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Oedipus the King
The setting is Thebes around the fifth century. The inciting incident right away turns up with the plague that now afflicts the citizens, whom King Oedipus calls the "new blood of ancient Cadmus." Cadmus was the founder of the mythological Thebes. These citizens crowd at the king's palace for his action on the feared plague, and as was the custom at the time, the king has already sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to consult with the Oracle (or diviner/fortune-teller) at Delphi (Sophocles c 430 C) for advice and he tells this to the people. Creon returns to relay the Oracle's message to Oedipus that the plague will end only if the murderer of the former king of Thebes, Lauis, is caught and driven out. The message also says that the murderer is still in Thebes. King Lauis was killed by thieves while on the way to consult an…
Drama Performed vs. Drama Read, controversy # 4, 1998. http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng211/controversy_4fgg.htm
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Sparknotes LLC, 2003. http://www.sparknotes/lit/Oedipus
Fate and Destiny
The ideas of fate and destiny were a consuming topic for the Greeks. Their pantheistic understanding of heaven included gods who toyed with humans for their own covert pleasures. The Greeks built a society which sought to understand the nature of men. Were men free, or did the god's ultimately hold their finger on the pulse of the universe, directing even the most insignificant actions according to some unseen plan? ocrates, Aristotle, Plato... each of these men wrestled with finding a purpose in the randomness of life. Through the concentric events of Oedipus the King, ophocles created his own understanding regarding the subject of fate. Although free, ophocles believed that we were not ultimately the masters of our own ships.
From the first lines of the play Oedipus the King, the playwright foreshadows the theme. Oedipus's seer Creon enters the king's court and discusses the oracle…
Sophocles. OEDIPUS THE KING. Translation by F. Storr.
Originally published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA and William Heinemann Ltd., London. 1912
Despite his love of the estate, the future is far better and far more promising than the Russia of the previous era.
Another tragic feature of Ranevskaya's character that makes her uniquely 'modern' is that she knows her flaws. She admits that she squanders money, while Oedipus seems unaware of his arrogance until the very end of the play. Chekhov's subtlety as a playwright is that he knows that people can do the wrong thing, 'know' that they are doing wrong, and still act against their best interests in a foolish fashion. Hence, unlike the ancient Greek tragedy of circumstance, Chekov's play is a tragedy of character. The people around Ranevskaya, including her daughter as well as Lopakhin, seem powerless to stop the woman in her path to folly, but Ranevskaya also seems powerless to stop herself, even though she is an apparently intelligent, if prodigal woman.
One recent review…
Brantley, Ben. "All alone in a crowded country home." The New York Times. January 16, 2009.
[February 5, 2011] http://theater.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/theater/reviews/16orch.html
However, the play goes even further than these hints in demonstrating the irrelevance of any supernatural force to the story's action when Tiresias mocks Oedipus for suggesting that the blind seer is the source of the plague (Sophocles 27). hen Oedipus accuses Tiresias of a being "a conspirator" to Laius' murder due to his reluctance to tell what he knows, Tiresias responds by asking "Sooth sayest thou?" (Sophocles 26-27). hile Tiresias is obviously taking a jab at the dramatic irony created by Oedipus' ignorance, he is also hinting at the fact that anybody can say whatever they want and call it prophecy. This scene effectively dismantles the logical fallacy of mere assertion (upon which most declarations of supernatural existence depend), because Oedipus attempts to simply assert his own innocence and Tiresias' guilt while Tiresias is comfortable in the knowledge that he is right, and feels safe "of there be a…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. London: Macmillian and Co, 1885. Print.
It is worth noting that in this scene Oedipus also engages in an appeal to force, which is another logical fallacy, and fits quite naturally with his hubris and self-righteousness.
This is because they are not learning from the lessons of the past and they do not see things for what they really are. hen this takes place, there is a possibility that they are open to more problems through failing to understand and address critical issues. Oedipus is used to show this sense of arrogance and contempt for the truth. (Sophocles) ("The Oedipus Plays")
Evidence of this can be seen with comments from the source titled The Oedipus Plays (2012) which says, "Oedipus can hear the story of Jocasta binding her child's ankles and not think of his own swollen feet. hile the information in these speeches is largely intended to make the audience painfully aware of the tragic irony, it also emphasizes just how desperately Oedipus and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth: they look at the circumstances and details of everyday life and pretend…
"The Oedipus Plays." Spark Notes, 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2013
Ramfos, Stelious. Fate and Ambiguity. Boston: Somerset Hall Press, 2005. Print.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.
Oedipus the King
At the beginning of Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus clearly sees it as his purpose in life to be the best leader he can. In his mind, this meant to be as close to his people as possible, especially when the play opens and the land being in trouble. This is clear in what he says to those who come to him with the problem of their suffering. Oedipus assures then that nobody suffers more than himself as king, because, while each citizen carries only his or her own suffering, Oedipus suffers not only for himself, but for all the others in his land as well.
As such, Oedipus also considers it his duty to do what he can to relieve the suffering of his people, which is why he sends Creon to the Delphi oracle for divine advice about how to remedy the situation. When…
As a result, he flees from Corinth, where Polybus and Merope, are in order for the prophecy not to be fulfilled.
The statement "truth has made me strong" is partially false, because while the main character believed that his life was exactly as he made it, it was actually shaped by his fate. A chain of events had lead to the forming of Oedipus as a strong and wise man. Most of the actions performed by Oedipus across his life had contradicted with the Oracle's prophecy.
The circumstances that Oedipus found himself in when he murdered his real father, Laius, had come as a result of the lies that he had been told. If Polybus and Merope hadn't had lied to him, telling him that they were his real parents, Oedipus wouldn't have came across Laius.
Apollo instructs Creon that the only way for the plague to leave the citizens…
1. Sophocles. "Oedipus Rex."
2. Taplin Oliver, "Greek tragedy in action," Taylor & Francis, 1978
Oliver Taplin, "Greek tragedy in action," Taylor & Francis, 1978
And had Oedipus remained with the parents who raised him, the prophecy would also have been unlikely to come about.
On the other hand, one might also argue that Sophocles appears to indicate that, no matter what decisions were made, free will would never have been part of it. Indeed, destiny and prophecy are so overwhelmingly strong that whatever decisions were made would have led to the final and inevitable conclusion.
