication to truth, whatever the cost” (p.117)

Another characteristics of his character that contributes toward his tragedy is Oedipus’ longing for thoroughness. His inquisitive nature is not content with anything which is either half-hearted or incomplete. Nor can he brook any delay. He damns that the direction of the oracle should be given effect at once. As before, Oedipus speaks on the basis of the workings of his own mental faculties that has been tested time and again and have proved their intelligence.

It can be said that the tragedy of Oedipus is the result more of his good qualities than his bad ones. It is his love for Thebes which makes him send Creon to Delphi to consult the Oracles. It is the same care for his subjects who make him proclaim a ban and a curse on the murderer of Laius. It is his absolute honesty which makes him include even himself within the curse and the punishment. He replies by saying “Sick as you are, not one is sick as I, each of you suffers in himself…but my spirit Groans for the city, for myself, for you”. (62-62)

He is angry with Tireseas because he is unable to tolerate the fact that  although the prophet says that he know who the murderer of Laius is , he refuses top give the information to the king. His rage and rashness is due to the fact that the masses are suffering and Tireseas does not provide the murderer’s name. Oedipus cannot but regard this as a clear manifestation of the seer’s disloyalty to his city.

To Oedipus the discovery of truth is more important than his own good and safety. Even when it seems that the investigation that he is carrying on will not produce any result which will be him, he decides to carry on with it. He is so honest with himself that he inflicts the punishment of self-blinding and banishment from the city of Thebes.

So his moral goodness also seems as a human failing that brings his ruin.

There is another important human failing that contribute toward his tragedy i.e. his intellectual myopia. He has a limited vision and is unable to assess the situations in a right perspective. Robert L. Kane (1975) puts this preposition in this way; “He[Oedipus] was the victim of an optical illusion”. (p. 196) The juxtaposition between “outward magnificence and inward blindness of Oedipus and the outward blindness and inward sight of the prophet” (Kirkwood, p. 130) depicts two types of blindness i.e. physical and intellectual. One is related to physical sight whereas the other, the most pernicious type of blindness, pertains to insight. Tiresias is physically blind but whereas Oedipus is blind intellectually. This intellectual blindness of Oedipus also contributes greatly to lead him to his tragic destination.

Oedipus possesses faultless physical vision throughout play except in the end but he remains blind to the reality regarding himself. At one point in the play, he has the ability to see but he is not willing to do so. He intellectual vision comes with his physical loss of sight but he is unable to cast away the psychological “slings and arrows” and mental sufferings that intellectual blindness has afflicted on him. So his blindness, both intellectual at the start of the play and physical at the end of the day, is the worst.

Blindness interweaves with the main plot from the very start of the play when Oedipus says, “I would be blind to misery not to pity my people kneeling at my feet. (14)” It manifest that he refers to blindness that if h will not recognize the distress of his people. This shows his physical sight but intellectual blindness as he himself was the cause of those afflictions.  Later he acknowledges that although Tiresias is physically blind but has prophetic power when he says, “Blind as you are, you can feel all the more what sickness haunts our city. (344)”. Tiresias response refers to the gravity of Oedipus’ inability to see his future. He says, “How terrible – to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees! (359)”

Later on Oedipus denounces his own acknowledgement of Tiresias as a seer and abuses him by saying, “You’ve lost your power, stone-blind, stone-deaf – senses, eyes blind as stone!(423)” and “Blind, lost in the night, endless night that nursed you! You can’t hurt me or anyone else who sees the light – you can never touch me. (425)”. It is illustrated that it is Oedipus who is blind intellectually as he is not willing to comprehend the situation and to understand the truth. In retort to his slur, Tiresias refers to worst form of blindness that Oedipus is suffering. He says, “You with your precious eyes, you’re blind to the corruption of your life, to the house you live in, those who live with – who are your parents? (470)” and foretell, “Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich, he will grope his way toward a foreign soil, a stick tapping before him step by step. (517)”.

These supportive texts clearly manifest that Oedipus was afflicted with severe intellectual myopia as he was unable t see the truth that was pervasive all around him. Actually he was unwilling to see truth around him, prior to his physical blindness and afterwards as he blinds himself not to observe the things around him. His is the most insidious form of blindness.

Oedipus can be held guilty due to another human flaw—his inability to take appropriate preventive measures. It is said that he fails to take logical steps and precaution s which would have saved him from committing the crimes.

