Essay about The Downfall of Oedipus
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Oedipus Rex by Sophocles is regarded as a very highly studied Greek play. Even though it was written almost 2500 years ago, it is still widely studied by both students and scholars alike. Oedipus Rex has passed the test of time, because people today can still relate to the themes and feelings experienced by Oedipus in the play. One of the main themes is the downfall of Oedipus and what the cause of this downfall is. The main plot of Oedipus was well known to the Ancient Greeks before it was even written by Sophocles. When Oedipus was born, King Laius and Queen Jocasta received a prophecy about their son (Oedipus Rex 49). It was claimed that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. To try to prevent this prophecy they gave…show more content…
This man runs him off the road and Oedipus is outraged. As a result, Oedipus kills this unknown man and continues on his way. He arrives in Thebes where he is welcomed as a hero for destroying the Sphinx who was killing travelers on the road. He learns the news that the king of Thebes has recently been killed by a band of thieves. He marries the Queen and raises a family of two sons and two daughters, until fifteen years later, a plague infects the city. As the King of the country the people of Thebes look to Oedipus to fix this terrible plague that is troubling them and their families (Oedipus Rex 52). Oedipus has no idea what is causing this outbreak. He goes to Creon to try to figure out why this plague is occurring and how to stop it. Creon comes with bad news, stating that there is murderer in their presence and they must banish him from the city to bring an end from this horrible epidemic (Oedipus Rex 56). Oedipus goes on a rampage trying to find the murderer and banish him and avenge Laius death. "I'll fight for him, I'll leave no means untried, to catch the one who did it with his hand..." (Oedipus Rex, Ln. 270-271, page 1081) He feels such a strong urge to find the truth, and ironically the truth leads to his downfall. Oedipus’ great pride gives him confidence that he will find the murderer and once again be the hero of Thebes.
Oedipus’ hubris and confidence ultimately leads to his downfall. For example, he believes
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The dramatic purpose of the prologue is to place the audience I the middle of the action with as little friction as possible. All the information to continue and understand the play is placed at the beginning known as the prologue. It is much like the reverse scrolling at the beginning of star wars movies. Oedipus sees himself much like the parent of Thebes. He knows he has a natural benevolence in himself to be a good king and have general concern over the people of Thebes. He finds it to be his duty the care for the people when there is so much suffering in his country. His view is somewhat accurate in that he does care for the people of Thebes and it is out of the goodness of his heart but at the same…show more content…
While the two converse, Oedipus shows signs of great disbelief at the surprising prophecy. He is so headstrong in learning of his fate, but when his prognosis is less than ideal, he reacts in a very human manner. He may be somewhat stubborn in accepting his fate, but his outburst is understood. His reaction is not hated by the audience, because of this; Oedipus is more easily related in this scene. Who wouldn’t respond with disbelief upon being told such a prophecy?
On the surface it is clear who is blind and who is not. Oedipus has full capability of his eyesight while Teiresias is a blind old man who needs a young person to lead him everywhere. But the implications of that the ironies assert puts forth a situation of role reversal. Although Teiresias is a blind man, he is a prophet, capable of seeing what normal people with sight cannot. While Teiresias has a 20/20 view of the future, Oedipus might as well be staring at his own through a brick. He is incapable of viewing his own future. As a result the motif of vision plays a large part in the arguments in this dialogue. The two bicker over who has practical sight. Oedipus calls Teiresias a “sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man” while Teiresias retorts