Oedipus Rex - Bliss in Ignorance

860 WordsOct 18, 19994 Pages
One of the most memorable and meaningful Socratic quotes applies well when in context of Sophocles ' Theban Trilogy. "The unexamined life is not worth living," proclaims Socrates. He could have meant many things by this statement, and in relation to the play, the meaning is found to be even more complex. Indeed, the situation of Oedipus, king of Thebes, the truth of this statement is in question. Would Oedipus have been better off if he was blind to the knowledge of his birthing and the fate which was foretold to someday befall him? Truly though, his life would have been a far better and easier path had he never known about his true origins. His life in Corinth would have been long and prosperous, and Thebes would have lived on under King…show more content…
The question arises, what would life have been like, if Oedipus had not discovered his true origins? If he had stayed in Corinth, would this have ever happened? We find that indeed, we would have had no story, if not for that lone comment of a drunkard which sparked the fire of rebellion in the young prince Oedipus. He ventured out to Delphi, to pry knowledge of his background out of it, and to discover if this was indeed the truth, despite the fact that his adopted parents of Corinth had assured him of it falseness. Oedipus leaves Corinth, fulfilling the Socratic idea of the unexamined life. However, we must evaluate the eventual consequences of his actions and the implications which they possess. What becomes of his fateful journey out of Corinth leads to the downfall of an entire city and family line. If he had not murdered King Laius, the Sphinx would have never descended upon Thebes, he would have never fulfilled the prophecy, and all would have lived on in a relative peace and tranquillity. Once examining these aspects of the relationship between the quote and Oedipus Rex, we can come to a final examination of its implications. The question which was addressed, that of the value of the examined life, can be answered. Indeed, if Oedipus had not ventured beyond the protective walls of his adopted home, would anything such as what occurred in the play ever have transpired? If Oedipus had not pursued that answers to the mysteries that
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