Indeed the way in which the characters make use of their free will indicate that their very personalities contribute to the fulfillment of the prophecy: Oedipus' tendency towards the truth balanced with the opposite urge to hide from the deeper reality, in concomitance with Jocasta's deliberate blindness, lead inevitably towards the tragic conclusion of the play.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Online version: http://classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/oedipus.html
At lines 651-690, Creon argues that he has no desire to usurp Oedipus as king…
At this point, no room is left for Oedipus's self-defense. He has dissolved from proud, father-like king to delusional denying maniac to an irrational, sorrowful self-abuser. At Colonus, the reader is given another glimpse into Oedipus's evolving character. Now, he is resigned to his fate, hating the fact that he must often retell his story. Still, he regains some of his pride, insisting his mistakes were not his fault. In addition, Oedipus at Colonus has undertaken almost solely his role as a family man. Here, he is aided by his two daughters, whom he loves, and refuses to take part in the battle between his sons. Knowing that the place of his death will be blessed, Oedipus rationally and calmly chooses to die in the land of his friend Theseus.
Oedipus's character development from proud, father king to resigned, dying old man tells the story of one who was wronged…
Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." nd. The Internet Classics. 28 October 2008. MIT. http://classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/oedipus.html
Oedipus, however, does show a great deal of arrogance as a character in the actual play, no matter how much the reader or viewer may feel pity and horror at his fate. Sophocles deliberately chooses to show first Oedipus, not as an innocent, abandoned baby with an injured foot, which is the first sight a reader might have of Oedipus and is the beginning of the actual myth. Instead, the ancient Greek playwright shows Oedipus first to the audience as an arrogant king. Oedipus says that he will discover the reason for Thebes' plague, just as he set it free from the Sphinx. He shows tremendous confidence in his own intelligence. And then Oedipus curses himself, and curses the murderer of the former king -- his own father whom he killed in a quarrel by the roadside. Oedipus' action of murder towards an apparently poor stranger, which he dismisses as…
Oedipus does not show unusual arrogance, no more so than his father did when he abandoned his child to cheat death. Oedipus leaves his natural parents out of a desire to protect them, as any son possessing filial pity should do, in the eyes of the Greeks.
However, in contrast to the Christian economy of good and evil, where good is rewarded and evil is punished by God, in ancient Greece: "The gods frequently interfere physically and psychically in human affairs (bringing on, for example, madness, illnesses, unusual acts of courage or folly, natural disasters, untimely death, and so on), but there is nothing consistent about these interactions, and they may or may not take place, no matter how many times the human beings offer sacrifices or prayers" (Johnson, 2007). Fate in "Oedipus Rex" is arbitrary, and Oedipus' terrible punishment has nothing to do with his uniquely terrible status as…
Johnson, Ian. "Fate, Freedom, and the Tragic Experience: An Introductory Lecture on Sophocles's 'Oedipus the King.'" Lecture last revised in August 2004. 5 May 2007. http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/introser/oedipus.htm
Johnson, Ian. "Some Preliminary Observations on Classical Greek Literature."
Lecture last revised in Feb 2006. 5 May 2007. http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/clas101/observations.htm
Pontikis, Nick. "King Oedipus." The Myth Man. 1988. 5 May 2007. http://thanasis.com/oedipus.htm
Abner is angry at his society, perhaps because it has categorized him as a second-class citizen. For this reason, he hurts those who have wronged him, in addition to his family. This anger is expressed by his words in the judge's chambers. hen told to go, Abner says, "I aim to. I don't figure to stay in a country among people who..." His inability to articulate his anger suggests that the reason for his refusal to accept society and his inability to be accepted by it is important, too large even to speak. Unlike Oedipus, however, who shows contrition and dismay when he realizes what he has done to Thebes, Abner responds with barn burning. He takes out his anger on society by trying to destroy it, more specifically by trying to destroy the material possessions that separated him from society.
Thus, both Oedipus the King and Abner Snopes are…
Faulkner, William. "Barn Burning." RajuAbju. 2005. 28 January 2008. http://www.rajuabju.com/literature/barnburning.htm
Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." The Online Classics Library. n.d. 28 January 2008. http://classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/oedipus.html
Oedipus the King
Sophocles' play Oedipus the King is filled with irony; in fact, irony makes the play's narrative so compelling. Oedipus vows to end the plague that besieged the people of Thebes but fails to realize that to end it, he must essentially oust himself from power. He vehemently curses the murderer in a passionate speech to the chorus at the beginning of the play without realizing that he delivers the curses upon himself. Oedipus unwittingly hunts for himself; unaware that he killed his father and married his mother, Oedipus claims to find and exile the murderer even if "If in my house, I knowing it, he dwells," (265). At times, Oedipus seems so close to uttering the truth or unknowingly does speak the truth that the audience is gripped by suspense and frustration. For example, when Oedipus is first confronted with the news that for the plague to…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans E.H. Plumptre. Harvard Classics. Vol. VIII, Part 5. Ed. Charles W. Eliot. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-14; Bartleby.com, 2001. Retrieved 10 May 2004. http://www.bartleby.com/8/5/ .
In Oedipus this may be defined as the powerlessness of human beings against preordained fate. Diction refers to the expression of meaning through words. Stylistic elements of tragedy for example may include a character's use of metaphor. Oedipus does this very eloquently throughout the play and particularly during the climax, at the end of which he blinds himself. He uses this act as a self-punishment for his foolishness, which in itself might be construed a kind of blindness, throughout the play. Through his blind pursuit of a truth he could not fully fathom, Oedipus arrives at the tragedy that he helped fate to bring over him.
Aristotle's fifth important element of tragedy is song, or melody. In Sophocles' play, this occurs in the form of the chorus. The chorus forms part of the events in the play. It serves not only as a narrator of events, but also as a…
Teiresias, as a blind prophet, represented the Fate of Oedipus, who was 'blinded' by his inability to accept his fate; the prophet also symbolized the literal 'blindness' of Oedipus at the end of the novel. As the blind prophet, Teiresias' knowledge about Oedipus' real identity prompted him to allude only, and not directly identify, to Oedipus the identity of Laius' murderer: "Thou art the man / Thou the accursed polluter of this land... thou art the murderer of the man / hose murderer thou pursuest." Sophocles' use of the words "polluter," "murderer," and "pursuest" reflects the role Oedipus plays, which includes being the murdered of Laius, 'usurpation' of the title of King of Thebes, and as the persecutor of Laius' killer (himself).
Paradox is also present in the dialogue, particularly when Oedipus informed the Chorus and the prophet of his intentions to bring to justice Laius' death: "One course alone…
Roberts, E. And H. Jacobs. (1998). Literature: an introduction to reading and writing. (5th ed.). NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Sophocles. E-text of "Oedipus Rex." Translated by F. Storr. Available at: http://eserver.org/drama/sophocles/oedipus-trilogy.txt.
Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero
In the edford Introduction to Drama, Lee Jacobus writes, "Greek Tragedy focused on a person of noble birth who in some cases had risen to a great height and then fell precipitately." The modern critic, Kenneth urke expands on this. He developed a pattern for these tragedies. urke believes that that the tragic hero goes through three developmental stages, the first is purpose, the second is passion, and the third is perception. Lastly, Aristotle - perhaps the greatest contemporary of the tragedians - indicates that the tragic hero must bring about his own downfall "by some error or frailty" in his being; today many refer to this as the character's tragic flaw.
Oedipus the King is a noble character. He is king of Thebes. The very essence of tragedy revolves around the idea that a character must fall from a great height. Oedipus has…
Sophocles, The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles, trans. Paul Roche. (New York: Penguin: 1991).
Lee Jacobus, The Bedford Introduction to Drama, 3rd ed. (Boston: Bedford Books, 1997) 33-39.
Oedipus as Tragic Hero
One of the greatest classics of all Western literature is Sophocle'sSophocles' trilogy The Oedipus Plays may be considered one of the greatest literary works of the Western world. In tThe second of these plays, Oedipus the King, the protagonist, Oedipus the King, is described by Sophocles as a tragic hero. According to Aristotle, the characteristics of a tragic hero are - must be an influential person, is far from perfect, makes an error in judgment due to his or her own arrogance, and must suffer the consequences of his or her own actions. Aristotle points out that Oedipus' tragic flaw is excessive pride (hubris) and self-righteousness. - maybe this can be changed a bit to make a better thesis)
Aristotle" s argument that Oedipus was the perfecta tragic hero is sound because Oedipus is noble but imperfect, his downfall is the result of a tragic…
Oedipus the King of Thebes
Metaphor in Oedipus the King of Thebes
Oedipus the King by Sophocles tells the story of a man victimized by prophesy and fate, despite all his own efforts to escape this fate. The tragedy and the irony of Oedipus is that his intentions are perfectly honorable. ecause he is unwilling to succumb to the fate that has been predicted for him, he seeks to escape it, and in this attempt, he walks into the very arms of this fate.
The "two roads" that "join a third" in the reference then is the setting of the first part of the fulfilled prophesy. Oedipus kills his father. He does not know this, however. The murder is the result of sheer arrogance on the part of Oedipus; the result of a show-off with a rival who threatened to "thrust" him aside. The irony is thus exacerbated. Oedipus is…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King of Thebes. Trans. Bernard M.W. Knows. New York: Washington Square Press, 1959.
Novelguide.com. "Metaphor Analysis: Oedipus the King," 1999-2002. 29 Sept, 2003. www.novelguide.com.
Both literally and figuratively of noble character, Oedipus is the epitome of tragedy, moving from hubris to his downfall to ultimately tragic hero. In a mental sense, Oedipus realizes his flaw and finds this completely unacceptable. He punishes himself by means of self-mutilation and his removal from kingship.
Antigone also suffers from a sense of hubris. She is completely self-sufficient. She fails to rely on others, or indeed to submit to the circumstances around her. In the play, the choir explains her fundamental flaw: "You showed respect for the dead. / So we for you: but power / is not to be thwarted so. / Your self-sufficiency has brought you down."
Her flaw is therefore far more subtle and hidden than that of Oedipus, although her self-punishment is much harsher. Antigone's resistance to the king's decree earns her a sense of complete desolation. She feels apart from the community she…
Brown, Larry a. Aristotle on Greek Tragedy. 2005. Retrieved from http://larryavisbrown.homestead.com/Aristotle_Tragedy.html
Garrison, Elise P. Groaning Tears: ethical and dramatic aspects of suicide in Greek tragedy. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995.
Kaufmann, Walter. Tragedy and Philosophy. Princeton University Press, 1992.
Leinieks, Valdis. The Plays of Sophokles. B.R. Gruner Publishing Co., 1982.
Sophocles' play edipus Rex is the third play in a trilogy telling the extended story of a Greek ruling family. The ability to see things as they really are is a recurring issue for edipus, who eventually becomes King. To emphasize edipus' ability to see things only as he wanted to see them, Sophocles used the metaphor of vision vs. blindness throughout the play.
Interpreting the concept of vision literally, those who can see have eyes that function properly and a brain that can accurately interpret the information the person's eyes send to it. People can have a "vision of the future" in the form of either personal goals or grander plans, such as world peace. Likewise, a person can be literally blind, unable to physically see. Blindness can also mean something more psychological, such as in the saying "love is blind," meaning that when we are in…
Oedipus' act of blinding himself could be seen as an attempt to return to the time when he did not know that the oracle's prediction had come true, but he cannot deny the truth. Neither can Jocasta. Her suicide means that she will no longer have to see what has become of her life.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Translation by D.W. Myatt. Accessed via the Internet 5/27/05.
Not on his head alone, but on them both" (Stroph 2, Antistrophe 2, Lines 1276-1280).
The ancient Greek audiences and the way theater plays were presented on stage differed to a large degree from the way plays are put on stage today. The mystery along with the sacredness is left behind, in favor of the art of showing every detail, according to the directors and screen players' vision. The fact that the evolution of technology gave the audience countless possibilities to watch every possible version of a play on stage and choose the one that most fits one's image or philosophy about a particular subject, presents the advantage of letting one choose what mostly appeals to one's character and disposition. On the other hand, the way Sophocles presented the audience with the climax in Oedipus Rex, the only way Greek audiences in ancient times were able to see it, left…
Sophocles' Oedipus the King is a tragedy containing all the necessary elements of drama. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles carefully creates plot, character, theme, diction, and spectacle that are consistent with a drama. Further, Sophocles' work is created to be performed, rather than read, consistent with a drama.
Oedipus the King is clearly a tragedy. In the traditional Aristotelian definition of a tragedy, the story is an "imitation in dramatic form of an action that is serious and complete, with incidents arousing pity and fear wherewith it affects a catharsis of such emotions. The language used is pleasurable and throughout appropriate to the situation in which it is used. The chief characters are noble personages... And the actions they perform are noble actions." Oedipus' marriage to his mother arouses pity for his fate, and evokes real human fears of incest, and the idea of a predetermined fate. Oedipus is a…
Bliss, Curtis Nehring. Elements of Drama. Introduction to Literature Online. 04 June 2004. http://www.hcc.cc.il.us/online/engl111/drama.htm
Reuben, Paul P. Appendix H: Elements of Drama - A Brief Introduction. PAL: Perspectives in American Literature: A Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing Project. 04 June 2004. http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/append/AXH.htmL
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Translated by F. Storr. 04 June 2004. http://classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/oedipus.html
Oedipus: A King of Multiple Archetypal Meanings, as well as Multiple Tragedies
"hat 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…
"Myths, Dreams, Symbols." http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/archetype.html
Sophocles writes, "Tiresias: That's your truth? Now hear mine: honor the curse your own mouth spoke. From this day on, don't speak to me or to your people here. You are the plague. You poison your own land" (Sophocles, 2004, p. 47). Each of these men has positive qualities, but their tragic flaw outweighs these qualities, and leads to pity and their downfall in the end. In addition, their tragic ends have tragic consequences on those around them, which is another element these two works have in common.