 “Could not Oedipus…have escaped his doom if he had been more careful? Knowing that he was in danger of committing parricide and incest, would not really a prudent man have avoided quarrelling, even in self-defense and also love-relations with women older than himself?… real life I suppose he might. But we not entitled to blame Oedipus either for carelessness failing to compile a hand list or lack of self-control in failing to obey its injunctions.”   (Dodds, p.40)

Oedipus has necessary human failings of anger and rashness. He rashly jumps into conclusions. Choragos points this out in scene II after a long speech by Creon who tries o remove the ill-fed and hastily formed suspicions of Oedipus about Creon. They say, “Judgments too quickly formed are dangerous” (II, 101)

But Oedipus justifies this, arguing that ruler have to take quick decision. He says later on, “But is he not quick in his duplicity? / And shall I not be quick to parry him?” (II, 102-103) Later at the conclusion of scene II, Creon indicates the same fault in his character by saying, “Ugly in yielding, as you were ugly in rage! / Nature like yours chiefly torments themselves.” (II, 151-152) It is this rashness that makes to not merely suspect Creon but accuse him and even declares that he deserves the sentence of death. The rashness can be observed in his treatment of Tireseas. Oedipus does not lack analytical thinking but his rashness does permit him to weigh up the situation rightly and he makes hasty decision. In retrospect we see that rashness of Oedipus has something to do with the murder Laius at the hands of Oedipus. The self-blinding also is an act of rashness although Oedipus tries to give several arguments in favor of it.

His bad temperament is demonstrated in the squabble between Teiresias and himself, where Teiresias utter the prophetic truth and Oedipus retorts, “Do you think you can say such things with impunity?” and afterward attributes him as a “Shameless and brainless, sightless, senseless sot!”(p.36). His character is further marked with suspicion about Creon to whom he considers as a conspirator. Kirkwood is of the view that “The Creon he [Oedipus] is battling is a figment of his imagination” (Kirkwood, 1958. p. 132) and nothing else. He says with reference his tête-à-tête with Tiresaeas, “Creon! Was this trick his, then, if not yours?” So here his imagination works together with anger and rashness.

All the above-mentioned manifestations of tragic flaw, their supported arguments and views of the critics clearly proves the thesis that Oedipus unavoidable ignorance was the major factor of his tragedy because he was unable to locate that the man whom he assaulted on the crossroads to Thebes was his father. Secondly, if he would not have been occupied by his aspirations, he would have possibly explored the horror of his deed and could have avoided the additional tricky situations by not marrying his mother. Thirdly, his “conscious and intentional” act includes his decision to “bring what is dark to light” (133).

Furthermore, as result to revelation of Tireseas, he charges Creon with conspiracy and murder and denounces Tireases as an accessory. Although these actions were intentional and bring Oedipus to tragic end but have a clear background that illustrate that these actions were not “deliberate”. Fourthly, all these errors originate from a hasty and obstinate temperament, unjustified anger and excessive pride that compel him to an energized inquisitiveness. With the development of the plot, all these ascriptions of his character jumps back with amplified force on his head that finally culminates at his tragedy. Knox (1957) sums up in this way;

“the actions of Oedipus that produce the catastrophe stem from all sides of his character; no one particular action is more essential than any other; they are all essential and they involve not any one trait of character which might be designated a hamartia but the character of Oedipus as a whole” (31).

Here I want to point out that all these human failings were not innate or inborn but he developed these as his habitual formations. It was inculcated in his spirit so that it became a part of his natural disposition. If it were innate then he could not be blamed for his downfall. It was human failings rather than the destiny that brought his tragedy. So Sophocles has successfully put across that a man is plunged from prosperity and power to ruin ands ignominy due to his own human failings.


Bloom, Harold. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. : New York : Chelsea House Publishers. 1988.
Butcher, S.H. Aritotle’s theory of Poetry and Fine Arts. Hell and Wang: New York. 1961.

Dodds, E. R. On Misunderstanding the Oedipus. Greece & Rome. Vo. 13. No. 1. (Apr.

1966). Pp. 37-49.

Cook, Albert Spaulding. Oedipus Rex, a mirror for Greek drama. Prospect Heights, Ill. :
Waveland Press.1982.
Gould, Thomas. Greek tragedy. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press.
Gould, Thomas. Oedipus the King: A Translation with Commentary. Englewood Cliffs.
Kane, Robert L. Prophecy and Perception in the Oedipus Rex. Transaction of the

American Philological Association. Vol. 105 (1975). pp. 189-208.

