Oedipus Rex

2527 Words Jan 21st, 2002 11 Pages
Essay on Oedipus Rex
4-3-97
In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the theme of irony plays an important part through the play. What Oedipus does, what he says, and even who he is can sometimes be ironic. This irony can help us to see the character of Oedipus as truly a 'blind' man, or a wholly 'public' man.
A great irony is found in Oedipus's decree condemning the murderer. Oedipus says, "To avenge the city and the city's god, / And not as though it were for some distant friend, / But for my own sake, to be rid of evil. / Whoever killed King Laios might - who knows? - / Decide at any moment to kill me as well." Later he says, "As for the criminal, I pray to God - / Whether it be a lurking thief, or one of a number - / I pray that that man's life be
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In her ignorant quest to defy the inevitable, to achieve the impossible, she raises the fears and anger of the chorus, who know that the prophesies must come true.
There are two prophesies in the play. One, that the child of Laios would murder him, and two, that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. Both Laios and Oedipus went to great lengths to avoid these fates and defy the gods. Laios sent his son to die on a mountain, and Oedipus left his 'homeland' forever. In their actions to defy the prophesy, they set in motion the events which would fulfill them. The Prophesy is truth; it cannot be avoided. However, this does not mean that the fate controls the actions of the man. The Prophesy must be looked at as being out of time, seeing the past, the present and the future all at once. Although the individual controls completely his or her actions, the Prophesy sees these actions in the past, the present and in the future, and reports only the truth. Maybe if Laios did not question the Oracle, the prophesy would have been different because he would not have sent his child away. However one could never know this, because the prophesy would be an untold tale.
Commentary
It would be hard to find a play that has been more universally praised than Oedipus Rex ("King Oedipus"). Aristotle considered it the model tragedy, and that opinion has been widely held to the present day. No drama

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