Essay on Freud and Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus

Essay on Freud and Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus

Length: 739 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Were we to temporarily embrace the theories of Freud in our analysis of Oedipus Tyrannus and subsequent plays, we would find ourselves with an incestuous protagonist, so mad in his quest to power that he seeks to kill his father and will stop at nothing to achieve this. It is where Freud misconstrues the very essence of the play that the audience is intended to find its meaning. Were Oedipus aware of his actions throughout the course of the story there would have been no story. Never once was he in the conscious pursuit of his father’s death or mother’s marriage bed, and upon hearing of his own actions falls into crippling despair. The difference between what Freud theorizes of the King and what it is believed Sophocles intended of him, is the simple possession of knowledge, and the repercussions, both good and bad, it carries.
Oedipus, in his great glory, infinite wisdom and kind, genteel treatment of his subjects goes his entire life without making a decision for himself. His very existence has been set up by the Gods, a plaything, an example. Even still, he spends his life searching for answers, leaving home and using his extensive intelligence to eventually save a kingdom, of which he has no inclination is his own, and become a king. What possesses this man to follow the path of knowledge as it leads him from commonplace royalty to ultimate greatness and then to the darkest despair? Under the umbrella of human weakness it’s actually two traits that compel Oedipus to so gallantly follow the pursuit of knowledge, the sin of ego and the humanism of fear.
While these two personality traits don’t necessarily go hand in hand there are multiple instances where ego steams from fear or fear from ego. Throughout the story they bec...

... middle of paper ...

...abs his own eyes out. The message is clear. He did not see what was in front of him the whole time, so desperate for the absolute knowledge, the knowledge of the Gods and greatness, that he had refused to recognize the evidence right before his own eyes. It is the knowledge that he does not deserve to know anymore that forces Oedipus to tear his eyes from his head. He had overstepped his boundaries and he was repaying the Gods. He was setting the example.
Oedipus is the ultimate anti-thesis of himself. He is brilliant and naïve, wanderer and King, blind and seer. But in the end, despite the flaws, despite the greatness, he is human. And the great Greek Gods wanted men to remember that, to stay in their place. The taste of glory, whether consciously or not, became too compelling for Oedipus. Human weakness, in his pursuit of the truth, proved to be his downfall.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus Essay examples

- Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus Throughout the years, there have been many interpretations of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. However, one of the most interesting interpretations of the play would have to be one that uses the theories of Sigmund Freud to analyze the actions of the characters. The use of various aspects of Freudian theory such as the id, ego, superego, and the Oedipus Complex reveals Oedipus and his behaviors throughout the course of the play. In order to completely understand Oedipus and his actions, we must first understand the basics of Freud’s theories....   [tags: Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus]

Better Essays
1357 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Oedipus as Scapegoat in Oedipus the King

- Oedipus as Scapegoat in Oedipus the King        The great psychologist-philosopher Carl Jung was briefly a student of Freud. Because Jung felt that Freud's approach to psychoanalysis was by far too narrow, he broke off from his teachings, and made significant contributions to mythological criticism. Jung's greatest contribution was his theory of archetypes. His proposal of archetypes argues that there is one original pattern or model of all things of the same type. According to Jung, beneath the personal unconscious is a collective unconscious that is in the psychic inheritance of all humans....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)

Essay The Oedipus Complex - Sigmund Freud vs. Jacques Lacan

- The Oedipus Complex - Sigmund Freud vs. Jacques Lacan The story of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus has been interpreted by innumerable writers, philosophers, and critics in countless ways; the methods of interpreting Oedipus vary from mad rages and blind accusations to ignorantly perverse acts ranging from basic sexual desire to pre-destined fate ordained by the gods. Perhaps the most famous psychoanalyst in history Sigmund Freud theorized that Oedipus' story was applicable to all. French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan translated Freud into French and, though Lacan claimed to agree completely with Freud's ideas, he substantially changed Freud's theories....   [tags: Psychology]

Better Essays
1388 words (4 pages)

