Oedipus Rex

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In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles explores the conflict between a man’s intellectual reasoning and the universe beyond his grasp. This may seem like a generalization, but the play’s minor conflicts are arguably derivatives of the main struggle. As we would see, the fate or destiny that opposes Oedipus does not act directly on him, but creates a domino effect that through other conflicts drive him to face his destiny by unearthing his true identity. Similar to the Sphinx’s riddle that gave power to Oedipus, he must travel the different stages of life in order to “know thy-self” (Rudnytsky 264).

The play opens with what may seem like a trivial conflict between Oedipus and the forces of nature, but the plague and other misfortunes that afflicted Thebes brought the priests and citizens to request help from the king. This is the tipping point that unleashes a quest for the truth that ultimately leads to a confrontation between a man’s will and his destiny. As we would repeatedly see in the tragedy, the partial resolution of a minor conflict brings a new one that has greater implications than the previous one. Oedipus as a man of “intellectual prowess” that solved the great riddle of the Sphinx must save the city from misery and prove to its citizens, once again, that he is capable of dealing with such responsibility (Lewin). He is confronted with a society which only hope to solve its problems was the wisdom they saw in Oedipus. As described by Jennifer Lewin, Oedipus demonstrating his “admirable leadership skills and noble intentions”, had already sent Creon to seek for the god’s will when the priest requested action.

Even though, Oedipus preferred man’s reasoning instead of the god’s advice there were several issues for which he respec...

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...osing a fate caused the actions which led to it could we say it is truly destiny?

Works Cited

DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry and Drama. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Lewin, Jennifer. "An overview of Oedipus Rex." Drama for Students. Detroit: Gale. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Feb. 2010.

Letters, F. J. H. "The Oedipus Tyrannus." The Life and Work of Sophocles. London: Sheed and Ward, 1953. 201-230. Rpt. in Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 86. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 Feb. 2010.

Rudnytsky, Peter. Freud and Oedipus. Columbia University Press. New York, 1987.
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