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Oedipus Rex By Sophocles. Essay

3002 words - 12 pages

Oedipus Rex Sophocles is able to accomplish to achieve several objectives in his play, Oedipus the King. Sophocles brilliantly retells a classic Greek tale while also describing the characters and their motives in great detail. Of the characters Sophocles naturally spends the most time characterizing the protagonist of the play, Oedipus. Sophocles conveys Oedipus' ideals, moral, and opinions about several topics throughout the play. Among the most important and prominent of his beliefs that are revealed dealt with Oedipus' value of reasoning, intellect, and inquiry.Sophocles portrayed Oedipus as an amiable character that the Greek audience could sympathize with and perhaps even relate with. The audience saw a respectable figure, which did not seem to commit any blatant evil, come to his destruction. They saw an absolute tragedy. Sophocles ensured that the audience would view Oedipus as a respectable and plausible hero by giving Oedipus many of the popular sentiments of the time. These ideals were brought about by a philosophy that was thriving in Greece during Sophocles' lifetime. Most of Oedipus' notions, can be traced back to either the dialectic Socrates in who appeared in Plato's several works, or Plato's student Aristotle. These notions were being circulated throughout Greece during the time period which Oedipus was thought to be presented, making them common knowledge for the audience of the time (Friedlander 7).Of all the virtues that the Greeks, especially the Athenians held dear was wisdom, wisdom dealing with everything in life (Friedlander 8). Socrates spurned this Greek movement for wisdom when he not only proclaimed that wisdom is the one true virtue from which all other virtues originated, but he also put forth the notorious quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living."("Apology" 203) . Socrates throughout all of Plato's dialogues, advocated the importance of the wisdom and said that the desire for this wisdom is the only true path to divinity. Aristotle later contributed to the theory when he wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics, that wisdom separated mankind from the animals and wisdom placed the Greeks closer to the gods that they worshiped and admired (435). The Greeks constantly sought for this wisdom so that it may bring them to their greatest pleasure, the purpose in life, a true and final happiness, and the aim of their Eudaimonia. ("N.E." 397) The Greek audience for which Sophocles wrote could easily sympathize with Oedipus in his play. This is due to the fact that Oedipus was struck down from his pedestal while merely attempting to discover himself and in that process to attain wisdom and happiness. The goals for which Oedipus sought were noble goals that a majority of the audience members may have been seeking.The first step in achieving wisdom is the quest for self-knowledge, the quote on the base of the oracle's statue at Delphi, "Know Thyself"(Friedlander 5). This was the identity that Oedipus was seeking. According to...

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