Theme Of Irony In Oedipus The King

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Irony has been a major component of major works of literature for centuries. By definition irony is “a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words” (“Irony”). There are various forms of irony that authors use such as situational, dramatic, verbal irony, etc. Irony also plays a tremendous role in theme, author purpose, and reader interpretation. Through various forms of irony J.D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye, and Sophocles, the author of Oedipus the King, express ideas such as key themes and character traits that often change the opinions of the reader. The novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is full of irony that is demonstrated by the protagonist Holden Caulfield.…show more content…
Dramatic irony is best defined as when “the characters are oblivious of the situation but the audience is not” (“Irony”). The story begins with Oedipus’s parents, Laius and Jocasta getting a fortune from the Oracle of Delphi predicting how that their newborn son will eventually grow to kill his father and then marry his mother. They sentence their newborn son to death, but their servant could not leave an infant to die so he gave Oedipus away to a shepherd. Oedipus eventually grew up in another kingdom, came to Thebes, unknowingly killed his father, defeated the Sphinx, became King of Thebes, and then married his own mother. In How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas Foster it mentions how literary theorist Northrop Frye describes the “ironic mode”, “That is, we watch characters who possess a lower degree of autonomy, self-determination, or free will than ourselves” (Foster 236). This applies to the protagonist Oedipus because he does not have control of his fate, his future was already laid out before him by the Oracle at Delphi before he was even

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