When the word wisdom is mentioned, many might think of a grandmother or grandfather Because he had deciphered the Sphinx’s riddle, the intelligent Oedipus was classified as “the best at guessing riddles,” yet he could not see the truth that was staring him in the face (Sophocles 30). He had killed the previous king. Although Tiresias had told him plainly that he was the murderer, Oedipus did not believe him and went even further to blame Creon for the murder. How could he have been so blind? When the king began to finally realize his misconception, he exclaimed, “Oh God! I think I have just called down on myself a dreadful curse-not knowing what I did” (Sophocles 53). The ruler of Thebes enjoyed an abundance of knowledge; however he experienced a severe deficit in his ability to understand the reality right in front of
Throughout the tragedy by Sophocles, the king Oedipus relies on his personal glory to attain long lasting fame and balks when confronted with anything that might shatter this perception that he is the best. While both characters have done marvelous deeds in the past, their inherent arrogance, which is part of the tragic flaw of each of the characters,
Oedipus intelligence could not see the truth, but the blind man, Teiresias, saw it plainly. Sophocles uses blindness as a theme in the play. Oedipus was uninformed and as a result blind to the truth about himself and his past. Yet, when Teiresias exposes the truth he is in denial. It is left to Oedipus to conquer his blindness, accept the truth, and realize fate. But instead Oedipus ridicules Terirsias blindness and accuses him of being on the side of Kreon and helping him become King. He accuses Teiresias for being paid to tell a fraudulent prophecy to him. Quickly Teiresias answers him back and tells him he is BLIND, and tells him about his past of who his actual mother and father was.
Another trait Oedipus and Odysseus have in common is their relentless persistence. Persistence is the key for both characters to find out imperative information from other characters. For example, Oedipus questions Teiresias about his knowledge of the late King Laius's murder. Fearing that the information he possesses will upset the new king, Teiresias refuses to say what he knows. Teiresias also recognizes that even if he does give Oedipus the information that he longs to hear it will not change the final result. Teiresias says, "The future will come of itself though I shroud it in silence," (Homer 120). Oedipus persists by saying, "Then seeing that it must come, you on your part tell me of it, " (Homer 120). Teiresias finally gives in and says, "Your are the accursed defiler of this land…I say you are the slayer of the man whose slayer you seek,"
621 ln. 149-150) after Creon tells him why they stopped searching for Laius’s killer. Dramatic irony is present when Oedipus tries to skirt the horrible prophecy of him killing his father and coupling with his mother, because in fleeing Corinth to avoid murdering Polybus, he is actually taking the correct path to fulfill the prophecy. Again his overconfidence and pride contributes to his impending doom; in believing that he has outwitted the gods he challenges his fate. Although he has enough reverence to the deities not to assume himself to be an equal with the gods, but greater than them it is clear through the word usage that Oedipus perceives himself to be of a greater importance than the lesser mortals that surround him “One of you summon the city here before us, tell them I’ll do everything. God help us, we will see our triumph-or our fall” (p. 621 ln. 163-165). He is conceited to think that he can shape his own destiny and the gods punish him for this arrogance.
Oedipus’ intense amount of self confidence is so great that Oedipus actually curses whoever the killer is, this is an example of irony, because Oedipus later finds out that he was the killer all along, and that he ended up cursing himself. Another clue of this is a quote from Oedipus while he was talking to the prophet Teiresias, “Yea, I am wroth, and will not stint my words, But speak my whole mind. Thou methinks thou art he, Who planned the crime, aye, and performed it too, All save the assassination; and if thou Hadst not been blind, I had been sworn to boot That thou alone didst do the bloody deed.” (Sophocles 345-350). In this quote, Oedipus’ ego is once again affecting him, as he refuses to even consider what the prophet Teiresias is saying about not looking into who the murderer is, but Oedipus ironically does accuse him of being the killer. These quote help the reader realize that the mystery of Oedipus Rex for Oedipus is to discover who Laius’ killer
Oedipus Rex Seminar Questions 1. “Come then, my seer! Tell us: of what consists your qualification? Where were you when the Great Bitch, that Sphinx who sang her deadly puzzles outside this city and who needed the art of a genuine seer to answer those puzzles, where were you then? Why did you not save the city then? Where were your gods then? Where were your birds? It was I! Yes I, Oedipus, who knew nothing of such things who shut that monster’s mouth; not by magic or by signs of birds but by my own brain. So! Here you are, now! Intending to send me away from here, hoping to hang around Creon’s throne! For this outrage, Teiresias, you shall pay with tears; you, Teiresias and he, the chief plotter. And were it not for your advanced years,
"the accursed polluter of this land is you" A different man might well stop at this point, calm down, and ask Teiresias what he meant. That is to say, a different man might have stopped hanging onto his own certainties; confident that they were the truth, and have listened carefully to what someone else had to say but Oedipus is not that sort of person. In fact, rather than listen to Teiresias, Oedipus reminds everyone of his previous triumph over the Sphinx, stressing that Teiresias failed to help Thebes then.
Ignorance is a term that is well-known, but few that know the true meaning. To be ignorant is to lack knowledge or information given a certain issue. The saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” is not always the case. To receive the label as being ignorant is very seldom a compliment. Sophocles
In the beginning, Oedipus is told by Teiresias that he lives in shame. Of course, Oedipus feels that Teiresias is blind of not only sight, but knowledge:
Oedipus the King - The Character Transformations of Oedipus Through the character of Oedipus, Sophocles shows the consequences of defying the divine order. Oedipus served Thebes as a great ruler, loved by his subjects; but, like most in the human race, he slipped through the cracks
The play, Oedipus the King by Sophocles, bases its plot around dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is a literary device in which the audience is aware of a series of events or characteristics that the characters themselves are not yet aware of. This device was used to shape the tone of
Sophocles Oedipus the King is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well-known to the Athenian's. Oedipus is the embodiment of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus' life and to further characterized him as a tragic man. The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of Thebes: “What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest?” Oedipus correctly answered “Man” and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also, man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well-being. Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a Shepard to be killed so the omen of the god Apollo that Laius' son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point.
However, pride is not the only characteristic, which contributes to their tragic end. For Oedipus, there exists his temper, his unrelenting pursuit of the truth and his suspicion. His temper is exhibited in the argument between Teiresias and himself, where Teiresias states the truth and Oedipus replies, "Do you think you can say such things with impunity?"(p.36) and later calls Teiresias a, "Shameless and brainless, sightless, senseless sot!"(p.36). His suspicion was also shown in this exchange where he says, "Creon! Was this trick his, then, if not yours?"(p.36). Lastly his unrelenting pursuit of the truth is demonstrated when he believes he is the murderer and that Polybus was not his
The Oracle at Delphi in Oedipus predicts the downfall and destruction of Oedipus, despite Oedipus' avoidance of the prophecy. Oedipus recalls the Oracle as stating: "that I [Oedipus] was fated to defile my mother's bed, that I should show unto men a brood which they could not endure to behold, and that I should be the slayer of the sire who begot me." When Oedipus learns of the calamitous oracle his immediate intentions are to thwart it. He leaves Polybus of Corinth, whom Oedipus believes to be his father, and travels to Thebes to avoid fulfilling the ruinous prophecy. When he arrives at Thebes Oedipus is falsely assured of his intellect when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx and is appointed king. Oedipus then believes that he has successfully avoided the Oracle.