It is interesting to see the similarities in the plotting of these dramas as well. Essentially, they follow the tragic character from a turning point in their lives to the culmination of their problems and how they choose to face them. Their families and loved ones are left behind to sort out their lives without them, while they take the "easy" way…
Miller, Arthur. (1962). Death of a salesman. Masters of Modern Drama. Haskell M. Block and Robert G. Shedd, ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Miller, Arthur. (2005). Tragedy and the common man. Retrieved from the Virginia Community College System Web site: http://vccslitonline.cc.va.us/tragedy/milleressay.htm24 Feb. 2007.
Palmer, R.H. (1992). Tragedy and tragic theory: An analytical guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Sophocles. (2004). The Oedipus plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the king, Oedipus at Kolonos, and Antigone (Bagg, R., Trans.). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.
In this sense, the time and setting of these two plays are less significant because each of the two addresses universal questions of fate, destiny, free will, and the meaning of life, which are as current today as they were over 2000 years ago, when Oedipus Rex was written, for instance.
The arker Face of the Earth reflects many of the themes and plot elements that also occur in the ancient Greek play by Sophocles entitled Oedipus Rex. In both cases, although the protagonists are faced with challenges by the powerful forces of destiny, their fate is direct consequence of their choice regarding the exercise of free will. Both Augustus and Oedipus are victims of their own bloody choices. Because their actions are no longer controlled by rational thought, they exercise their free will poorly hence they must accept the consequences of their actions and suffer the painful fate that…
Dove, Rita. The Darker Face of the Earth. Story Line Press, 1996
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Pocket, 1994
Vellacott, P.H. "The Guilt of Oedipus." Greece & Rome 2nd Ser., Vol. 11, No. 2. (Oct., 1964): 137-148.
Both men suffer, and both men have to continue living with that suffering, while losing the people they care about the most. That tragedy is even more apparent in Dove's work, with the misunderstanding about Augustus and what he managed to do in the plantation house. His fate seems more tragic, somehow, because he is being commended for something that he did not do, and is being treated as a hero when in fact he is nothing of the sort. He will have to live up to that reputation in the slave community and it is clear that he will not be able to continue that pretense for very long.
In conclusion, both of these plays use the central theme of incest for different purposes. Dove uses it to illustrate the enduring images of slavery, relationships between blacks and whites and how they were skewed, and how slaves were abused…
Bloom, Harold, ed. Black American Women Poets and Dramatists. New York: Chelsea House, 1996.
Carlisle, Theodora. "Reading the Scars: Rita Dove's the Darker Face of the Earth." African-American Review 34.1 (2000): 135.
Dove, Rita. "The Darker Face of the Earth." American Theatre Nov. 1996: 33+.
The Darker Face of Earth. 2nd ed. Brownsville: Storyline P, 1996.
Laius may not have been the smartest move, either. This rests on your shoulders, not mine.
Oedipus: I love her! What's that got to do with anything?
I can't help it if we connected at a shareholders party and sparks flew. Laius was through, and I wasn't - Jocasta likes power, what can I say?
Are you boys arguing again? Do you have to make all the company's dirty laundry public? Honestly Oedipus, just take it to the board room, not the street.
Oedipus: Thank you dear, he was just leaving. You're fired!
Creon: I quit!
Jocasta: I think you may have had one too many Starbucks this morning. Listen, Creon isn't after your job. A long time ago, Liaus told me himself that he would be ousted from power by his own son, and that we needed to find the boy. I put him up for adoption after…
Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2007. 10 May 2007. http://classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/oedipus.html
The Better King: Oedipus or Creon?
"Oedipus Rex," a play by Sophocles, details the life of Oedipus as the tragic king of Thebes. Oedipus, whose greatest flaw was his obsession to control and know his Fate, experienced suffering in the most extreme manner: his insistence to control his Fate has led him to murder his father, take his own mother as his wife, and eventually blinded himself as an act of penance from his sins and faults.
Despite these explicit displays of weakness, Oedipus demonstrates far better leadership skills than Creon, his friend who had taken over Thebes after the event of his tragic downfall and descent towards madness and blindness. While still the leader of Thebes, Oedipus displayed a fair sense of justice, which became more pronounced when he dealt with the case of Laius's murder. His insistence to seek all means possible to track down the…
Analysis of "Oedipus the King"
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18, NIV)
Pride is a destructive force that has been recognized as such since the beginning of recorded time. People are subject to it because, as generally selfish creatures, humans put themselves above others. Of course, as a person matures he or she will usually lose much of this me first attitude, at least publicly, but it remains in part because it is difficult to completely deny self. This undeniable fact, that pride does indeed precede, a fall is evidenced by many ancient writings one of the most profound and remembered being the story of Oedipus. He was a king who could not let a simple matter end, and the result was that he lost almost all that had been given to him. The story can easily be analyzed based on the Fitzgerald…
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King). Trans E.H. Plumptre. Stilwell, KS: Digireads.com Publishing, 2005. Web.
Although he fled from the humble people whom he thought were his parents, after he heard of his destiny, it was to no avail.
Thus, the play "Oedipus the King" suggests that even if one acts morally, the individual still will fulfill his or her destiny, because that is the nature of fate. Creon says to Oedipus at the play's beginning, "now the god's command is plain: / Punish his takers-off, whoe'er they be." Because of the suffering that was his unavoidable destiny, Oedipus must punish himself. He mutilates himself and ostracizes himself from Thebes, according to his own proclamation.
Job, like Oedipus, is not a witting criminal at the beginning of the Biblical book he bears his name. Job is prosperous and respected, like Oedipus, and a man who "was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil." (1:1) but fate moves against Job, as…
11- 3). The Chorus' summations are necessary for continuity in the play, answering any questions or expounding upon certain thoughts or themes. The Chorus has the last word in the play, leaving a lasting impression with the audience, which includes a message of desolation to all. The Chorus says, "Let none / Presume on his good fortune until he find / Life, at his death, a memory without pain" (Exodus. 298-300). These are examples of how the Chorus reinforces what the audience may already be thinking. The Chorus connects certain aspects of the play and emphasizes Sophocles' themes.
