Oedipus the King

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“We are most unwilling to accept mystery, what cannot be reduced to other and more intelligible forms. Yet that is what we find here: something irreducible, therefore perpetually to be interpreted; not secrets to be found out one by one, but secrecy” (Kermode 143). In the play Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, we see the difference between secrets and secrecy that Kermode talks about. In the play we see that those who pursue the truth, corrupt the uncovering of the hidden unknown with their assumptions and perceptions. When confronted with the mystery of Oedipus’s past, both the reader and Oedipus seek the truth, but come to a resolution that is tainted with their supposition rather than the truth. Oedipus and the reader evince the innate illusion of human thinking when encountering secrecy: forcing ones own preconception onto the truth. Through reading the play Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, the reader can determine that seeking the answers to secrets with the basis of human reasoning induces the resentment of secrecy: no truth stands today that has not been corrupted with some part of self-assumption. Oedipus tries to uncover the truth about his past, but it is only obscured from his vision by his beliefs, this further demonstrates that he, along with the reader, do not have the ability or knowledge to reveal any infallible answers. An example of this is when Oedipus discovers the fate of King Laius. Oedipus swears to vindicate the cities prior king, saying, “I forbid that man, whoever he be, my land, my land where I hold sovereignty and throne… Upon the murderer I invoke this curse – whether he is one man and all unknown, or one of many – may he wear out his life in misery to miserable doom” (Sophocles 1565). W... ... middle of paper ... ...ainst Oedipus or an adversity of Oedipus’s inadvertent murder, have flaws. Sophocles left the play the way it is so that, regardless any effort of retranslating the play or changing the meaning, it would only show that assumptions have been made. Sophocles writes Oedipus the King allowing for many different perceptions to be made to show the reader his or her own vulnerability to a secret. Sophocles leaves the reader in the same boat as Oedipus, whose only answer to his problem is a mirror image of himself. Another form of revealing a secret is through interpretation and for that reason, what is revealed has no authentic meaning. However, because Oedipus the King is an illustrious play, the reader either knows the ending or can make assumptions to what is happening. This leaves only the characters inside the play stuck to the mystery Sophocles intentionally designed.

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