tragoed Free Essay: Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) as a Greek Tragedy
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Oedipus the King as a Greek Tragedy
The Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), adheres to Aristotles (384-322 B.C.) definition of a tragedy.
The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the Greek tragedy Oedipus is also an aristocrat. Born of the King and Queen of Thebes he is of true nobility. Oedipus on the other-hand believes his parents are the King and Queen of Corinth. Oedipus was abandoned as a baby and adopted by them. Because that information is known to the audience, and not to Oedipus prior to the start of the play, it is a perfect example of tragic irony because when he declares that he will find the murderer he is the man that he pursues. Here he is told by Tiresias,” I say you are the murderer you hunt” (1235). The theme of Oedipus the King is not clear-cut. The theme in this tragic play seems to be you can‘t escape your fate. Contentment leads to ignorance as Oedipus lends fate a hand in his bitter end. This trait is touched-on in these lines spoken by Creon. “Look at you, sullen in yielding, brutal in your rage- you’ll go too far. It’s perfect justice: natures like yours are hardest on themselves”(Sophocles 1242-1243). Oedipus is a true hero in the Greek tragedy. He has the fate of the community in his hands along with the noble character to take care of it himself. He announces his convictions to take this problem into his own hands and do whatever is necessary to lift the curse. Oedipus addresses the priests assembled before him, “ You can trust me; I am ready to help, I’ll do anything (Sophocles 1225). The city has this faith in him and the priest come to tell him so he will help them lift the curse. “Now we pray to you. You cannot equal the gods, your children know that...But we do rate you first of men,”(1226). He also appears to have Apollo’s ear, which makes him seem all-powerful to the audience; this is another standard of the classic Greek tragedy. Oedipus told his people, ”After painful search I found one cure: I acted at once.