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Critical Analysis on Oedipus the King

Autor:   •  November 30, 2018  •  1,459 Words (6 Pages)  •  122 Views

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it even clearer that in this case the

problem was not that Oedipus did not have the information. The problem was what he believed

and what he thought he already knew.

After Oedipus sent Teiresias away in anger, he also spoke to others hoping to get answers

that would lead him in a different direction. Next, he speaks to his wife Jocasta. She tells the

story of Laius’ murder the way she had heard it from a witness who had escaped. She describes a

scene where “highwaymen,” overtake king Laius and his men at a place where three roads met.

They killed everyone but the witness who escaped to tell the kingdom what had happen.

However, the place that Jocasta described specifically “the meeting of three roads” reminded

Oedipus of something from his past. Before he became king, he had left his home in Corinth

because he was told that he was adopted. He went to see an oracle and they said that he would

one day kill his father and marry mother. To make sure this did not happen he decided not to go

home (despite finding out that his “parents” were not his parents). Instead, he headed off to

Thebes and at a meeting of three roads, he had a conflict with a few men and ended up killing

them. Of course, he still thinks that it could not have been him because he was by himself and

the story was about a group of men. I think that at this point even he can see that there’s a

problem but doesn’t want to accept it either because of a false sense of self-righteousness or

because he does not want to punish himself for the crime that he committed.

Now he is desperately searching for some kind assurance that he is not the murderer so he

calls in the witness from the king’s murder to make sure that actually was a group of men and

not just one. When the witness shows up he reluctantly tell them the he had been lying all these

years and that it actually was just one man who killed the king. Now Oedipus has no choice but

to accept the fact that he is the one at fault and he must punish himself. Sadly, this is not the end

of his tragedy. A messenger from his home in Corinth came and told them that his “father” had

died. Oedipus remembers the prophesy that he would kill his father but now his father is dead

and he had nothing to do with. So, either he had proved an oracle wrong or his father is a

different person entirely. When the messenger has further conversation with him it comes out

that Oedipus actually was adopted and was given to his stepparents by a shepherd who found

him on the mountain in between Thebes and Corinth. At this point Jocasta in uncomfortable

because she knows that it is the same place she sent her servant to leave her first child. She begs

them to stop talking but Oedipus does not yet understand what is going on. He is still blinded by

what he thought he knew. Jocasta leaves as the servant comes and tells Oedipus that his real

father was Laius making his wife Jocasta his real mother. Realizing the truth, he goes to seek out

Jocasta and finds that she has already hung herself. He the gouges his eyes out and banishes

himself from Thebes leaving the two sons he had with his mother tow share ruler ship.

The tragedy of Oedipus The King is truly a question a question of fate and it’s maker. As

Antigone, daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, says to her sister later on, “…do you know any evil

out of all the evils bequeathed by Oedipus that Zeus will not fulfil for the two of us in our

lifetime?” His life was all an evil prophecy. It’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if

he had made different maybe smarter choices. We can ever know whether it was possible for him

to change the outcome of his life or not and I think that that was Sophocles purpose in writing

this tragedy in the format that he did. Even back in the period of the Greek there were those who

questioned whether not our fates were predestined or not. However, we do know one thing that is

extremely evident in this play; choices are made based on what is believed.

Works Cited

“Oedipus the King by Sophocles” University of Virginia Library. 2007. Web. 6 Dec. 2008.

“Oedipus” 2017. Web. 30 Dec. 2017.

“Historical Context in Oedipus the King” Web. 4 Dec. 2017.

“Sophocles, Antigone”


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