Dramatic Irony In Oedipus The King

1164 Words5 Pages
Dramatic irony is something commonly used in literature. When the audience knows something that the characters don’t, it creates interest and makes the audience feel more involved. The famous play, “Oedipus, the King”, written by Sophocles around 430 b.c., is a great example of how dramatic irony affects how a story is written and the ways in which it plays out. The tragedy follows a man named Oedipus and the grievous realization that he killed his biological father and married his mother. Because of the play’s notoriety and place within pop culture, most of the audience is familiar with the tragic ending, affecting the way they perceive the characters and the situations within the story. Dramatic Irony is very prevalent in “Oedipus, The King” especially in the ways it affects how it is written, the audience’s perception of Oedipus as a character, Oedipus’ quarrels with Teiresias and Creon, as well as their perception of Jocasta. Creating Dramatic Irony as a writer, requires the foundation and characters within the story to be brought up differently than the traditional sense. In “Oedipus, The King”, Sophocles, makes sure to clearly hint to the audience that Oedipus was the subject of the oracle’s prophecy. He does this by restating the prophecy numerous times and making the idea of finding who killed King Laius, a central part of the story. This can be seen after Creon accused Oedipus of being the murderer of the king and Jocasta explained her experience with the oracle stating, “So Apollo failed to fulfill his oracle to the son, that he should kill his father, and to Laius also proved false in that the thing he feared, death at his son’s hands, never came to pass. So clear in this case were the oracles, so clear and false. Give them no heed, I say; what God discovers need of, easily he shows to us himself.” (Sophocles lines 828-836). Another way the author created dramatic irony in the writing was setting Oedipus up to be a tragic hero. Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero states, “A virtuous man whose misfortune is brought about not by depravity, but by some error or frailty.” His fatal flaw being excessive pride and self righteousness, making him blind to the truth, makes it clear to the audience
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