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Oedipus Rex By Sophocles Essay

649 words - 3 pages

The tragic display of the life of Oedipus in Sophocles’ masterful work, Oedipus the King, flawlessly encompasses the consequences of fate and our obliviousness towards the future. As clarified by Bernard Knox, tragedy contends to “the problem of man’s true stature, his proper place in the universe”. Oedipus’s crimes against his family were not only fated to transpire, but they were outside of his control. Oedipus’s certainty of knowledge, his decisions based on this certainty, and cursed fate led to his inability of altering his future, therefore ensuring the prophecy.
Throughout the play, Oedipus believes he sees the truth. When acting upon the prophecy, he is certain he is preventing its assertions. However, because his life has been shrouded in lies, his actions can only lead him in the opposite direction, towards his inevitable fate. When speaking to Teiresias, the blind seer, Oedipus accuses him of lying and not having the knowledge he claims to attain. “Night, endless night, holds you in her keeping, so that you can never hurt me or any man who sees the sun” (Sophocles, 122). This ironic criticism from Oedipus not only demonstrates his lack of awareness, but also points out his hubris. However, Oedipus’s pride cannot be associated with guiltiness, for it is due to this absence of truth his life has maintained. In the end, when Oedipus finally grasps the truth, he cannot bear it, thus piercing his eyes. “Why was I to see when light could show me nothing sweet?” (144). The truth Oedipus perceives is devastating, and although he searched for it so intently, he never expected such a harsh reality.
Oedipus’s faulty assumptions led to his rash decisions. These decisions could only steer him on the road to his impending downfall. Because of Oedipus’s ignorance to the truth, he ultimately curses himself by charging the murderer of King Laius, who in reality was himself. “I charge...

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