The resolution of the play is harsh. This, of course, makes the play a tragedy but the extent of the pain Oedipus suffers is monumental. e can say he was headstrong and perhaps deserved something for his arrogance but the circumstances are so bizarre it is no wonder the man took out…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Fagles, Robert, trans. New York: Penguin Books. 1984.
Oedipus is at once a King of courage and judicial propriety, and also one in whom there is a tendency toward pride. Underlying it all, however, lays a great and secret blemish that awaits his discovery. It is through this secret mark - a birthmark of sorts - that fate, or the fates will eventually lead him to his downfall. It will be his character traits of courage, honesty and integrity, however, in combination with an ego and pride that are more closely related hubris that will actually bring about his inevitable acts of self-destruction via free will. In many ways, Oedipus was created as a perfect specimen through whom Sophocles could effectively deliver one of the most dramatic of ancient Greek tragedies.
ith generous measures of irony Sophocles provides tantalizing situations intended to hold the attention of the audience that knows the secret blemish of Oedipus long before he…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. In Sophocles the Complete Plays, Ed. Paul Roche. Signet Classics, Penguin Putnam, Inc. New York. 2001. (211-263)
Oedipus is one of the most famous names in Greek mythology. His name has become both a psychological complex as well as a familiar joke. His story has come to be a synonym as well for the capriciousness of fate. But a truer picture of the character of Oedipus suggests that, rather than being an unwitting victim, Oedipus a clear hand in his own demise. Despite its reputation, Sophocles' play "Oedipus the King" is a tragedy of character rather than of an innocent condemned by fate. Oedipus' tragic flaw his confidence and his arrogance that he understands what is happening to himself and his city. Of course, Oedipus really understands nothing.
The play begins by Oedipus, king of Thebes talking to his "children" or citizens, bemoaning the fact that Thebes is now under a plague. (ines 1-5, source from iterature and Ourselves) The priest tells Oedipus, "Now we pray to…
Later, the young man Oedipus found his way to the capital and freed Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx. He did so as a confident action, confident of his own intelligence where other men had failed and been killed by the cursed monster. As a gift, Thebes gave him the hand of Laius' widow, Jocasta. This is where the term 'Oedipus Complex' comes from, according to the Gale Online Encyclopedia of Psychology. Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) "describes a subconscious feelings in children of intense competition and even hatred toward the parent of the same sex, and feelings of romantic love toward the parent of the opposite sex. He felt that if these conflicting feelings were not successfully resolved, they would contribute to neuroses in later life. The name "Oedipus" refers to Oedipus Rex, the classic Greek play by Sophocles, which tells the story of Oedipus, who is abandoned at birth by his parents, King Laius and Queen Jocasta. He later comes back and, as foretold by prophecy, kills his father and marries his mother before finding out his true identity. Freud saw in the play an archetypal dynamic being played out, and so coopted the character's name for his description."
However, Freud's passive Oedipus has little to do with the active Oedipus of the text. Perhaps a better reading of Oedipus is provided by Michael Pennington, who states, "The Oedipus complex is...inappropriate to the play. Oedipus sleeps with his mother and kills his father circumstantially, proving only his political sense and a violent temperament." (Pennington 100) Pennington states that it was simply astute of Oedipus to marry Jocasta, he did not do so out of desire. Oedipus chose to free Thebes of the Sphinx out of intelligence and ambition. It takes a particular character of man to act out of anger and kill an older individual in a dispute of early Greek 'road rage.'
It also takes a particular kind of individual character to blind himself. Oedipus' stated reason
e learn that women are very dependent on the men in their lives for social standing.
Creon is more sympathetic than Oedipus. hile he is very straightforward, he does not express the same opinions for Oedipus that Oedipus does to him. hen Oedipus does not hear the answer he wants, he becomes arrogant and then tells Creon he is not a good friend. He even goes on to accuse him of being "evil incarnate" (II.111). Creon actually tries to change Oedipus' mind while Oedipus is nothing but a man on a mission and no one should get in his way. Creon does not change his position throughout the entire play and from this, we can gather that Creon is more stable than Oedipus.
Antigone acts as she does because she firmly believes in her cause. She is a hero because she refuses to change her position. She acts the way…
Sophocles. Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus and Colonus. Robert Fagles, trans. New York: Penguin Books. 1980.
When debating the question if Oedipus is fortune's fool, a pure victim of fate, or responsible for his own density, a reader might be tempted to pose his or her instinctive argument in favor of fate. Firstly, in terms of plot structure, Oedipus actively resists the destiny foretold to him by the Oracle of Delphi. Like a good son, Oedipus tears himself away from the bosom of the adoptive family he calls home, namely the shepherd and his wife he has come to call a father and a mother, to avoid killing his father and marrying his mother. Yet despite this active resistance, the future King of Thebes ends up marrying his biological mother and killing his father without knowing he was doing such a thing.
Also, secondly, the plague that afflicts the city of Thebes is brought on by Oedipus' actions, yet the king condemns the man…
According to the traditional interpretations of classical drama, Oedipus the King was brought down by the gods or fate because of his pride, egoism and arrogance, which the ancient Greeks called hybris (hubris). His father King Laius left him exposed to the elements on a mountainside when he was three days old because he believed the prophecy that his son would murder him then marry his mother, so he imagined that he was saving his own family line from disgrace. Yet when he met his son on the road to Delphi many years later, he and his chariot driver were treated him in a very rude and contemptuous manner, so Oedipus killed them, without even knowing who Laius was. Neither man was willing to give way on the road, and would not tolerate the insults of the other, so the old prophecy was fulfilled. Oedipus goes on to become…
Ford, James H. (ed). The Greek Classics: Sophocles Seven Plays. El Paso Norte Press, 2006.
Thus, Oedipus' reference to his cursed birth at what is very nearly the end of the play refers back to the very opening lines of the Argument by repeating the image of the prophesied birth, but this time the characters are seeing that image with the same clarity as the audience.
