Oedipus: A King Of Multiple Archetypal Meanings, Term Paper

Oedipus: A King of Multiple Archetypal Meanings, as well as Multiple Tragedies "What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?" In answering the question to the Sphinx's riddle with the word 'man,' "Oedipus the King" of Sophocles seals his fate. He will marry the widowed queen of Thebes, having unwittingly dispensed with his father during a roadside brawl. Perhaps because the answer to this riddle so perfectly embodies Oedipus' own struggle, this character's answer has a special poignancy for the reader or viewer of the play. Oedipus began his life crawling on all fours as one of the lowest of babes, retrieved by a shepherd shortly after being abandoned at birth. In the noontime of his life, he was raised high as a king, standing on two legs. Then, after being exposed as a parricide and of having engaged in incest, he was expelled from the city, banished -- a terrible fate for the ancient Greeks -- into the world of the barbarians, hobbled upon a stick, as he came into the world, shamed and blinded and on three legs.

The relationship between Oedipus and the...

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The hero seeks an answer and a reward to set the strange city free. He is on a quest as well -- to avoid his predestined fate to murder his father and marry his mother. Yet Oedipus is not simply considered the archetypal tragic hero of Jungian archetypes. He also becomes the outcast, the reason for all the embodied suffering of the plague-ridden city, in terms of the archetypes he embodies over the course of his lifetime, even though he begins Sophocles' play "Oedipus the King," as the hero. In fact, over the course of his life, Oedipus becomes three common male archetypes. He begins as a scapegoat, cast off from his city as a child who has done nothing wrong, save become the victim of a terrible prophecy. In the noontime of his existence he becomes the questing hero who attempts first successfully with the riddling Sphinx to set the city free and then unsuccessfully to realize his set quest, to set the city free of disease. He only succeeds at his task, and divines who has caused the plague; he becomes the outcast, willingly ostracizing himself from his community…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

"Myths, Dreams, Symbols." http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/archetype.html


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