Sophocles' Oedipus the King as Nothing More Than a Detective Story

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Sophocles' Oedipus the King as Nothing More Than a Detective Story

The play “Oedipus the King” is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles in the early days of antiquity and is based upon an ancient story in Greek mythology. It was written around a time when Rome was in power and Athens was the centre of the world. In this time, people believed that the Gods controlled all and that fate and destiny could never be escaped.

Based on the title of this essay, I do believe that the play “Oedipus the King” contains some of the qualities that a detective story holds, however I do not think it entirely mirrors one.

As with any story, a good plot is essential. It is just as important for the
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Sophocles manages to intertwine a main plot and a sub plot into one, making the story easy to understand.

The opening of the play begins with the terrible plague on the city of Thebes and all the troubles that have arisen as a result from that. Sophocles employs an ingenious method of having two storylines that run together to make one. No matter how abstract the combination may seem, the plague at the beginning of the play leads to the events at the end.

All good tragedies need a good tragic hero and Oedipus is the quintessential tragic hero possessing all the qualities that would make him such.

He has the fatal flaw, which contributes to the downward spiral of events and subsequently his own ruin. It is arguable just exactly what his fatal flaw is, it may be his short temper, his hubris (intentionally dishonouring behaviour), and possibly his homartia among other things. Homartia is usually taken to mean a moral fault such as pride and when things go wrong it is usually quoted as being the cause.

A tragic hero must not be “pre- eminently virtuous and just” which again applies to Oedipus. This tragedy is of the calibre that it is because the audience may sympathise with him because for all his faults Oedipus can be seen as a good man. His destruction does not only come as a result of the bad action that he did, namely the incest and

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