The cursed nature of Oedipus' marriage is highlighted by Jocasta's death, because after learning the truth about her and Oedipus' relationship, she goes "straight to her marriage-bed" and hangs herself there after lamenting "o'er the marriage-bed / here, fate-abhorred, a double brood she bare" (Sophocles 103). The repeated references to the marriage-bed included in the account of Jocasta's death fits within the plays larger focus on the conflation of familial roles, because the bed itself marks a physical location of this conflation; this bed is likely where Oedipus was conceived in the first place, and it marks the spot…
Davis, Robert, and J.M. Walton. "Found in Translation: Greek Drama in English." Theatre
Survey 49.2 (2008): 299-301.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. London: MacMillan & Company, 1885.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Specifically, it will explain how the suffering brought upon others by Oedipus contributes to the tragic vision of the work as a whole. Oedipus is the classic tragic hero, as he not only adversely affects his own life, he is the instrument of suffering for many of the other characters surrounding him in the play. His tragic flaw, or hamartia, is a fatal mistake that flows from a hero's character, and this tragic flaw continually affects those around him, and ultimately leads to his downfall, and the tragic ending of this play. Tragedy surrounds everything that Oedipus does, and ultimately no one in the play can survive when Oedipus touches their lives.
Oedipus' tragic flaw is his rashness. He does not think things through before he acts on his rash impetuousness, and this continually affects those around him. From the moment he slays the traveler…
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Robert Bagg. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1982.
Oedipus and how his intelligence, sight and blindness lead to his family's ruin.
Oedipus the King" is a tragic play where Oedipus discovers that he killed his father as prophesized by the gods and married his own mother from who he has two daughters. The story of Oedipus is well-known to because of Oedipus's image as a perfect Athenian. He is described as a self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed individual. It is these characteristics that lead to him finding out about his tragic discovery. Oedipus became the ruler of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a way of interpreting the three phases of Oedipus' life to highlight his tragedy. The Sphinx said that whoever answers the following riddle correctly "What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it…
Oedipus Exemplifies or Refutes Aristotle's Definition of a Tragic Hero
Aristotle's, the Greek philosopher definition of a tragic hero and tragedy has been influential since he set these definitions down in The Poetics. These definitions were viewed as important during the Renaissance, when scores of writers shaped their writings on the works of the ancient Rome and Greece. Aristotle asserted that tragedies follow the descent of a tragic hero or a central character, from a noble and high position to a low one. A tragic hero posse some tragic flaws, which cause his, fall from fortune, or turnaround of fortune, and to some point, the tragic hero realizes that his own mistakes have caused the turnaround of his fortune. Aristotle also noted that the tragic fall of a hero or a central character in a play stirs up fear to the audience or the reader given that the audience sympathizes…
Bloom, Harold. Oedipus Rex. Texas: Infobase Publishing, 2007.
Grene David. Sophocles. Oedipus the king. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010
Kahan Jeffrey . King Lear: New critical essays. New York: Routledge, 2008.
Madden Frank. Exploring literature: Writing and arguing about fiction, poetry, drama and the essay. Pearson Education Canada, 2008
Myth of the Tragic King -- Sophocles' construction of Oedipus the Tragic King vs. Michael of Puzo's The Godfather
The central theme of the Oedipus myth in ancient Grecian society was that the truly tragic king could not escape his fate, despite his best efforts to do so. ith hubris in his heart, the tragic king attempts to avoid what the oracle forecasts, and only fulfills his fate in terrible circumstances as a result of his hubris. However, in modern, American society the idea of uncontrollable fate has somewhat fallen out of fashion. Americans are inclined to look at hubris, or ambition beyond the sphere of one's circumstances with favor. Thus, partly because of the influence of Freud and partly because of the influence of the belief that anyone can succeed in America, the myth of the tragic king, embodied in Oedipus has been rewritten, although it remains a part…
Freud, Sigmund. "Freud: The Wish Fulfillment of Oedipus." From the Interpretation of Dreams. Elpenor Greek World. 8 Dec 2004. http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greeks-us/freud-oedipus.asp
Davis, Charles. "Jung's Archetypes." Jung Website. Last updated 2003. 8 Dec 2004.
Puzo, Mario. The Godfather, Original place and date publication -- New York: Putnam & Sons, 1969.
He wanted a little bit more and that desire ruined his life.
Oedipus learns that anyone can be wrong -- despite what he or she might think. He thought he knew everything and he thought he journey would make him happier. He had to learn the hard way the even the king can be wrong. Oedipus does not think the truth would hurt him. Oedipus learns a powerful lesson about fate and how human nature ties into it. Robert Fagles writes that Oedipus "recognizes that the "prophecies given to his father . . . were true" (Fagles 143) and nothing he could have done would have stopped those prophecies from coming true. Oedipus' achievement is the "discovery of the truth, and that discovery is the most thoroughgoing and dreadful catastrophe the stage has ever presented" (150). Oedipus learns from his arrogance. He knows that he can be wrong and painfully…
Fagles, Robert. Sophocles: Three Theban Plays. New York: Penguin Books. 1984.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. An Introduction to Literature. Barnett, Sylvan, ed. Boston: Little,
Brown and Company. 1984. pp.721-64.
Walton, J. Michael. "Oedipus the King: Overview." GALE Resource Database. Site Accessed
The fact that most men sublimate this feeling, and instead identify with their father to obtain the maternal figure in the form of another woman, is the reason the Oedipus myth was generated in the first place.
Freud's theory was popular not only 'on the couch' but in literary theory. Ernest Jones suggested that it is the reason Hamlet cannot bring himself to kill his uncle: "Now comes the father's death and the mother's second marriage. The long 'repressed' desire to take his father's place in his mother's affection is stimulated to unconscious activity by the sight of some one usurping this place exactly as he himself had once longed to do… the two recent events, the father's death and the mother's second marriage . . . represented ideas which in Hamlet's unconscious fantasy had for many years been closely associated" (Jones 98-99).
Regardless of the merit of Freud's theory,…
Dunkle, Roger. The Classical Origins of Western Culture, the Core Studies 1 Study Guide.
Brooklyn College Core Curriculum Series. Brooklyn College, the City University of New York, 1986.
Jones, Ernest. "The Oedipus-Complex as an Explanation of Hamlet's Mystery:
A Study in Motive." The American Journal of Psychology. January, 1910
He complains that his name "is now begrimed and black" (3.3.384) and fears that Desdemona has made him a "fixed figure for the time of scorn" (4.2.53). His fears might be those of any man, insecure in his position, concerned about how he is viewed. Thus, both heroes are true to life in that each has his own particular faults, like any man.
Aristotle's fourth condition of the tragic hero is "consistency: for though the subject of imitation…be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent" (43). As Aristotle suggests, both characters are inconsistently consistent, though in their own ways. Oedipus bounces from being high-minded, caring and affectionate to being almost simple-minded, careless and angry any time his pride is pricked. For example, even when the evidence all points to the truth of what the priest says, Oedipus is reluctant to admit it; yet when his wife tries to undermine what…
Aristotle. Poetics. (trans. By Gerald Else). MI: University of Michigan Press, 1970.
