Oedipus Essay Examples
The Oedipus Cycle
Sophocles presents us with two men in the Oedipus Cycle, Oedipus, and his uncle Creon. Both are rulers of Thebes and share in their similarities as kings, fathers, and deservers of their fate; yet their similarities are few, while their differences number. Although Oedipus and Creon share these similarities: political, familial and religious (that is… View Article
The affects of secrets as seen in Ghost
Secrets are usually told to hide the truth. Every secret told in both Ghost by Henrik Ibsen and Oedipus the King by Sophocles lead to more yet larger secrets. In Ghost and in Oedipus the King, secrets and society invaded personal lives causing the destruction of reputation and morals. There were many secrets in Ghost… View Article
Rooted as it is in the fabric of social life
Have you found that the plays you have read vary from each other in the degree to which they present criticism of society? Consider the concerns of two or three authors in your answer. Anouilh’s “Antigone” and Aristotle’s “King Oedipus” both present varying degrees of social criticism. In ‘Antigone’, the role of the guards project… View Article
The tragic Hero
Oedipus, the classic Greek tragedy by Sophocles, is one in which the protagonist is portrayed as a tragic hero. The author does this by combining the elements of irony, personal tragedy and heroism. In the play, Oedipus’s character evokes pity because of his misfortune appears to be greater than he deserves hence the reader is… View Article
In Oedipus the king
Fate is an unavoidable part of a person’s life that may control who we are, what we do and what will happen to us. So, regardless of human actions and regardless of emotions and wishes, fate upon each humans being will occur. Fate can be undeserving and cruel, awesome and unchangeable, so much so that… View Article
In Milton’s paradise lost
Aristotle’s tragic hero has certain characteristics which can be applied to Oedipus the King and Milton’s Satan. Aristotle states that a tragic hero can be classified as a person that falls from the state of being happy to one of misery because of his own mistake. This can be seen in both Oedipus and Satan,… View Article
What caused the downfall of Oedipus?
The issues connected with religious roles and the roles of gods were relevant during the fifth century among Athenians. Along with development of humanism, a lot of people, especially those, who occupied high positions in Athens, started to consider themselves independent from the gods and their will. The controversy whether the lives of humans depend… View Article
I believe the main point Sophocles was trying to convey in the story “Oedipus Rex” was that you have to be accountable for your actions. He shows this by the use of dramatic, situational, and many more different kinds of irony. Sophocles also uses foreshadowing to show how Oedipus needs to be accountable for his… View Article
Oedipus the King
In Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, the themes of fate and free will are very strong throughout the play. Only one, however, brought about Oedipus’ downfall and death. Both points could be argued to great effect. In ancient Greece, fate was considered to be a rudimentary part of daily life. Every aspect of life depended and… View Article
Fate Vs. Free Will Antigone
Antigone, the play, fuels the debate whether fate is stronger than one’s free will. Antigone’s fate was to die fighting for respect of her family. At first, Antigone’s fate was to live, but her free will let her to choose to disobey Creon’s law about burying her brother. When she made the choice to go… View Article
Fate vs Free Will in Oedipus
In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus is responsible for the tragedy of his downfall. Fate and free will are two opposing ideas that Sophocles seamlessly blends into the play. Sophocles ultimately leaves it up to the audience to interpret the reality behind this argument. Oedipus is presented with a series of choices throughout the… View Article
SOME twelve years before the action of the play begins, Oedipus has been made King of Thebes in gratitude for his freeing the people from the pestilence brought on them by the presence of the riddling Sphinx. Since Laius, the former king, had shortly before been killed, Oedipus has been further honored by the hand… View Article
Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King)
Sophocles tells perhaps the most tragic of all tales pertaining to great families in Greece. The play is divided into three parts, namely: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colossus, and Antigone. The plays focus on how one family experiences seemingly endless, tragic circumstances leading them to despair and anguish. There are a handful of strong… View Article
A Remake Play of Oedipus
Oedipus Rex has always been one of the most intriguing and interesting plays that William Shakespeare has ever written. By combining a tragic with complex plots, the legendary playwright was able to establish himself as a classic poet known for psychological tragedies. A modern version of Shakespeare’s plays always produces an equally intriguing curiosity from… View Article
The story Oedipus the King
The story Oedipus the King has been known for its tragedy. Sophocles gave us a hero in the character of Oedipus who shows a greatness and strength of a man in body and mind. He is the main character in the story who undertakes a fight with faith and destiny. Oedipus was born to the… View Article
In Oedipus the King, are human beings presented as prisoners of fate?
Sophocles’ Oedipus the King doesn’t simply depict a man who discovers, to his horror, that he is powerless to direct his own life. 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. Fate certainly shapes characters’ lives in the play, but it does not determine them completely.
Prophecies consistently come true in Oedipus the King, which proves that fate is a real force in the world of the play. However, the paths humans take toward their pre-determined destinations remain for them to choose, as do the attitudes they adopt toward the gods’ decrees. 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’ play asserts that humans have the freedom to determine the quality of their own characters, if not always the outcomes of their lives.
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. The people of Thebes revere him as a wise and brave leader, a man who “lifted up [their] lives” by defeating the Sphinx. Except for the arrival of the plague, Oedipus seems to have a happy, prosperous life. By beginning the play here, at the height of Oedipus’s success, Sophocles not only makes Oedipus’s fall more dramatic and extreme: 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. No divine figure forces Oedipus to seek out Laius’s murderer or subsequently cast himself out of Thebes. The oracle from Apollo represents the only divine influence in the play, and even then several levels of human messengers stand between the god’s words and Oedipus’s ears.
Perhaps most telling, Oedipus himself doesn’t see himself as powerless. 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. “I am the land’s avenger,” he claims at one point. “I came by, Oedipus the ignorant, / I stopped the Sphinx!” he exalts. 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. He does their bidding—he “drive[s] the corruption from the land”—but he takes the situation one step further by deciding to blind himself first. When the Chorus asks what “superhuman power” drove him to commit such a horrible act, Oedipus exclaims, “The hand that struck my eyes was mine, / mine alone—no one else— / I did it all myself!” Oedipus does not seek to escape his punishment, but he does assert his right to exact that punishment as he sees fit. 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.