Oedipus the King

552 Words3 Pages
Man controls his fate by the choices that he makes. In being able to chose what his own actions are, fate is a result of his decisions. In Oedipus the King, the Greek writer, Sophocles, uses characterization and dramatic irony to project a theme throughout the play providing the idea that man is responsible for his own fate. Sophocles lived 90 years, revealing a plethora of amazing, prize-winning tragic Greek plays. Sophocles was born near Athens in 496 BC, in the town of Colonus. He received the first prize for tragic drama over Aeschylus at the play competition held in 468. He wrote well over one hundred plays for Athenian theatres, and won approximately twenty-four contests. Only seven of his plays, however, have survived intact. From the fragments remaining, and from references to lost plays in other works, scholars have discovered that Sophocles wrote on an enormous variety of topics, and introduced several key innovations such as the man’s responsibilities for his own actions and how with that, he controls his own fate. Sophocles died in 406-5 BC(GreekCIV). Oedipus Rex is based upon an even more ancient story in Greek mythology. Sophocles, however, knowing that his audience is aware of the outcome of the play, utilizes that foreknowledge to create various situations in which dramatic irony plays a key role. Through his use of irony, Sophocles manages to avoid simply retelling an old tale, though the audience is knowledgeable of the story's end they are intrigued by the irony present in the story. “ It's all chance, chance rules our lives. Not a man on earth can see a day ahead, groping through the dark. Better to live at random, best we can. And as for this marriage with your mother—have no fear. Many a man before you, in his dreams, has shared his mother's bed. Take such things for shadows, nothing at all— Live, Oedipus, as if there's no tomorrow”(Sophocles 23.) This quote is significant because the point Sophocles is trying to get across as his theme of the story is the exact opposite of what the speaker is saying. Dramatic Irony is when the reader knows something that the character does not, which is shown in this example. The irony used in the play is extremely significant because it leads the reader deeper and deeper into the plot as all of the puzzle pieces of the story are placed together.

More about Oedipus the King

Open Document