tragoed Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) - The Archetypal Tragic Man
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Free Oedipus the King Essays: The Archetypal Tragic Man
According to Greek mythology, the Sphinx, a creature that is part woman, part bird, and part lion, caused famine and disease in Thebes that could be ended only when someone solved her riddle. Oedipus traveled to Thebes and answered the riddle correctly. The citizens of Thebes consider him a hero because he restored harmony to their kingdom. Sophocles alludes to the riddle of the Sphinx several times in his play, Oedipus Rex. Since the riddle is a metaphor for Oedipus' life, it is ironic that he was able to answer the question. His revelation of the riddle of the Sphinx further supports the perspective of Oedipus as the archetypal tragic man.
The sphinx asks, "What has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs at night?" Oedipus correctly answers "man", saving Thebes from the terrible drought and disease brought about by the horrible creature. The different times of day mentioned in the question actually represent different stages in life. In the morning, or childhood, humans crawl on ...