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Oedipus the King

Critical Lens Essay It has been noted that, “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will. ” Fate is often thought to be predetermined by a higher being; it is inevitable. Free will is the complete opposite of fate, a person has the freedom to choose and decide his destiny. In the quote “the hand you are dealt” can be seen as fate, and “the way you play” is free will. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles shows that fate and free will go hand in hand. Jocasta and Laius, Oedipus’ parents, do not pay attention to the prophecy given by the prophet Teiresias.

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He tells them their fate; the new born baby will kill his father and marry his mother. Both Jocasta and King Laius take precautions to make sure this prophecy does not take place. They rid their new born baby by sending him off to a shepherd who in turn will put him on a mountain to die. However in the end Oedipus kills Laius, becomes king, and marries Queen Jocasta, just as the oracle said. It is free will that makes Oedipus’ parents send him off to the mountain. Little do they know, he is not killed and they still met their fate.

After Oedipus tells Jocasta about what he hears from Teiresias, Jocasta says “A prophet? In that case, rid your mind of your fear, and listen to me…there is no human being born that is endowed with prophetic power. And I can prove it to you – and in a few words… Don’t pay any attention to prophecies. If God seeks or needs anything, he will easily make it clear to us himself. ” (41) She tells Oedipus that the prophecy the oracle told her about the baby she had in the past does not come through. While, Oedipus is standing right before her eyes and uses a true prophecy to defend her claim.

Oedipus himself makes choices that move him one step closer to his ultimate fate. “Now my curse on the murderer, whoever he is a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step…” (different version of book around 15-16). Here, King Oedipus wants to rid the country of its defilement and he tries to scare the people into leaving. All he does is curse himself, not once, but twice. Oedipus tells the people of Thebes that whoever is the killer of Laius, he is going to send him to exile in the mountains.

It is his choice to call down a curse. Unfortunately, he is shameful once he finds out he is the killer, and sends himself to exile. Sophocles does an amazing job at showing how stubbornness can lead to an ill-fated unveiling of information. Teiresias grows impatient with Oedipus and says “You are the murderer, you are the unholy defilement of this land. ” He tells him the truth after he pressures him to. Once he hears this, he does not believe what he is hearing; he is blind to the truth, so he mocks Teiresias.

After Teiresias is fed up with Oedipus he calls out another prophecy “this man whom thou hast sought to arrest with threats and warrants this long while, the wretch who murdered Laius–that man is here. He passes for an alien in the land but soon shall prove a Theban, native born. And yet his fortune brings him little joy; for blind of seeing, clad in beggar’s weeds, for purple robes, and leaning on his staff, to a strange land he soon shall grope his way. And of the children, inmates of his home, He shall be proved the brother and the sire, Of her who bare him son and husband both, Co-partner, and assassin of his sire.

Go in and ponder this…” (online 444-461) Teiresias knows exactly what was to come of him. King Oedipus’ future would have been different if he was humble and took his word. If Oedipus believed that he was the killer from the very beginning, he would not be so surprised to find out by himself he could have sneaked out of Thebes unharmed. As soon as he made that choice fate bit him back. It was his choice to not believe Teiresias and he suffered in shame because of it. Sophocles wants the reader to see that the more you try to run away from fate, the harder fate will bite you back later.

If you are dealt cards in a game, poker for example, the person who deals the cards may already know what your fate may be; you will either win or lose. No matter how much you try to fool your opponents your cards will always be the same. You can’t trade them back in. This works in life as well, not only in Oedipus the King. One is born into a family and where and when he is born is something he will never be able to change. He may fool his classmates if he is ashamed of it, but the truth will most likely come out.

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Oedipus the King

The drama, Oedipus the King, is an unambiguous instance of Hellenic calamity. A calamity ought to hold certain elements as instituted by Aristotle and they are ‘ secret plan, tragic hero, tragic flaw, anagnorisis, peripetia and katharsis.

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Oedipus is the tragic hero in the drama due to the facts that he is born into aristocracy, he possesses gallantry ‘ ( he gets rid of the sphinx and liberates Thebes ) , he is accountable for his destiny and he is destined to perpetrate a grave mistake in opinion that will finally take to his ruin.

The secret plan ( muthos ) can be simple or complex, must be of fixed continuance, must follow a definite construction or format and must organize the psyche or kernel of the drama. A secret plan sans peripeteia and anagnorisis is a simple secret plan, whereas a secret plan with peripetia or anagnorisis or both is complex. The drama, Oedipus the King, is complex since it has both peripetia and anagnorisis. The secret plan of the drama is Oedipus ‘ desire to free Thebans from pestilence and his declaration and pursuit to unveil the truth, that is, to revenge the decease of their former male monarch Laius.

Hamartia is Greek for a ‘tragic defect ‘ . Hamartia brings about the ruin of the tragic hero, Oedipus in this instance. Oedipus, out of hubris ‘ pride and arrogance, inadvertently commits patricide.

The drama consists of Peripeteia – the complete reversal of secret plan or purpose. This happens when the courier from Corinth, in an attempt to soothe the King tells him that he is non Polybo ‘s boy. The courier gives this information with good purpose, but this leads to Oedipus cognizing the horrid truth of the Acts of the Apostless – slaying and incest he committed unwittingly.

