This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Oedipus The King Essay

1460 words - 6 pages

Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King is one of the most famous and influential of Sophocles' plays. On the surface of this drama there is, without a doubt, a tone of disillusionment. Dramatic irony is a much-used literary device in this play and its unusual structure serves as an explanation for its enduring popularity. Oedipus is portrayed as a character of social conscience whose tragedy stresses the vulnerability of human beings whose suffering is brought on by a combination of human and divine actions. The central theme is the incest of Oedipus with his mother; and then, the killing of his father. Depending on how one reads the intricacies and vagueness of Athenian culture and the author's questionable character, Sophocles, in this play about King Oedipus, is viewed as either virtuous or immoral.
The most common interpretation of Sophocles' Oedipus the King maintain that the incestuous conduct that takes place between Oedipus and his mother and the murderous act he commits against his father are viewed morally. Consequently, the notion is given that Oedipus commits a sin by sleeping with his mother and killing his father, and is punished because of it. Others will argue that this sort of moral interpretation is, in fact, wrong as further research into the translation of the play reveals a rationalization of an entirely different perspective. In his individual analysis of Oedipus the King, D.W. Myatt articulates in his introduction that, "The essence of this particular Greek tragedy lies in the realm of the gods, with the relationship between individuals, their communities, and the gods. The incest in particular is merely an interesting incident which occurs to a particular mortal and whose importance lies in the realm of prophecy - in what prophecy says about the will of the gods and the fate of mortals" (paragraph 3). On Oedipus' morality Myatt offers this interpretation:
"The tragedy lies in the fact that Oedipus was not initially disrespectful of the gods - he tried to avoid killing his father, and sleeping with his mother; and when he learns that the oracle at Delphi has said that the plague which is killing the people of Thebes is the result of a defilement which has not been cleaned [the blood is still on a killer's hand] then he is ready to do all that the god says is necessary" (paragraph 5).
Myatt's translation of this Sophoclean tragedy concludes, "mortals cannot be delivered from the misfortunes of their fate" (paragraph 5). This analysis shed a new light on what should have been most obvious to any reader of Greek mythology. I found this interpretation of Oedipus the King both intriguing and interesting in that it heightened my awareness that the Greek Myths are our window into the distant past; a view of a world that existed not only in the mind of the Greek playwrights but in the hearts of the humble and long suffering natives of ancient Greece.
Many critical theories can be applied to Sophocles' Oedipus the...

Find Another Essay On Oedipus the King

Oedipus the king 2 Essay

635 words - 3 pages Oedipus' Hamartia Aristotle once said that a hero's downfall must be a result of some tragic flaw within the character. This flaw was known as hamartia in the Greek world of Aristotle. Since Aristotle greatly admired Oedipus the King, many people believe that Oedipus must have had a prominent and complex hamartia. Discovering Oedipus' hamartia within the play is not an easy task. In fact, it is impossible to point out Oedipus' hamartia since I

Oedipus The King Essay

881 words - 4 pages Oedipus the King Fate is a very crucial aspect of everybody's life. All people have their fate predetermined for them by God before they are even born. Some times a person can control what happens to him/her but only to a certain extent. The reason that some happenings are controlled to an extent goes to the fact that all other aspects in life are controlled by a higher power. There are so many occurrences in life that may not be introduced to

Oedipus the King

1019 words - 4 pages WangRuiqi WangLangCTI 35029 September 2014Oedipus the King by Sophocles focuses on the unfortunate demise and consequences a prophecy brings in the life of Oedipus. From his birth, Oedipus is fated with eventually murdering his father and marrying to his mother. Sophocles inconspicuously inserts symbolism to let the audience investigate the relation between the symbols and the prophecy. One such symbol, the crossroad, represents the calamitous

Oedipus the King

683 words - 3 pages What if even before someone was born his or her fate was already set? What would that person do? What changes would they make, or what things would people around them do to try to make this person’s fate not come true? The character, Oedipus, in the book Oedipus the King by Sophocles has to deal with this exact situation. Before Oedipus is born, his parents receive an uncanny prophecy, which states that their child would grow up and kill his

Oedipus the King

930 words - 4 pages Throughout Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, there are many references to sight, blindness, and seeing the truth. Characters, such as Tiresias, are able to accurately predict what Oedipus’ fate will be through their power to see the truth in a situation. Oedipus maintains a pompous and arrogant personality throughout the play as he tries to keep control of the city of Thebes and prove the speculations about his fate as falsities. Ironically

