Morality In Oedipus Rex Essay

1701 words - 7 pages

In both the current era and the time of the ancient Greeks Sophocles’ play Oedipus Tyrannus is seen as the quintessential model of Greek Tragedy. This is due to the intricate questions of morality that are masterfully woven into the literature and the fact that “perhaps no classical Greek play that has stimulated as much critical discussion” (Harris and Platzner Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.648). One of the dominant arguments the tragedy generates is whether Oedipus is responsible for the abhorrent crimes of patricide and incest. The answer to which is yes. To be human is to have choice and it is evident throughout the play that Oedipus’s reckless decisions are to blame for the violations against his parents. Due to Oedipus’s choices concerning his interactions with the oracle at Delphi, his shameful attack of a man on the road to Thebes, and predominantly his allowance of stubborn pride and blindness to overshadow the truth make him alone accountable for his crimes.

QUESTIONS THUS FAR: Citations in introduction? CHECK ON CITATIONS!!!! And check on how well the ideas flow and if I am really answering the question properly,

Oedipus’s response to the oracle’s prophecy thrust him on to the tumultuous course of brutally murdering his father and sharing a bed with his mother. As a youth Oedipus travels to Apollo’s oracle at Delphi in the hopes of gaining insight into his own identity. This act of seeking out answers is completely Oedipus’s choice. It is not chance governed by fate and his decision is the foundation for the gripping tragedy that will consume him (Harris and Platzner, Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.649). The news the oracle delivers to Oedipus is catastrophic. He is told that he will “wed [his] mother” and “kill the father who begot [him]” (Oedipus Tyrannus, p.755&757). The blunt deliverance of this prophecy shatters Oedipus and he chooses to believe the oracle without doubt. Oedipus is incapable of clear thought and unfortunately it was of the utmost importance to criticize the oracle and act accordingly. Oedipus’s character suggests that he “believes all questions have answers and that humans can ascertain those answers by applying their wits and their logic”(Harris and Platzner Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.656). This being the case, Oedipus should have been able to avoid making a rash, senseless choice in his reaction to the oracle. Because of his complete faith in Apollo’s oracle, he immediately leaves Corinth in an attempt to avoid the despicable atrocity of killing his father and engaging in incest with his mother. Regrettably, it is this very action that charts his course towards a violent path of destruction. One can see that as a result of Oedipus’s recklessness he has allowed the prophecy to become “self-fulfilling” and if had not heeded the oracle’s forecast it would have never become a harsh reality (Harris and Platzner Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.649)....

Find Another Essay On Morality in Oedipus Rex

Morality in Oedipus Tyrannus Essay

1584 words - 6 pages In both modern times and the time of the ancient Greeks Sophocles’ play Oedipus Tyrannus is seen as the quintessential model of Greek Tragedy. The literature masterfully incorporates intricate questions of morality and “perhaps no classical Greek play has stimulated as much critical discussion” (Harris and Platzner, Classical Mythology: Images and Insights, p.648). One of the dominant arguments the tragedy generates is whether Oedipus is

Seeking Truth in "Oedipus Rex" Essay

1328 words - 5 pages seek the truth to matters that can have tremendous effect on their lives. The theme of seeking truth is one that is presented in the movie Oedipus Rex by Pier Paolo Pasolini which is based on Sophocles’ play Oedipus Tyrannus. The movie and play identifies the role of a man struggle with fate and seeking of the truth; he is destined a fate of killing his father and sleeping with his mother. Oedipus Rex demonstrates elements that Sigmund Freud

Dramatic Irony in Oedipus Rex

855 words - 3 pages In the Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex, Sophocles is able to generate the interest of the audience through a new interpretation of the classic myth, and the use of poetic language and dramatic irony. Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows certain things about the situation that the characters on stage do not. For example, in Oedipus Rex, the audience knows from the beginning that Oedipus killed his father and married his mother. This literary

Fate and Ignorance in Oedipus Rex

2570 words - 10 pages believe that "Oedipus has simply chosen to ignore a real possibility" (Daniels and Scully, 21). Howard Clarke said that "[Oedipus] reaches a point where he is, literally, the captive of what he is searching for." (Clarke, 593). He reached a "point in his search where he is carried along on the tide of his of his own discoveries" (Clarke, 593). A part from these interesting interpretations, Oedipus Rex can be read from cover to cover as a normal

Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex

759 words - 3 pages Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex is a play about the way we blind ourselves to painful truths that we can’t bear to see. Physical sight and blindness are used throughout the play, often ironically, as a metaphor for mental sight and blindness. The play ends with the hero Oedipus literally blinding himself to avoid seeing the result of his terrible fate. But as the play demonstrates, Oedipus, the man who killed his father

Ensnared by the Gods in Oedipus Rex

1146 words - 5 pages Ensnared by the Gods in Oedipus Rex    A citizen of Periclean Athens may not have been familiar with the term entrapment, but he or she would surely have recognized the case of Oedipus as such.  The tragedy of Oedipus is that he was ensnared by the gods.  As Teiresias points out, "I say that with those you love best you live in foulest shame unconsciouslyÖ" (italics mine)  God is continuously indicted for having caused Oedipusí troubles

Significance of the Women in Oedipus Rex

2769 words - 11 pages Significance of the Women in Oedipus Rex            Michael J. O’Brien in the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, maintains that there is “a good deal of evidence to support this view” that the fifth century playwright was the “educator of his people” and a “teacher”. Sophocles in his tragedy, Oedipus Rex, teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior,” (4) and uses three women to help convey these

The Importance of the Chorus in Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex"

1362 words - 5 pages "Oedipus Rex", written by Sophocles takes place in the city of Thebes. The chorus within the play represents, for the most part, the people of Thebes, giving them a significant role in the play. There are several specific purposes for which the chorus is utilized. These include providing the audience with background information and summaries of recent events, allowing for scene changes, entrances and exits and indicating the passage of time

The Incarnation of the Theory of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex

993 words - 4 pages ground on which the theory of tragedy is based. Actually Aristotle lays the foundations for the critical study of drama in his Poetics by drawing on Sophocles' plays most of the time, especially on Oedipus Rex. It is a fact clearly evident from this contextual standpoint that Oedipus Rex and consequently Oedipus, the hero of the play, serve as the most original incarnation--typical example--of the theory of tragedy. So the point now is whether or

Oedipus the King's Tragic Flaw in "Odeipus Rex" by Sophocles.

742 words - 3 pages "Oedipus Rex" is the classic play by Sophocles about the tragedy of a man by the name of Oedipus. After studying Oedipus Rex, interesting questions arise to mind. For example, why was Oedipus saved from death in the mountains when he was a baby? Does Oedipus' character flaws lead him to a tragic end? Also, what message can we get from this story today, as modern day interpreters?"It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, who brought to fulfillment all my

Horror and Self-punishment in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex

879 words - 4 pages Horror and Self-punishment in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex An ancient plate portraying Oedipus listening to the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus Rex is a play whose qualities of inscrutability and of pervasive irony quickly come to complicate any critical discussion. It is a play of transformations in which things change before our eyes as we watch; where meanings and implications seem to be half-glimpsed beneath the surface of the text only to

Similar Essays

Characters In Oedipus Rex Essay

651 words - 3 pages The classic, Oedipus Rex by Homer, has been labeled a classic for a reason. The story has a brilliantly written plot with zero flaws in its planning. Because of its lack of flaws, the story has zero holes or mistakes to be pondered upon. The story owes its brilliance to its characters. The characters within Homer’s Oedipus Rex carry massive amounts of symbolism and are very well thought through. King Oedipus, the king of thebes as well as the

Mythology In Oedipus Rex Essay

4184 words - 17 pages Mythology in Oedipus Rex           E. T. Owen in “Drama in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus” comments on the mythological beginnings of Oedipus Rex:   Professor Goodell says: “Given an old myth to be dramatized, Sophocles’ primary question was, ‘Just what sort of people were they, must they have been, who naturally did and suffered what the tales say they did and suffered?” That was his method of analysis (38).   The Greek

Structure In Oedipus Rex Essay

2448 words - 10 pages Structure in Oedipus Rex                M. H. Abrams says that “almost all literary theorists since Aristotle have emphasized the importance of structure, conceived in diverse ways, in analyzing a work of literature” (300). The matter of the structure of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is a subject of varying interpretation among literary critics, as this essay will reveal.   In “A Great Translator’s Reflections on Oedipus the King

Women In Oedipus Rex Essay

2876 words - 12 pages Women in Oedipus Rex               Charles Segal in Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge explains one of the pivotal functions of Jocasta in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex:   The second series begins with Jocasta. . . .Now Oedipus is pursuing the killer as possibly the same as himself. . . . In this set his goal shifts gradually from uncovering the murderer to discovering his own parents. The confidence and power