ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

Oedipus the King

Essay by   •  August 31, 2010  •  Essay  •  4,610 Words (19 Pages)  •  2,211 Views

Essay Preview: Oedipus the King

Report this essay
Page 1 of 19

Sophocles \\\"Oedipus the King\\\" is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mother. The story of Oedipus was well known to the athenian's. Oedipus is the embodiement of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, and strong willed. Ironically these are the very traits which bring about his tragic discovery. Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus' life and to further

characterized him as a tragic man.

The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of thebes: \\\"What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest?\\\" Oedipus correctly answered \\\"Man\\\" and became the king of Thebes. This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being.

Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius who was taken to the mountain by a shepard to be killed so the omen of the god apollo that Laius' son would kill him and lay with Jocasta would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If it has not been for the shepard spairing his life and giving him to Polybus to raise as his own Oedipus would have died.

Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them. Inadvertently Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of thebes and his own mother. Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes. Oedipus is told by the gods to find the killer of Laius. He is very dilligent in the inquiriy and finally comes to the horrible truth that he himself is the murderer. Jocasta kills herself at the horrible realization that she has laid

with her son and Oedipus puts out his eyes at finally seeing the truth. This fulfills the final part of the Sphinx's riddle for Oedipus will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life because of his blindness, this will give him the 3 feet which man walks with at the end of his years.

Oedipus used his intellect and diligence to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Many of the most intelligent young men of thebes has been killed attempting to answer the riddle but Oedipus proved his intelligence superior to theirs. Oedipus uses the same intelligence and perseverance

to find the killer of Laius. He does not give up his search even when Jocasta warns him to stop and let the matter rest. He calls the shepard and interrogates him till he discovers the horrifying truth that he is the killer. Oedipus' intelligence was ultimately his flaw. Also, if Oedipus had not had been as coarageous he would have have never ventured to answer the riddle of the Sphinx. Thus even though he had killed his father he would have never become king of Thebes and laid with his mother. In addition, if Oedipus had had the courage but not the intelligence the Spinx would have killed him for answering the riddle incorrectly. Sophocles used this to characterized Oedipus as a tragic man for he came about his tragic discovery not because of an evil act or an evil trait but because of the person he was. Oedipus traits which gave him riches and power ultimately led to his tragic ending. Also, the god apollo did not predestine that Oedipus would kill his father and

marry his mother by the oracle, he only stated what he knew was inevitable because of who Oedipus was.

The sphinx's riddle was used by Sophocles to characterize Oedipus as a tragic man and as a parallel to his life. The riddle describes the 3 stages which Oedipus went through in his life. Also in answering

the riddle Oedipus inevitable brought about his own tragic ending by a horrible discovery.

Oedipus the King by Sophocles is more than just a plain tragedy. This play is a suspense thriller, where every character involved with Oedipus learned that fate is determined only by the gods. In this specific play, Apollo was deciding god that predicted the fate of every person in the city of Thebes. This book represents a symbol of the lives of many, showing that you can not run away from fate because it decision that will forever remain. It was written in the honor of, the god of theater, Dionysos. Also, for the annual festival where playwrights competed for prizes. It was a major public occasion, with immense attendance expected.

This theatric happening was written in the turning point of the war that saved Greece from a huge Persian invasion. The actual time period when this play was performed was not recorded. But, it was when mythology and tragedy in theatre became very interesting and popular to watch. There were two main settings. A town in main Greece called Thebes and another place called Corinth. At Thebes the play is mainly located in the exterior of Oedipus\\\' palace at Thebes.

The main characters in this book are Oedipus, Tiresias, As the story progresses, however, Oedipus\\\' power and pride are broken down. Some readers imagine a broken, pitiful old man who\\\'s been crushed by the avenging gods. From the script, it is clear that Oedipus is apparently handsome and well built. He is described as a \\\"tower of strength,\\\" and has a sharp way of looking at people. He is quick-tempered, and often acts recklessly and violently. His followers love him, and consider him a brilliant ruler because he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and brought ease to the city of Thebes as Oedipus became their savior. Oedipus also shows wisdom, love for his children and a reputation for high moral standards. We've come to this conclusion because even when the threat, of whoever killed Lauis would suffer, applied to him he still followed through with the punishments. He has a passion for truth, and shows courage in the face of disaster or conflict. These same noble qualities, however, lead to his tragic flaw and brought upon his downfall. His wisdom became hypocritical, and he refused to believe anyone who didn't agree with him. His love for his children becomes obsessive, and he refuses to see that he\\\'s married his own mother. His passion

...

...

Download as:   txt (19.9 Kb)   pdf (194.8 Kb)   docx (17.4 Kb)  
Continue for 18 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com
Citation Generator

(2010, 08). Oedipus the King. ReviewEssays.com. Retrieved 08, 2010, from https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Oedipus-the-King/1022.html

"Oedipus the King" ReviewEssays.com. 08 2010. 2010. 08 2010 <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Oedipus-the-King/1022.html>.

"Oedipus the King." ReviewEssays.com. ReviewEssays.com, 08 2010. Web. 08 2010. <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Oedipus-the-King/1022.html>.

"Oedipus the King." ReviewEssays.com. 08, 2010. Accessed 08, 2010. https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/Oedipus-the-King/1022.html.