The Role of Irony and Fate in Oedipus The King by Sophocles

2933 Words12 Pages
Plague and Health Another major theme in Oedipus the King deals with the ideas of plague and health. This theme can be taken as both literal, but metaphorical as well. This theme is literal in the sense that there is a genuine plague affecting Thebes. The health in Thebes only occurs at the end of the play when the plague has disappeared and after Oedipus blinds himself. While others may have let the plague take its course, Oedipus decided to consult the oracle in Delphi, after seeing his people suffering. The plague is causing the fruit not to ripen, miscarriages, and death (Sophocles Lines 190-211). According to Apollo the only way for the plague to end is if the citizens of Thebes “Drive the corruption from the land, don’t harbor it…show more content…
Even though Oedipus does not realize it yet, he completed half of the prophecy that he was predestined to. When Oedipus arrived at Thebes, he was able to solve the Sphinx’s riddle, and was viewed as a hero and wise and was rewarded with the slain king’s widow, his mother (Sophocles 638). At this point Oedipus has basically sealed his fate of fulfilling the prophecy without realizing it. Leading to the assumption that we as people unwittingly create the fate that we fear and abhor in life. When confronted with the prophecy Laius, Jocasta, and Oedipus had two choices in how to handle it. The first choice was to live with it, and risk it coming true, by raising Oedipus as their son. The second choice was to avoid it, which all three of them tried to do. Thus raising the question of what would have happened if Laius and Jocasta raised Oedipus. If they raised Oedipus without him knowing about the prophecy, it may still have been destined to occur. If the prophecy took place only half of it may have occurred. Due to the fact that people would know that he was the one who killed his father he would most likely be punished for his actions. This would make the second half of the prophecy impossible, because he would be looked down upon and Jocasta would not have allowed this to happen. If they had raised Oedipus knowing about the prophecy a couple scenarios could have occurred. Oedipus may have resented it or in an attempt to prevent it, he left
Open Document