Seeking Truth in "Oedipus Rex" Essay

- A man goes to the doctors for an ordinary physical; after several tests were performed the doctors want to share some tragic information with the man. One of the tests diagnosed the man with a disease that will result in him dying. The man’s first reaction is that he wants to know how much longer he has to live. The question is does one really want to put a timer on the amount of time they have left. In this society there are many people who seek the truth to matters that can have tremendous effect on their lives....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Better Essays
1232 words (3.5 pages)

Oedipus Tyrannos by Sophocles Essay

- Oedipus Tyrannos by Sophocles Sophocles uses a mixture of both visual and emotional imagery to create the morally questioning, Greek tragedy ‘Oedipus Tyrannos’. He presents the audience with an intense drama, which addresses the reality and importance of the gods that the Greeks fervently believed in. The play also forces the audience to ask themselves if there is such a concept as fate.      From the very beginning of Oedipus, it is made clear “that his destiny be one of fate and worse”. The irony is that Oedipus unknowingly repeatedly predicts his own fate: “It was I who called down these curses on that man.” Oedipus has unconsciously married his mother and killed his father, just as the...   [tags: Oedipus Tyrannos Sophocles Essays]

Better Essays
1607 words (4.6 pages)

Oedipus Rex Essay

- In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles explores the conflict between a man’s intellectual reasoning and the universe beyond his grasp. This may seem like a generalization, but the play’s minor conflicts are arguably derivatives of the main struggle. As we would see, the fate or destiny that opposes Oedipus does not act directly on him, but creates a domino effect that through other conflicts drive him to face his destiny by unearthing his true identity. Similar to the Sphinx’s riddle that gave power to Oedipus, he must travel the different stages of life in order to “know thy-self” (Rudnytsky 264)....   [tags: Play Analysis]

Better Essays
734 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Sympathy for Oedipus in the Oedipus Tyrannus

- Sympathy for Oedipus in the Oedipus Tyrannus       The aim of tragedy is to evoke fear and pity, according to Aristotle, who cited the Oedipus Tyrannus as the definitive tragic play. Thus pity must be produced from the play at some point. However, this does not necessarily mean that Oedipus must be pitied. We feel great sympathy ('pathos') for Jocasta's suicide and the fate of Oedipus' daughters. Oedipus could evoke fear in us, not pity. He is a King of an accursed city willing to use desperate methods, even torture to extract truth from the Shepherd....   [tags: Oedipus Tyrannus Essays]

Better Essays
2239 words (6.4 pages)

Vision and Blindness In Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles Essay example

- The play Oedipus Tyrannus, written by Sophocles, is a play filled with symbols and irony involving the aspect of both vision and blindness. This aspect of the novel takes on an important role in the life of Oedipus, the ruler of Thebes. He originally feels as though he knows and sees everything, nevertheless, as the motto of the Oracle at Delphi states, he does not "know thyself," as he will find out toward the end of the play. The notion of seeing and blindness becomes an important and ironic symbol in the tragic fall of Oedipus, a man who could not escape his lot or moira....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Better Essays
670 words (1.9 pages)

Oedipus Tyrannus: Innocent Essay

- "Innocent until proven guilty", this expression seems very simple to understand, once proven guilty, innocence is entirely out of the picture. However, proving that an individual is guilty is not always an easy task. There are many factors to look upon and review before making a final statement or decision, many laws that may annul the fact that someone is guilty. Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannus" is a perfect example of how difficult it is to prove that someone is guilty, or to prove that someone is innocent for that matter....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]

Better Essays
753 words (2.2 pages)

Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus Essay

- Oedipus Tyrannus” is “basically is a story of a man’s discovery through persistent inquiry that he is guilty of unwitting parricide and incest, and his horrified reaction to that discovery. In “Oedipus the King”, Oedipus king of Thebes unknownly killed his biological father and married his mother. On this Ancient myth, the playwright Sophocles weaves a complex story that can be interpreted on many different levels of intellectual thinking. This play, since the time it was staged has been subjected to countless forms of analysis and interpretations....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
1923 words (5.5 pages)