Justin Janawitz. Howell. Advanced World Literature, Gold

1790 WordsMar 29, 20178 Pages
Justin Janawitz Howell Advanced World Literature, Gold 3 17 March 2017 Role of Theme in the Development of Oedipus Rex Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is a classic Greek tragedy that was first performed during the beginning of the Hellenistic era of Greek history and is considered by many to be the masterpiece of Greek Tragedy. Before the play begins, Oedipus unknowingly fulfills a prophecy in which he kills his father, marries his mother, and has children with her. He kills his father, King Laius, at the Crossroads without knowing who it was, and by solving the riddle of the Sphinx, Oedipus became King of Thebes and took his mother, Jocasta, as his queen and had children with her. During the play, Oedipus is constantly searching for the murderer…show more content…
Oedipus’s ignorance and desire to gain knowledge eventually leads to his tragic discovery of his identity, which leads to his exile from Thebes. Oedipus has a desire to acquire knowledge about himself, and the situation in Thebes. This desire proves to lead to the uncovering of Oedipus as the killer, thus leading to his exile and blindness. At the beginning of the play, Oedipus strives to find out who he is and acquires information and intellect about himself. He is told he will become a blind beggar. This can be interpreted as a double entendre because Oedipus is blind of his own fate, and the fact that he is the killer of King Laius, but by the end, he is physically blind in that he gouged his eyes out upon the discovery of his mother’s death. Oedipus undergoes a transformation from being ignorant in his desire to gain information, to regretting his decision of gaining information; “The clear-eyed, commanding, intellectually impressive Oedipus of the beginning of the play does not know who he truly is and how he has acted toward his closest kin. The physically blinded Oedipus at the end, however, does know the truth about himself, and this truth paradoxically makes him a figure of awe and terrible grandeur.” (Roman et al. 365). The theme of knowledge plays a prominent role in Oedipus Rex and helps to develop the character of Oedipus along with the

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