In the play Oedipus the King, Sophocles uses dramatic irony for the moral and political education of society. Dramatic irony depends on the audience’s knowledge of something that the character does not know. Throughout this play Oedipus is searching for his identity, the answers to his questions are visible to the audience the whole time, but not to Oedipus. The knowledge of his true fate also enables the audience to see his errors made from his blindness to the signs that foretell his demise.
In the beginning of the first act, the citizens of Thebes are begging their king for his help to lift the plague that is attacking the city. Creon, Oedipus’ brother-in-law, comes with news from the Oracle that in order to cease the plague they must solve the murder of Laius, the king before Oedipus. Then summoned by the king Tiresias the blind prophet accuses Oedipus himself of the murders. Jocasta, the queen, tells him to ignore the prophecies. She then stated that once she was told that her son would kill Laius, which could never come true because they abandoned their child to die. This news begins to haunt Oedipus, who was told by an oracle when he was a boy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. By the end of the play Oedipus l...
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...ght with a shudder life might be long.
When Mrs. Mallard saw her very undead husband walk through the door, all the freedom that she had thought she now had vanished and with it so did her life. To the doctors her extreme happiness that her beloved husband was still alive was what stopped her heart, but the readers know that it was her last breath of freedom that took her life. Her death at the end when she sees that he is still alive is the decisive twist to the ironic tale (Chopin).
Irony, that incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs, is the technique used by writers to engage and surprise their audience as well as open them up to new ideas. Oedipus the King and The Story of an Hour are two completely different stories that use irony to develop the plot teach a lesson. This shows that irony transcends time and culture to be a universal theme.
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