Kirkwood, G.M. A study of Sophoclean drama. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University Press.
Knox, Bernard. Oedipus at Thebes. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957.
Knox, Bernard. Introduction to The Three Theban Plays. New York & London: Penguin


O’ Brien, John M. Twentieth century interpretations of Oedipus Rex; a collection of
critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall. 1968

[1] Moral flaw, habitual formations, behavioral defect etc.
[2] in any other context, pride in one’s intelligence cannot not a human weakness but course of the play depicts clearly that in Oedipus the King it was a human weakness.

Free Essays

Oedipus/Antigone Response

Annie February 19, 2013 Oedipus / Antigone Response 1. What factors contributed to Antigone’s downfall, and does the end of the play satisfy the audience’s demands for justice? There are different factors that contribute to the downfall of Antigone. Firstly, the fact that two of her brothers have been fighting to death for the throne has had a negative impact on her life. She has lost both of her brothers at the same time. Secondly, Antigone believed that her decision was following divine justice. For example, she once said to Creon “Your order was outrageous. And lastly, she has been arrested and put into a cave for following her sense of justice has led to the downfall of Antigone. Despite the fact that Creon has taken back his words and fix what he did, everyone has died and hence, the audience’s demand for justice is not satisfied. 2. Referring to at least three tragic elements, determine whether Creon or Antigone is the more tragic hero(ine). According to “Once upon a Greek stage”, we can determine that Creon is definitely the more tragic hero than Antigone via some elements: hamartia, hubris and catharsis.

First, hamartia is basically when Creon suffered greatly because of his actions. That caused the lost of his family and the support of his country. Next, the tragedy concept of hubris is largely demonstrated through Creon. For instance, as the king of Thebes, the people all looked to him for the answer. This made him believed that he was always right and everything had to go in the way he wanted to: “I am King of Thebes, Antigone. I have a duty as a monarch. Moreover, he also believed that his decision was right in the punishing of Antigone, despite that fact that she was engaged to Haemon, Creon’s son. “A broken law is a broken law, and lawbreakers must be punished. Antigone will be no exception. ” In this case, his sense of pride was the tragic flaw that led him to his downfall. At the end, Creon finally realized that his pride has brought everything down, and also was the cause of his family’s death. Comparing to Antigone, in the end of the story, she still did not realize her faults and thought everything she did was following divine justice.

About Creon, he was able to realize his mistakes at least, and this showed the tragedy of catharsis. The moment when he lost his wife and his son, it responded the sense of pity. Not only that, the sense of divine justice performed when he announced burying Polynices. Eventually, the conflict of the play developed him to be the more tragic hero than Antigone. 3. What universal truth is discussed within the play “Once upon a Greek stage”, and what implications result from this message? The play “once upon a Greek stage” contains a couple of universal truths.

The fight between two blood brothers for the throne points out that family may not always support each other. Furthermore, Creon, uncle of Antigone, has acted cruelly to Antigone and Polynices; once again justify the truth above. Both Polynices and Eteocles have done wrong but only Eteocles was buried. It points out the universal truth that life is not always fair. It implies that sometimes, you might not get what you deserved, and that luck plays a vital role in life. In conclusion, “Drama is a fine way of teaching a universal truth. ” – Aristotle.

Free Essays

The Real Tragedy of Oedipus the King Is That of All Humanity

the real tragedy of oedipus is that of all humanity: we cannot escape our destiny. The greatest tragedy of Oedipus is that as human we cannot escape our destiny. This is shown in the play, ‘Oedipus the king’ by Sophocles. The main character, Oedipus is caught in the problem of fate and destiny. Oedipus, as the king is in a position of power. In this position he becomes quite superior and proud of himself, this becomes a tragic flaw. Ironically, many years before the play is set, Oedipus tries to escape his fate.

It is ironic because in doing this he ends up running straight towards it. The play is made to make us understand that as humans we are powerless against death, and it is true that we are born to die. Firstly, in the play it is ironic that Oedipus tries to run away from his destiny but ends up running straight towards it. When he is younger he hears from a oracle that he is doomed to ‘kill is father and marry his mother’. Thinking that the oracle is referring to Polybus and Merope he flees towards Thebes to try to escape his ‘destiny’.

It is ironic that while fleeing what he believes is his fate, he runs straight toward it. On page 205 Oedipus quotes the oracle saying, ‘you are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see- you will kill your father, the one who gave you life! ’ Oedipus then says, ‘I heard all that and ran. I abandoned Corinth, from that day I gauged its landfall only by the stars, running, always running toward some place where I would never see the shame of all those oracle come true. This quote perfectly captures the idea of Oedipus not running away from his fate but straight towards it. The audience experiences dramatic irony in this scene as they know something that the characters do not. In the play, this is a point of mimesis for the characters, but also the audience, when they realise that Oedipus made a great fault, in running from Corinth. The repetitive idea of Oedipus ‘running’ from where he believes is a cursed place for him, to the place where the tragedy will unravel with paucity, is evocative and makes our pathos toward Oedipus greater.

