See Article History Oedipus, in Greek mythologythe king of Thebes who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. Oedipus and the SphinxOedipus and the Sphinx, interior of an Attic red-figured kylix cup or drinking vesselc.
Rather, the play offers an example of how individual human beings can find ways to assert their independence within the limits determined by their destiny. Prophecies consistently come true in Oedipus the King, which proves that fate is a real force in the world of the play.
Long before the play opens, Laius and Jocasta left their son for dead to thwart the terrible prophecy that he would someday kill his father and marry his mother.
Similarly, when Oedipus learned of his fate, he fled Corinth, assuming that the prophecy applied to Polybus, the man he believed to be his biological father. In Oedipus the King, however, when Oedipus learns that it is he who must be cast out to save Thebes from the plague, he immediately agrees to submit to the decree and leave the city.
His decision seems partially motivated by an intense sense of shame and horror, but throughout the play Oedipus has demonstrated his commitment to his people, and his choice of exile seems equally driven by his desire to see Thebes spared.
The early choices he and his parents made may have been foolish and arrogant, but his final choice affords him a measure of tragic dignity. Sophocles foregrounds the issue of human freedom by setting the play long after the initial prophecy has been fulfilled.
When the play opens, Oedipus has been living happily with Jocasta and their four children for many years. Except for the arrival of the plague, Oedipus seems to have a happy, prosperous life. He also shows that the crucial issue is not whether the prophecy will come true—it already did, long ago—but how the great Oedipus will personally handle the revelation of his crimes.
Tellingly, no gods appear in Oedipus the King, only humans. From the beginning, Oedipus has an overwhelming sense of his own, individual power, as indicated by his constant use of the first-person pronouns I and me.
Oedipus is a man of vigorous action, as demonstrated by the way he relentlessly pursues the truth, even as it becomes clear the truth may implicate him. When he finally learns that he unwittingly fulfilled the very prophecy he spent his life trying to avoid, Oedipus does not submit to the gods or surrender his agency.
Even as he is brought low, Oedipus refuses to relinquish power over his own life and body. Oedipus was saddled with a terrible curse through no fault of his own.
In this sense, his fate is arbitrary. His actions, however, are not. Oedipus cannot escape the specific points of the prophecy, but that prophecy only determines the limits of his freedom. Within its scope, he is free to act as he chooses. In this sense, Oedipus resembles his daughter Antigone, who must decide whether to exercise her personal choice and bury her brother, Polynices, despite the fact that the law will certainly condemn her to death.
Though Oedipus the King and Antigone were written over two millennia ago, they continue to offer us models of how individuals can and must exercise their freedoms of choice, even in the face of such powerful forces as law, fate, or the gods.This webpage is for Dr.
Wheeler's literature students, and it offers introductory survey information concerning the literature of classical China, classical Rome, classical Greece, the Bible as Literature, medieval literature, Renaissance literature, and genre studies.
2 a: the state or fact of having being especially independently of human consciousness and as contrasted with nonexistence the existence of other worlds. b: the manner of being that is common to every mode of being.
c: being with respect to a limiting condition or under a particular aspect. - The Tragedy of Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex is a tragedy that illustrates a man's sense of justice.
The same man is also paranoid and impulsive. In the text, he overcomes his negative characteristics and succumbs to his greater sense of justice and responsibility. It is reflected in the very titles of the works that have developed this particular viewpoint: Unamuno's The Tragic Sense of Life, the answer is not that Oedipus is a sinner being punished by righteous gods, or an innocent man being destroyed by malign gods, or a man trapped by subconscious sexual jealousy of his father or --as the Chorus.
Sophocles’ audience would, of course, have known the story of Oedipus, which only increases the sense of complete inevitability about how the play would end.
It is difficult to say how justly one can accuse Oedipus of being “blind” or foolish when he seems to have no choice about fulfilling the prophecy: he is sent away from Thebes as a.
Oedipus Rex, also known by its Greek title, Oedipus Tyrannus (Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος IPA: [oidípuːs týranːos]), or Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed around BC.
Originally, to the ancient Greeks, the title was simply Oedipus (Οἰδίπους), as it is referred to by Aristotle in the Poetics.