Essay about Oedipus the King

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Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King is the perfect example of a tragedy. It contains a complete combination of all the features of a tragedy. Aristotle in his Poetics[1] defines Oedipus as being 'a definite example of the form and purpose of tragedy'. In tragedies the Greeks dramatized climactic events in the lives of heroes, and Oedipus' story is no exception. By using many different literary devices it brings moral dilemmas of action and motive to the public stage. The action is set out over the timeframe of one day, which will according to the prophet
Tiresias will bring Oedipus' 'birth' and 'destruction'.

King Oedipus is the central protagonist and within his character lies a tragic flaw. He is unintentionally the
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This is described metaphorically as sight; 'you bring down night upon my eyes'. Oedipus doesn't believe the blind prophet who 'with the eyes of
Lord Apollo' can see the truth. Later he gouges his eyes with Jocastas brooches. The realisation of the truth forces him to do this as a form of self inflicted punishment. He believes that blinding himself will make him oblivious to all that surrounds him. There is further irony when Oedipus refers to Laius, 'I never saw the man myself'. We know that he has already seen him when he killed him.

Tragedy is not directly intended to be humorous. It is the knowledge which the onlooker has that portrays the protagonists' situation as ironical. The audience relates to this as opposed to the character.
Throughout the play Oedipus consistently says

things without realising the truth behind them. He says he will fight for Laius 'as if he were my father'. Jocasta unknown to herself also speaks the truth. She describes how

Laius bears a resemblance to Oedipus, 'his buildâ?¦wasn't far from yours'. The audience can connect to this because they can see the truth behind these statements.

Oedipus as the tragic hero moves us to a state of pity. Just as the
Shepard 'pitied the little baby master' because of his innocence we also feel a sense of pathos for him. Since he is not an evil man his misfortune is greater than he deserves. He is genuine in that he honestly 'fears for these, my people'. The tragic

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