The Tragedy Of Oedipus The King

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Although Sophocles’ Oedipus the King seems to be a play merely focused on the tragedy that is the tale of Oedipus, it is actually a commentary on defying the gods for the reason that one is blindly believing in supernatural entities and allowing those entities to govern one’s fate. The tragedy of Oedipus the King revolves around a king’s downfall as he tries to save his people from utter destruction. His curiosity and drive to save his city brings him to the realization that not only has his entire life been a lie, but that he is ultimately what is bringing the city to ruin. The reader learns that this is due to his empire essentially being built on the fulfillment of a terrible prophecy in which he commits patricide and copulates with his…show more content…
I can’t accept him, can’t deny him, don’t know what to say, I’m lost, and the wings of dark foreboding beating-- I cannot see what’s to come, what’s still to come…(550-540)
Using imagery of a bird and it’s dark heavy wings, Sophocles alludes to the fear of being uncertain about the existence of gods. The words dark and foreboding play into the overall vagueness of the concept of supernatural beings. One only knows what an oracle or prophet decides to tell them because again they loom over mortals. Oedipus: ...why look to the Prophet’s hearth, the fires of the future? Why scan the birds that scream above our heads? They winged me on to the murder of my father, did they? That was my doom? (1054-57)
Oedipus is the epitome of the Athenian opinion and even atheism/agnosticism as he constantly patronizes believers of the gods. Instead of saying that they ensnared him to kill his father, he uses wordplay to also insinuate that Oedipus blames his misfortune on the gods and not himself, and for this reason he dismisses them. He is alluding to the gods ruling on Olympus while they toy with human’s lives. Oedipus’ irrationality is what leads him to attempt to take control akin to the Athenians of the time.

Subsequently, the topic of fate versus freewill arises as Oedipus tried to take control of his narrative. Sophocles writes fate and freewill in a way that makes them coexist in a paradoxical manner. Oedipus
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