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Misunderstanding: "Oedipus Rex" Essay

978 words - 4 pages

In "Oedipus Rex" by Sophocles we see many occasions where a reader or perhaps even a scholar can begin to get confused. However, Misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex takes time to look at some of the most debated events throughout the entire book. E.R. Dodd's transforms Oedipus Rex into a descriptive legible masterpiece. Within we find the answers to many key questions and elements which have plagued undergraduates and scholars for years, and perhaps even years to come."In what sense, if in any, does Oedipus attempt to justify the ways of God to man?" (Dodd's 35) This question is puzzling in itself yet, he seems to have come up with an answer or perhaps a system to begin to answer it. Within the system he begins to describe three key elements that almost ninety percent of people would fall into. If you begin to look at Oedipus Rex in this fashion it becomes clear what all the controversy is about. The first of the category is "proving"- that in the end we get what we deserve. This element is based on Oedipus himself. He was a bad man and of course bad people get what they deserve. Others say he was noble and just had fatal flaws that led him to his own demise.Than Dodd's brings us into an intriguing question how Oedipus Rex is "a tragedy of destiny." This question is held in high regards, even today we see it come into play. Can anyone actually control their own destiny? Maybe, but, perhaps a path is chosen as soon as we leave the womb, and once that catalyst is struck there is no turning back.Dodd's interpretation of Oedipus Rex is quite useful in understanding these key elements, his words have made it much easier for anyone to appreciate the concept Sophocles' was trying to get across. The only thing to do now is just to believe Dodd's reasoning however, this may be the hardest question of all."Was he a good man?"(Dodd's 37) this quote intrigued me because, he disproves this theory in the very next line. "Is to ask a simply meaningless question: since Oedipus never lived we can answer neither 'Yes' or 'No.' the legitimate question is 'Did Sophocles intend us to think Oedipus is a good man?" (Dodd's 37) As I look back upon the play, I now assume yes. Everyone in the play praises Oedipus never once banishing his name. It is a misconception that he is portrayed as evil, due to countless times this tale has been debated over. "What is not mentioned in the play does not exist." (Dodd's 37) Readers (including myself) lose themselves in what is written, and what they want to believe. This is a common fault because; we begin to ask questions which are not necessary. A work of an artist has views that the artist wants to get across, short and simple. Human nature begins to...

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