The Psychological Connection to Oedipus the King

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Poet and Scholar Robert Graves wrote in 1995, “Myth has two main functions. The first is to answer the sort of awkward questions that children ask, such as ‘Who made the world? How will it end? Who was the first man? Where do souls go after death?’…The second function of myth is to justify an existing social system and account for traditional rites and customs.” Oedipus the King written by Sophocles in 430 B.C. focuses around the second function that Graves noted. The play has been around for centuries, has evoked psychological theories, and will remain a classic. Sophocles has managed to touch on social, ethical, psychology, and more importantly philosophical issues in one play. Perhaps one of the most popularly known psychologist, Freud, was able to develop the theory that every child has a desire to sleep with their mother and kill their father. This is called the "Oedipus Complex". Oedipus the King tests all psychological boundaries for the reader by evoking self identification through the tragic concept of fate and using the literary tool of the chorus to internalize all of the emotion. The play starts out with the destruction of Oedipus' town, Thebes. The citizens seek their king, Oedipus, to resolve the issue as he had done in the past with the Sphinx. At this point Oedipus' brother, Creon, returns with the oracle's news. In order for the plague to be lifted from the city the murderer of Laius must be discovered and punished. As king, Oedipus curses the undiscovered murder and promises to punish him. As a means for help Oedipus sends for Tiresias who is the towns blind prophet. This is where the foreshadowing begins. In an attempt to protect Oedipus, the prophet does not disclose what he has seen in his visions. Oedip... ... middle of paper ... ...od writing will draw the reader in on a personal level, allowing them to play out the scenarios. Works Cited Delcayre, Celine. "The
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 Theatre." Sonoma.edu. N.p., 21 Mar. 2012. Web. 6 Nov. 2013. "Greek Mythology." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 3 May 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2013. Naiburg, Suzi. "Between Fate and Destiny: Oedipus and Reactive Certainty in the Consulting Room." ProQuest. N.p., 01 Aug. 2006. Web. 4 Nov. 2013. Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. By Michael Meyer. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 1125-166. Print. Vernant, Jean Pierre., and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Myth and Tragedy. New York: Zone, 1988. Print. Zachrisson, Anders. "Oedipus the King: Quest for Self-knowledge." ProQuest. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

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