Gaining from Detective Work in Oedipus the King and A Scandal in Bohemia

Gaining from Detective Work in Oedipus the King and A Scandal in Bohemia

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A detective story is a genre of fiction in which a person attempts to solve a crime. The detective may be a professional or an amateur, and generally has nothing to gain from solving the crime. However in Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King”, the main character Oedipus is not only determined to solve a crime, but he is also in pursuit to find his own identity. This is similar to Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia” where Sherlock Holmes has been hired to work as a detective in return for monetary compensation. Both situations enable Oedipus and Sherlock to gain from unraveling the mysteries that sweep their towns hence making these stories different from most detective stories.
Few people think of detective work in regard to “Oedipus the King”, but this play builds on riddles solved, and unsolved, making it to be a mystery. Oedipus starts out as an optimistic individual who is in charge of a cold case proclaiming that he is going to solve the mystery of the murder of King Laius, in order to life the plague from his city Thebes. The people of Thebes look up to and Oedipus for solving the Sphinx riddle, “You freed us from the Sphinx; you came to Thebes and cut us loose from the bloody tribute we had paid that harsh, brutal singer. We taught you nothing, no skill, no extra knowledge, still you triumphed (Sophocles 44-47). The people believe in him without any prior knowledge of him. When he first hears of the murder, Oedipus immediately takes on the role as a detective when he hears “where shall we find clue to solve that crime after so many years” (Sophocles). The Oracle at Delphi tells Oedipus that the plague will be lifted if Thebes banished the man who killed Laius (Sophocles 74, line 350).
In the beginning Oedipu...


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...pensation for his services, but he receives much more, he learns never to under estimate the power and wit of a woman.
The label engages the reader to into the literature in order to piece the clues together to form and understanding of the story. When the reader gets all the clues they realize that these two stories go against the typical form of a detective story, because of the fact that they both gained from solving the crimes. Oedipus was able to benefit from solving the crime in that he was able to lift the plague from Thebes, save the people and find out his true identity. Although the answers didn’t necessarily benefit Oedipus in his favor they helped the city return to a state of normalcy. Holmes may have been beaten by a woman’s wit, he solved the mystery of “A Scandal in Bohemia” received a monetary compensation as well as learned a life lesson.

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