The Role of Irony and Fate in Oedipus The King by Sophocles

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Plague and Health Another major theme in Oedipus the King deals with the ideas of plague and health. This theme can be taken as both literal, but metaphorical as well. This theme is literal in the sense that there is a genuine plague affecting Thebes. The health in Thebes only occurs at the end of the play when the plague has disappeared and after Oedipus blinds himself. While others may have let the plague take its course, Oedipus decided to consult the oracle in Delphi, after seeing his people suffering. The plague is causing the fruit not to ripen, miscarriages, and death (Sophocles Lines 190-211). According to Apollo the only way for the plague to end is if the citizens of Thebes “Drive the corruption from the land, don’t harbor it any longer, past all cure, don’t nurse it in your soul-root it out” (Sophocles Lines 109-111). This quote by Creon means in order for the plague to stop, they need to find the person who killed Laius and either kill him or exile him. This may make the audience assume that the source of the plague is the killer of Laius. Oedipus unknowingly sentences himself to exile or death by agreeing to this in order to end the plague. Oedipus originally agreed to do this because he feared that “Whoever killed the king may decide to kill me too, with the same violent hand-by avenging Laius I defend myself” (Sophocles Lines 157-159). He was basically just trying to save himself more than he was trying to save the citizens of Thebes. The idea of a metaphorical plague exists because there is something rotten that is affecting the moral state of Thebes. This is due to the fact that there is incestuous activity occurring between his mother, Jocasta, and Oedipus himself. The audience is able to understand how the c... ... middle of paper ... ...d_grlg.htm (October 2003) Hockenbury, Don H. and Sandra E. Hockenbury. Discovering Psychology. Sixth ed. New York. Worth Publishers, 2014. 420-427. Print. Meyer, Michael. Literature to Go. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. 633-638. Print Rubin, Jeffrey B. “The Real Oedipal Complex.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers LLC, 1 May 2012. Web. 14 May 2014. Sacks, Oliver. “The Mind’s Eye: What the Blind See”. The New Humanities Reader. Fourth ed. Miller, Richard E. and Kurt Spellmeyer. Boston: Wadsworth, Cenage Learning, 2012. 303-317. Print. Sophocles. “Oedipus the King”. Literature to Go. Meyer, Michael. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. 639-685. Print. "Sophocles." Gale Online Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Literature Resource Center. Web. 4 Apr. 2014. “Sphinx, the monster with the famous riddle.”, n.d. Web 14 May 2014
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