Sources Of Pleasure And Disqui Essay

1011 words - 4 pages

Sophocles, who was born in Colonus Hippius (now part of Athens), is thought by many modern scholars to be the greatest of the Greek tragedians. Around 430 BC, Sophocles wrote Oedipus Tyrannus, also known as Oedipus Rex. Oedipus Rex set the standard for Greek tragedy, and is regarded today as a work of genius. The philosopher Aristotle even went as far to consider it the most perfect of all the Greek tragedies. There are several reasons that this work is held in such high regard. One such reason is that it creates a healthy sense of confusion of pleasure and disquietude in the reader.Oedipus Rex takes place during the course of a day and uses flashback to fill in the details of the story. It tells of the cursed man Oedipus, who was born to Laius and Iocaste, the King and Queen of Thebes. It was prophesied by an Oracle that when Oedipus grew up he would kill his father, marry his mother, and father her children. Fearing this, Iocaste and Laius pierce the child's ankles and leave him on a hillside to die. Unknown to them, a messenger finds Oedipus and nurses him back to health. Eventually, Oedipus is adopted by the King and Queen of Colonus. When he grows up, unknowing of his adoption, he discovers his doomed fate from an Oracle. Seeking to escape it, he flees from Colonus. Once upon the road, Oedipus discovers his path blocked by a man, whom he perceives to be a robber. He kills this man, who turns out to be his father, and unknowingly fulfills the first part of the prophecy. Soon, he comes to Thebes, which is being terrorized by a terrible monster, the Sphinx. The Sphinx wanders the streets surrounding the city, asking travelers an unanswered riddle. Oedipus encounters the Sphinx, and answers its riddle, causing the Sphinx to kill herself in disbelief. The citizens of Thebes, who have recently found themselves kingless, appoint Oedipus king and give him Queen Iocaste for his wife as a reward. The couple live together happily and produce four children. Some years later, the city is beset by a terrible plague. It is prophesied that the only way to cure the city is to find the killer of the previous king, and bring him to justice. Oedipus, who wishes to solve the city's peril, relentlessly seeks out the answer to the problem. He soon discovers the hideous truth; he has killed his father, married his mother, and fathered her children. He returns home to find that his wife/mother has committed suicide, and, unable to deal with the reality of this wretched reality, he takes the broaches from her gown and gouges his eyes out.The gruesome details of this story make for several examples of disquietude. The most obvious example occurs when Oedipus Gouges his eyes out with Iocaste's broaches. This scene is vividly described by the Chorus of Theban Elders, "Deep, how deep you drew it then, hard archer, At a dim fearful range, And brought dear glory...

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