Oedipus The King

1095 words - 5 pages continue to strive for that goal you set. In Oedipus the King, the main character, Oedipus, is determined to seek out and find the slayer of the preceding king to him. In the book he puts his mind to it and eventually finds out who the person is, but the end result is not the one that he had planned on. Throughout the story Oedipus displays three characteristics of a tragic hero.The first aspect that Oedipus exhibits of the tragic hero standards is

Oedipus the King - 1039 words

1039 words - 5 pages The tragic drama Oedipus the King is regarded as one of Sophocles (495 and 405 B.C.) greatest and surviving plays. Written between 420 and 430 B.C., the Greek tragedy tells a story about an immortal’s attempt to defy the ill fate that his gods bestowed upon him. He became a fugitive, only to later uncover the roots of his birth, and find himself in the ruins foretold. From murder to vengeance, a stranger to the land he rules, proves to be native

Oedipus the King - 1737 words

1737 words - 7 pages The tragedy of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King is not only that of a man exposing the horrific truth behind his past. The greatest tragedy is the ever-changing perception of Oedipus, by both the citizens of Thebes, and the play’s audience. Oedipus exudes a gross amount of self-confidence and ego, leading to narrow vision with no room for the perspectives of Tiresias, Jocasta or Creon, thus insuring his own demise. By the end of the play, the

Oedipus the king 3

523 words - 2 pages Oedipus the King "Ankle Theory" The classification of "Oedipus the King" as a tragedy requires it to meet certain criteria pertaining to the main character, Oedipus. Oedipus must have no control over the situation which he is in, he has to have been harmed by someone for doing nothing or doing what is just, and he must come to an end in which he is utterly lost, or dies without resolving the situation. I believe all three of these criteria can

Sophocles' Oedipus the King

1256 words - 6 pages direction to fulfill it. One’s Destiny is always planned, and not even the mighty Oedipus has the power to use freewill. Furthermore, the Gods did not stop after his birth, nor did they finished after these years as a young man, they will always hold him to his dreadful Destiny. After Oedipus took flight from his home in Corinth, he stumbled upon another disaster in his distressed state of mind. Threatened and pushed by the King of Thebes’ caravan

"Oedipus the king" essay

612 words - 2 pages ...for Loxias declared that the King should be killed by his own son." This directly proves humans "powerful" vulnerability into believing things, and shows how Oedipus' fate aroused.In addition to Jocosta, characters like Creon, wealthy and educated, also helped in the encouragement of the fates, Oedipus', denial. Creon was fooled into believing the "myth" that many thought was vanished. He spoke with pride and superiority with Oedipus, assuring

Similar Essays

The Hubris King Oedipus Essay

1278 words - 6 pages The role of hubris has presented itself in the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, we learn that Oedipus is a hubris king who tries to control the gods and avoid his fate. Hubris is defined as excessive personal pride which we see in Oedipus throughout the play. As the play progresses further, Oedipus hubris overwhelms him and he gets into dangerous situations. His pride as king blinds him from the truth as he goes directly to his downfall

Oedipus The King Essay

628 words - 3 pages Oedipus the King: Free Will or Fate? A common debate that still rages today is whether we as a species have free will or if some divine source, some call it fate, controls our destiny. The same debate applies to Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. Does Oedipus control his actions, or are they predetermined by the gods? It's that question that makes Oedipus a classic, and many different people think many different things. With all the

Oedipus The King Essay 653 Words

653 words - 3 pages King Oedipus, mindful that a dreadful spell has fallen in Thebes, directs his brother-in-law, Creon, to pursue the advice of Apollo, the sun god. Creon tells Oedipus that the spell will vanish if the murderer of Laius, the previous king, is found and prosecuted. Laius was murdered several years ago at a crossroads. Oedipus devotes himself to finding and prosecution of Laius’s murderer. Oedipus questions a variety of reluctant citizens

Oedipus The King Essay 635 Words

635 words - 3 pages Oedipus' Hamartia Aristotle once said that a hero's downfall must be a result of some tragic flaw within the character. This flaw was known as hamartia in the Greek world of Aristotle. Since Aristotle greatly admired Oedipus the King, many people believe that Oedipus must have had a prominent and complex hamartia. Discovering Oedipus' hamartia within the play is not an easy task. In fact, it is impossible to point out Oedipus' hamartia since I