Tragedy Explored in Oedipus Rex Research Paper

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Nevertheless, it was his curiosity that made him popular and it would only make sense that it would be his downfall as well. This very human aspect of the king allows us to relate to him and a persona level.

The final tragic move in the play occurs as Oedipus chooses to leave his Thebes. His attempt to rid the city of contamination is brave. He realizes his failure and how he was remarkably shortsighted. Truth was nothing but trouble and for all he wanted to see, there was nothing but destruction for every aspect of his life. Oedipus does not lose his sense of fairness in the tragedy and still behaves responsibly. By the end of the drama, he is ready to accept what he has coming or what he thinks he deserves. He accepts responsibility Laios' murder and the condition of Thebes and her people. He tells Creon to exile him as "quickly as may be / to a place where no human voice can ever greet me" (Exodus. 207-8). We may think this judgment is too harsh but Oedipus does not and in his heart of hearts, he wants to go the hills of Kithairon to die. He leaves the care of his children in the hands of Creon before he leaves. These final actions and realizations reveal a new man that audiences must recognize and respect at the very least. Oedipus, with all his arrogance did finally come around to the truth and the journey was one that ruined his life.

The tragic story of Oedipus is gripping and utterly painful, which is why it remains popular today. Oedipus has it all but he begins making decisions that thwart his position in life. He becomes too curious about things and then he becomes too arrogant and full of himself to see how good things actually are in his life. When he begins poking around and needling his wife for more information, he is "tempting fate" because things can only go downhill. Because he chooses to focus on himself and because he believes he must know for that will improve his life, he suffers. The tragedy lies in the fact he had everything he ever wanted and threw it away because he thought he wanted something else. He made the mistake of believing something else or something more would enhance his life and make it better. Aristotle defined tragedy as one that includes a character of great renown that suffers from his own tragic flaw. Sophocles brilliantly lays out the groundwork for this drama in such a way that we cannot help but feel pity for Oedipus as he falls through a downward spiral. This is the real connection with the audience. Oedipus is not a mean man that deserves the harsh punishment he inflicts upon himself. In fact, audiences would probably be more lenient on the man if they had their way. The realization of tragedy is that it happens to all of us and, whether we deserve it or not, it shapes us. Oedipus felt the agony of tragedy and knew what life there was left for him, he could never see.

Works Cited

Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive.

Site Accessed November 15, 2010.

Barranger, Milly. Understanding Plays. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1990. Print.

Hadas, Moses. The Complete Plays of Sophocles. Jebb, Richard, trans. New York: Bantam

Books. 1971. Print.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. An Introduction to Literature. Barnett, Sylvan, ed. Boston: Little,

Brown and Company. 1984. pp. 721-64. Print.

Walton, Michael. "Oedipus the King: Overview." Reference Guide to World Literature. St.

James Press, 1995. Gale Resource Library. Site Accessed November 15, 2010.

Wilson, Edwin and Goldfarb, Alvin. Theater: The Lively Art. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive.

<http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html> Site Accessed November 15, 2010.

Barranger, Milly. Understanding Plays. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1990. Print.

Hadas, Moses. The Complete Plays of Sophocles. Jebb, Richard, trans. New York: Bantam

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