The ironic idea of Oedipus running ‘towards’ his fate rather than away, proves the point that as humans our greatest tragedy is the fact that we cannot escape our destiny. Secondly, as humans we are very proud and do not like to be taken down from the pedestal we put ourselves on. This is true also for Oedipus, where his hubris or his pride, forbids him from believing that he is the one responsible for the plague. In this way his hubris becomes his hamartia and he cannot believe it is his fault until the moment of cognizance a couple of pages later.

An example of Oedipus showing his hubris is when Tiresias reveals that he is the murder and Oedipus replies with a threat, ‘that obscenity, twice, by god, you’ll pay’. Oedipus’ pride gets in the way of him acknowledging that he is not only the protagonist but also the antagonist. He is unable to recognize the truth in Tiresias’ words. This is once again dramatic irony to the audience in which they are aware of Oedipus’ guiltiness, but he is not. Another example of his pride getting in the way, is when instead of accepting the blame he decides that Creon has planned his downfall, in a way to throw him off his throne.

Oedipus says, ‘Creon! Is this his conspiracy or yours? ’, to which Tiresias replies, ‘Creon is not your downfall, no, you are your own. ’ Even after both of these occurrences, Oedipus’ hubris stops him from realising the facts. This is another reason for the fact that as humans we are unable to escape our destiny, because of the pride and superiority that we hold for ourselves In conclusion, it is true that as humans we are unable to escape our destiny.

This is shown in Sophocles famous play, ‘Oedipus the King’. First of all because even though Oedipus tries to outrun his fate, he ends up running straight towards it. This is shown from the way he flees Corinth from his supposed ‘parents’ to Thebes where his biological parents are. It is also shown in humans pride and arrogance that we hold ourselves to. This is shown in Oedipus through his ignorance to the facts. From this we are able to see that we cannot escape destiny as humans.

Free Essays

Oedipus Rex Pgs. 159 – 198

Oedipus Rex pgs. 159 – 198 a. Characters The major characters are Oedipus, Creon, and Tiresias. Oedipus, the king of Thebes, is completely stubborn. He doesn’t want to listen to Creon or Tiresias about the truth of who he is. Creon, Oedipus’s brother-in-law, is businesslike. When he brings the news from the oracle, he suggests that they should go into a more private place to talk. He also makes a lot of deals to reason with Oedipus’s rage towards him. Tiresias, the blind prophet, is secretive. He doesn’t tell Oedipus his knowledge at first, keeping the truth away from Oedipus. . Events The first event is when Oedipus and the priest are talking. I think this event is included because it signifies how much the city relies on Oedipus. Since he stopped the plague once, they believe he can stop it again, which shows their faith in their king. When Tiresias is trying to tell Oedipus that he is the cause of the plague, Oedipus snaps back, not believing a single word. I think this shows that Oedipus really doesn’t know how his past connects to the present problems. Also, we get a better insight on Oedipus as a person. . COG Blindness is a big idea throughout the reading. Tiresias is literally blind in his eyes, which allows him to “feel all the more what sickness haunts [their] city,” (l. 342 – 343). Oedipus is also blind. Not literally blind like Tiresias, but mentally blind to “the corruption of [his] life,” (471). Truth is another big idea in this section. Throughout this reading, the characters are constantly trying to tell the truth apart from the lies. Oedipus doesn’t think that Creon and Tiresias are being truthful with the prophecy.

Oedipus doesn’t seem to know the truth about his real parents, which is causing him to deny the truth of the prophecy that Creon and Tiresias bring. d. Chorus The chorus is a summary of what happened. Also, the chorus is like the voice of the audience. Near the end of the reading, when the chorus comes in, the chorus and Oedipus seem to have a conversation. The chorus is also trying to convince Oedipus to stop this outrage towards Creon. That reflects the feelings of the audience because we, the audience, feel sympathy for Creon. e. Observation and inference

Observation: Oedipus: “I’ll rid us of this corruption. / Whoever killed the king may decide to kill me too,” (157 – 158). Inference: Oedipus doesn’t make any connection between him saving the city and the story that Creon tells. To save Thebes, Oedipus solved the Sphinx’s riddle and in Creon’s story, the Sphinx was the one who told them to forget about the mystery of the death of the king. Oedipus tells Creon that this killer “may decide to kill [him] too,” (158). This proves that Oedipus has no idea that he is involved in the mystery.