In the chase of truth, Oedipus finally discovers that it was none other than he who had slain Laius, the ex-king and his biological male parent and had married his ain female parent. This is the Anagnorisis which means acknowledgment.

After recognizing the offenses he had committed, Oedipus gouges his eyes and his married woman Jacosta, who happens to be his biological female parent every bit good, bents herself. The ruin of the tragic hero owing to his Hamartia instills fright and commiseration in the audience, which is the Catharsis ( purging of emotional tensenesss ) . All these turn out decidedly that Oedipus the King is so a perfect illustration of calamity.

1. Exposition is the procedure of presenting the audience to the background of the secret plan and the struggle within the narrative. During expounding, the cardinal struggle is exposed and the cardinal characters are introduced. The initial scene for the drama, Oedipus the King – the Thebes castle is established. The Thebes metropolis is devastatingly attacked by pestilence and pyre. Creon, Oedipus ‘ brother-in-law brings the intelligence that he learns from Delphic Oracle that the slaying of the former male monarch, Laius, has non been avenged, and therefore the metropolis is besieged by the awful pestilence. Oedipus decides to seek the slayer and banish him in order to cleanse the metropolis and free it from the clasps of pestilence and pyre.

2. Oedipus, the tragic hero of the drama Oedipus the King, portrays assorted interesting features. When analysing his character, we can see that Oedipus reveals finding, choler, hubris ( pride, haughtiness ) and Hamartia ( tragic defect ) during different stages in the drama.

The sarcasm is that if Oedipus were non hell-bent on happening out the liquidator of the ex-king Laius, he would non hold discovered the horrid truth of his birth and life. Oedipus did possess a prized homo property which is finding. Besides his finding was directed towards a baronial cause ‘ to convey consolation to his people by acquiring rid of the pestilence that beset Thebes. Here Oedipus after cognizing that the liquidator of the ex-king Laius has to be banished does exactly what a good male monarch is supposed to make.

Oedipus ‘ choler or pique or fury was instrumental in his unintentional slaying act of his biological male parent, King Laius, at the hamlets. This unrestrained choler was chiefly instrumental in destroying Oedipus. His choler is besides noted when he yells at Creon and Tiresias for giving him the bad intelligence.

Hubris is pride and haughtiness. Oedipus is ill-famed for hubris and he has every ground to be like that excessively. He so liberated Thebes from the Sphinx. By salvaging Thebes from the Sphinx, Oedipus exhibited gallantry and this justifies the pride he had. In fact the worst thing what Oedipus did out of hubris was when he denied his destiny. The Oracle of Delphi did in fact tell him long earlier that he was fated to perpetrate patricide and incest. Oedipus tried to debar the results of destiny by running off from Corinth which on the contrary to what he wished led him to slay his biological male parent Laius and get married his female parent Jacosta. Oedipus ‘ tragic flaw ‘ tragic defect is therefore nil but his hubris or pique owing to which he kills his male parent Laius and all the travellers who accompanied him.

1. Example of boding in the drama, Oedipus the King ‘ Foreshadowing plays a important function in playwriting by mounting the tenseness by adding suspense component to the proceedings. Boding or boding provides intimation in progress. In dramas, boding greatly helps to make tenseness, to make atmosphere and to add unity and trustiness to a character. There are several cases of boding in the drama Oedipus, the King. Thebes is beleaguered with pestilence and when a deputation is sent to Apollo, Greek God of prognostication, poesy, music and healing, to happen the cause for the pestilence, they come to cognize that the liquidator of the ex-king of Thebes, Laius has to be found and punished. This prefiguration defines the initial scene for the drama and besides gives a impulse for the secret plan to come on. This type of prefiguration is of class an illustration of act of God. Another type of prefiguration is when the blind visionary Tiresias blames Oedipus to be the cause for the pestilence. This charge adds farther suspense to the drama and thereby saddle horses the tenseness every bit good. Yet another 1 is when Oedipus out of fury answers to Tiresias that he lost his power and is stone-blind so. But in the terminal, it is Oedipus who becomes precisely what he said to Tiersias. These are the several cases of boding in the drama, Oedipus the King.

2. Oedipus is non an guiltless victim and he so bears some duty in the result of his life. Oedipus ‘ unrestrained pique is one head ground that led to his murdering of his male parent Laius in a route fury incident. This pique is a authoritative illustration of Hamartia – the tragic defect that finally led to Oedipus ‘ ruin. He was so cognizant of the destiny that he is destined to slay his male parent and get married his female parent from the prophet. Despite this, he, out of sheer fury and in a vain effort to deny destiny, runs off from Corinth and later ends up killing his male parent unwittingly. If he had controlled his pique, he could hold averted slaying his male parent. If he had non run off from Corinth he would non hold encountered his male parent Laius on the manner, he would non hold liberated Thebes from Sphinx and thereby falsified both the prognostications ‘ killing his male parent and get marrieding his female parent.

3. Peripeteia, reversal of luck in the drama Oedipus the King is when the courier Corinth in order to assist Oedipus informs him that Polybus and Merope were non his biological parents. This information meant to soothe Oedipus instead merely produces the contrary consequence by offering the critical information that helps bring out the fact that Oedipus did in fact slaying his male parent and get married his female parent.

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