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Analysis Of Sophocles Oedipus Rex

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According to critic Northrop Frye, the most power in a story is wielded by tragic heroes and it’s because of this, that they’re capable of mass destruction of their surroundings. Tragic heroes are defined by their inevitable, unfortunate destinies. In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is defined by the fate given to him by the gods of eventually killing his father and marrying his mother. However, it’s his hamartias of desire for knowledge and truth and lack of self-identity, not the gods’ doing, that fulfill the prophecy and ultimately cause his tragic downfall. Furthermore, it’s because of the fulfillment of this prophecy that brings upon the suffering of the characters around him. The weight of a tragedy lies entirely in the hands of the audience.…show more content…
However, it isn’t until she commits suicide after her doubts are confirmed that her suffering finally adds deeper layers to the tragedy. During her fight with Oedipus, Jocasta says, “Stop- in the name of god, if you love your own life, call off this search! My suffering is enough” (222). This statement verifies that Jocasta already knew the truth about who Oedipus really was. She just wanted Oedipus to call off his search for the truth so that her suspicions couldn’t be confirmed and she could live in an eternal state of denial. The quote also indicates that she couldn’t tolerate the suffering that comes with realizing her horrible actions, explaining the reason why she commits suicide. Oedipus learns of her death right after learning about the truth, adding insult to injury. At his tipping point, while looking at his mother’s hanging corpse, he decides to add more insult to injury by blinding himself with her golden brooches.The weight of a tragedy lies entirely in the hands of the audience. It’s the intensity in their cathartic response that defines how tragic a play is. If the play hadn’t included Jocasta’s death or Oedipus’ blinding, the emotional release by the audience would not be nearly as meaningful as it would be if it did include those things. The suffering of Jocasta adds another dimension to the tragic vision of the play by evoking a larger catharsis from the…show more content…
Creon tells Oedipus what is responsible for the plague saying, “Banish the man, or pay back blood with blood. Murder sets the plague-storm on the city… ‘Pay the killers back- whoever is responsible’” (164). Creon says that the only way to stop the plague is by getting rid of the man who killed King Laius. This implies that the plague on the city was caused by the kingslayer, who happens to be Oedipus. In other words, Oedipus is causing sickness and death to the millions of inhabitants of the very city he wants to save just by residing there. This entire city suffers due to Oedipus’ flaw of not knowing who he is. Again, this adds to the audience’s emotional response as the level of suffering in the play increases monumentally due to sheer magnitude of those who are negatively affected by Oedipus’ actions. However, the suffering of Thebes not only causes the weight of the tragedy to amplify, it also permits Oedipus’ tragic conclusion to materialize, allowing for the suffering of Oedipus, Jocasta, and their children. Without the suffering of the city, Oedipus would have never endeavored on his mission to figure out who murdered King Laius and therefore he never would have found out about the horrifying acts he committed. His tragedy is entirely grounded on the premise that he will realize his actions. Without his epiphany, there
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