Lattimore, S. "Oedipus and Teiresias." California Studies in Classical Antiquity,
8 (1975): 105-111.
Oedipus also chose not to ask questions regarding his past, although this might be ascribed to the fact that he did not know to ask in the first place. It was his choice to leave his adopted family to escape the prophesy that he knows about. The adopted family however choose even at this point not to inform Oedipus of the true nature of his fate.
Another choice that Oedipus makes is to kill Laius at the crossroads, regardless of the fact that the prophesy is very specific regarding where the murder will take place. When he marries the wife of the dead king, it also does not occur to him that this is remarkably parallel to the prophesy. One might therefore argue that Oedipus might have been deliberately blind to the truth of his actions in order to further his own good fortune. On the other hand, ophocles' aim…
Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus. http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/sophocles/oedipustheking.htm
What is ironic about the ending of the play?
Oedipus, it was prophesied when he was a baby, would kill his father and marry his mother. So he was cobbled by his feet and exposed as an infant. The commoner charged with exposing the prince, however, was childless and took pity upon the babe, and reared the child himself. Oedipus as a young man learned by the same prophesy that he would become a patricide and enter into an incestuous marriage with his mother. So he fled what he thought were his true parents, home, and birth.
Had Oedipus not tried to flee his fate, he would never have met his father the King in the road and killed him in an argument. Had the future king of Thebes not tried to flee his fate he would never have married his mother, as he would never have met the…
i.148-9) his actions will cause, Oedipus sits in oblivion. He refuses to listen to his wife and brazenly tells her, "I will not listen; the truth must be made known" (II.iii.146). Iocaste morphs from being Oedipus' wife to his enemy because she is speaking words he does not want to hear. He tells her:
The Queen, like a woman, is perhaps ashamed
To think of my low origin. But I
Am a child of luck; I cannot be dishonored . . .
How could I wish that I were someone else?
How could I not be glad to know my birth? (II.iii.159-60, 164-5)
Oedipus' bad choice begins with arrogance and ends with isolation.
Like Oedipus, illy makes poor choices. He is blind like Oedipus because he does not see things as they actually are. He lives in a fantasy world and tells himself and his family lies in order to…
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. An Introduction to Literature. Barnett, Sylvan, ed. Boston:
Little, Brown and Company. 1984. pp. 1030-1114. Print.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. An Introduction to Literature. Barnett, Sylvan, ed. Boston: Little,
Brown and Company. 1984. pp.721-64. Print.
Oedipus: Self-Made Disaster
In Sophocles' play, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus takes fate into his own hands and demonstrates the power of the human will. Oedipus illustrates how we may not always be in control of our destinies, regardless of our efforts. The play is ironic in this sense because Oedipus already had the best "fate" any man in his position could hope for with a beautiful loving wife and a community that praised him. Some argue that Oedipus was fated to fulfill the prophecy but the truth is that his very actions destroyed the life he had. Oedipus was strong-willed obsessive and arrogant to the point of making huge mistakes. He failed himself and those around him because he thought he knew best.
In the beginning of the play, Oedipus has the best of intentions. In other words he does not set out to destroy his life. He simply wants to…
Fagles, Robert. Sophocles: Three Theban Plays. New York: Penguin Books. 1984. Print.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. An Introduction to Literature. Barnett, Sylvan, ed. Boston: Little,
Brown and Company. 1984. Print.
This is a major departure from the Creon seen in Oedipus Rex and reflects his changed role. In addition, he sees changing one's mind as a weakness, "womanish," an undesireable trait in a king. Once he's made a decision he feels he must stick by it even if he suspects it might have been incorrect.
The first decision Creon makes that affects this play is that he will give Etocles a state funeral, but that Polynices' body is to be left out in the open, unsanctified, and left for the animals to eat. This is a terrible fate for a Greek, who must have certain rites performed to move on to the next life. Creon sided with Etocles, but both brothers broke the agreement.
Antigone is outraged that Etocles is to be ushered in to the next life proplerly but not Polynices. She takes a stand and decides to perform…
Mr. Kapasi and the Dases are all Indian, but in the interpreter's eyes, Mr. And Mrs. Das are foreigners because they dress and speak like Americans. Mina Das sees Kapasi not as a romantic partner, as he desires her to see him as, but as a kind of romantic confessor, who will wash her clean of her sins, much as the citizens of Thebes see their king.
Eventually, when Oedipus' unintentional sin of marrying the queen of Thebes and killing the former king is revealed to the city, the citizens realize that Oedipus is not the great man they hoped he would become, and their illusions are shattered. Oedipus' own illusions about himself as a wise and saving figure of the city are shattered, as he must obey the banishment he laid down for the person who brought the plague upon the city. Mrs. Das must also come to terms…
Lahiri, Jhumpa. "The Interpreter of Maladies." From the Interpreter of Maladies. New York: Mariner Books, 1999.
Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." Internet Classics Archive e-text. [3 Dec 2006] http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/mirror/classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/oedipus.html
Sophocles' Oedipus the King
Look up and/or reflect on the meaning of:
Tragedy: A tragedy is any event which causes great suffering and stress, such as the death of a loved one or a natural disaster. In the context of Greek literature, tragedy was the most popular form of theatre, with storytellers relying on the rhetorical technique of tragic irony to create emotionally resonant tales of lost love and territorial conquest.
Philosophy: The overall study of the human condition, reality, metaphysics, and other pursuits of higher intelligence.
Psychology: The scientific study of the human mind, including cognitive function, perception, attention, emotion and behavior.
Logic: The fundamental application of reasoning to the pursuit of problem solving, a function which only the human mind is known to hold the capacity to perform.
Ethics: The branch of philosophy which postulates certain standards which should be used to guide proper human conduct.
For Oedipus to be considered successful, then, he would have had to challenge his own fate and succeed, rather than enact it entirely according to what was set out for him. In Hamlet, on the other hand, the enemy is tangible and human in the form of Hamlet's uncle, and thus Hamlet is able to confront and vanquish him. Thus, Oedipus represents a kind of ignorant struggle against the ideological forces which control anyone in society, a struggle that can never succeed so long as those forces remain indistinct and ephemeral. Hamlet, on the other hand, demonstrates a pointed struggle against some of the very same tendencies, but in this case, they are identified, named, and thus exists the potential for overcoming them.
Though written in wildly different historical contexts, Sophocles Oedipus Rex and illiam Shakespeare's Hamlet actually have a lot to say about each other, because the titular characters…
Gillespie, Gerald. "Swallowing the Androgyne and Baptizing Mother: Some Modernist Twists to Two Basic Sacraments." The Comparatist 33 (2009): 63-85.
Searle, Leroy F. "The Conscience of the King: Oedipus, Hamlet, and the Problem of Reading."
Comparative Literature 49.4 (1997): 316-43.
Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet." Shakespeare Navigator. Philip Weller, 2012. Web. 28 Feb
His failure at both appears to perpetuate each other: his failure as provider translates to his failure as business and family man, and indeed to his failure as American success. In this way, the American Dream is representative of ultimate success. By failing at this, Willy represents the doubts and fears of many Americans; he fails in all the ways feared by society.
Oedipus' failure occurs on a much larger scale. His success relates to his status as the person of highest importance in society. He however reacts differently from Willy, who first lies to himself and then crumbles under the pressure of the increasingly obvious truth. As the truth becomes increasingly obvious for Oedipus, he still refuses to turn away from his search. When all is finally revealed, Oedipus displays his true character by taking responsibility for his actions. Although the king can hardly be blamed for what happened,…
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman Penguin, 1976
Johnston Ian. Fate, Freedom, and the Tragic Experience: An Introductory Letter on Sophocles's Oedipus the King. 2007. http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/introser/oedipus.htm
Sophocles. Oedipus the King.
How could that be true when that child was left in the woods to die?
Oedipus is calmed, but he still sets out to solve the murder-mystery and punish the man who committed regicide. As more details come to the surface, however, Oedipus starts to get a bad feeling. The evidence indeed points to him: Laius, he learns, was slain at the same crossroads where Oedipus took the lives of a group of men. as Laius among them? Apparently so…as Oedipus also learns that he was the babe whom Jocasta and Laius abandoned -- and indeed has grown up to ruin the house by killing his father and marrying and having children with his mother Jocasta. Jocasta (sensing that this might be the case) had pleaded for Oedipus to halt the investigation, but determined to know the truth, Oedipus called the herdsman who found him tied to a tree to…
New Revised Standard Version Bible. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2009. Print.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Internet Classics Archive. Web. 10 Dec 2011.
Tragedy of Oedipus Rex
Many people understand Sophocles' play, Oedipus Rex, is a tragedy but what they may not know is that Aristotle established the notion of the tragic drama and Oedipus Rex fits it perfectly. The ancient drama serves as an excellent example of what a tragic play looks like. According to Aristotle, the hero of a dramatic play can must be noble or of royalty. Because he is noble, he is often perceived of in an extraordinary in some way. This is certainly the case with Oedipus. His people love and respect him primarily because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx. Besides being extraordinary, a tragic hero must vacillate between two extremes and reveal his tragic flaw and eventually experience a catharsis. Finally, the hero must evoke a sense of pity or sympathy from the audience before the play's conclusion. Oedipus Rex fulfills these requirements.
Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive. Web.
Site Accessed March 08, 2011.
Hadas, Moses. The Complete Plays of Sophocles. Jebb, Richard, trans. New York: Bantam
Books. 1971. Print.
Tragedy in the Oedipus Trilogy
Sophocles is considered to be one of the greatest Greek dramatists, and remains among the most renowned playwrights even today. The Greek tragedy is one of the most influential genres of literary and theatrical history on the modern drama and theatre. The theatre of ancient Greece was inspired by the worship of Dionysus, and the performance of plays was considered to be a religious experience for both the actors and the audience. ecause of this, the intensity of the Greek theatre was very strong, and the degree to which the plays were taken seriously as a means of influencing and interpreting life was also very high. According to Aristotle, the philosopher credited with creating the definition of a tragedy, "Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament,…
McManus, Barbara. "Outline of Aristotle's Theory of Tragedy in the POETICS." CLS 267 Topics. November 1999. http://www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html
McManus, Barbara. "Unity of Actionn in Oedipus the King." CLS 267 Topics. November 1999. http://www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/oedipusplot.html
Morissey, Christopher. "Oedipus the Cliche: Aristotle on Tragic Form and Content." Anthropoetics 9, no. 1. Department of Humanities, Simon Fraser University. Spring/Summer 2003. http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0901/oedipus.htm
"Reading Greek Tragedy." University of Washington, Tacoma. 2005. http://www.tacoma.washington.edu/ctlt/students/resources/someelementsoftragedy.pdf
It is as if his sense of male control and dominance prescribed by the norms of the society is blinding him to her true nature. He judges her in terms of the norms of assumed female weakness. This aspect is summarized in the following quotation.
Gender relations are pretty antagonistic in Othello. Unmarried women are regarded as their fathers' property and the play's two marriages are marked by male jealousy and cruelty (both wives are murdered by their own husbands). Most male characters in Othello assume that all Venetian women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why female sexuality is a huge threat to men in the play. Othello is easily convinced his wife is cheating on him and feels emasculated and humiliated as a result
(Othello: Theme of Gender)
In a similar sense in King Oedipus, the inferior status or societal position of women can be seen in the fact…
Fisher J. And Silber E. ( Eds) Women in literature: reading through the lens of gender.
New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.
Othello: Theme of Gender. Web. 30 June.
He kills his father as he flees his home and marries his mother after solving the riddle of the Sphinx. His end is inevitable, but Sophocles clearly shows the role negative character traits play in Oedipus' tragedy, while Hamlet's supposedly negative traits of doubt are not necessarily evil.
Thus Hamlet could be classified as a kind of nascent anti-hero, a man who mourns "the time is out of joint/oh cursed spite/that ever I was born to put it right," and never succeeds in 'putting it right' because society offers him only one, ineffective mechanism for pursuing a brutal type of justice (1.5). The failure of heroism to 'put things right' is manifested starkly in Waiting for Godot, where the heroes famously wait for the final 'solution' of the arrival of the presumably heroic Godot, who never comes. These characters are not so much heroes or even anti-heroes -- rather they…
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…
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
At different times, Oedipus issues contradictory self-characterizations, perhaps as a metaphor for the duality of his personality and his inability to control his passionate overreactions. Speaking of his cool logical ability in solving the riddle of the Sphinx, he says, "But I came, Oedipus who knew nothing, and I stopped her. I solved the riddle by my wit alone." Yet, in remembering the tragedy that he perpetrated on his way home from Corinth, this same man recounts his murderous reaction to provocation:
But he [Laius] was paid in full and presently my stick had struck him backwards from the carriage and he rolled out of it and then I killed them all." The implication is that when Oedipus (unknowingly) encountered his father, he was in the midst of trying to escape from his own future as foretold by Apollo and that this, as much as any actual provocation of being…