Oedipus Analysis : Oedipus Tyrannus By Sophocles Essay

Oedipus Analysis : Oedipus Tyrannus By Sophocles Essay

Length: 907 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The ancient story documented in the writing Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles follows the story of a clever and strong hero who has tragedy befall him. He is fated to kill his father and marry his mother as a result of his father not heeding a warning from the gods. Upon discovering this, Oedipus blinds himself in excruciating guilt, to cut off his senses from the world around him. This guilt is not deserved by Oedipus because he committed the heinous crimes unwittingly he thus, making him innocent of the actions that spurn on the tragic events that occur. While Oedipus possesses some character flaws, they were not conducive to the tragedies that transpire. Rather, he is a heroic and just man who suffers for no fault of his own because of a curse carried over onto him by his father.
The argument has been made that Oedipus is a deeply flawed character and his downfall is brought upon him because of retribution by the gods for these flaws. While it is true that he is flawed because he is overly curious, this fault does not bring about his undoing. Rather, the curiosity that Oedipus displays leads to his discovery of the truth, but this is not the action that causes his inevitable ruin. Admittedly, Oedipus may have gone his entire life without knowing the truth, but that would not have prevented the pollution he cause that is gripping the city of Thebes and eventually destroying his kingdom, leading to possibly more tragedy for Oedipus and his people. In making this discovery, he suffered as a martyr for his people so that he would solely bear the weight of the pollution unjustly forced upon him. This curiosity was not just for the sake of discovery, but was a life or death situation for many people, which is why Oedipus pursues the trut...


... middle of paper ...


... if Oedipus lives a life of suffering, then tragedy could befall anyone. In one example the chorus says, “Mighty Oedipus--... proof that none of us mortals can truly be thought of as happy”. It is understood that this quote indicates that when Oedipus is sentenced to tragedy, then fate and the gods of Sophocles’s play are proven to be fickle and able to cast anyone into despair.
Oedipus is a character who is confronted by misfortune through no fault of his own, but as a tool for the gods to carry out his father’s fate. Therefore, Oedipus is a character who is innocent of the actions leading to his downfall. This does not prevent Oedipus Tyrannus from meeting the requirements of a tragedy because of the various definitions of hamartia. Oedipus’s downfall is brought about not by poor character, but in spite of his moral character and because of his unconditional fate.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on Freud and Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus

- 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....   [tags: Oedipus Tyrannus]

Better Essays
739 words (2.1 pages)

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)

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)

The Tragedy Of Oedipus The King Essay

- According to Collins English Dictionary, the definition of hubris is “an excess of ambition, pride”. Hubris is a person like Oedipus in this play who tricks himself. Throughout the story of Oedipus the king, Sophocles developed the story by building up the characteristic of each character from the start to made the story end as a tragedy. The protagonist, Oedipus, shows might and arrogance without acknowledging the truth. Oedipus’ hubris is responsible for the pollution that at the end leads to his downfall....   [tags: Sophocles, Oedipus, Oedipus the King]

Better Essays
1450 words (4.1 pages)

The Tragic Downfall Of Oedipus The King Essay

- In the play Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus the tragic downfall of Oedipus the King brings forth the question was this outcome determined by his predestined fate or his own actions, and if he can be held accountable for his crime. The argument of Oedipus guilt or innocence dates back for centuries, yet there still is not a clear explanation to which side is accurate. King Laius of Thebes Oedipus’ biological father learned from the oracle that if he wed with Jocasta, he would perish at the hands of his son....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Jocasta]

Better Essays
1137 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Mythology in Oedipus Rex

- Mythology in Oedipus Rex           E. T. Owen in “Drama in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus” comments on the mythological beginnings of Oedipus Rex:   Professor Goodell says: “Given an old myth to be dramatized, Sophocles’ primary question was, ‘Just what sort of people were they, must they have been, who naturally did and suffered what the tales say they did and suffered?” That was his method of analysis (38).   The Greek Sophoclean tragedy Oedipus Rex is based on a myth from the Homeric epic Odysseus....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
3973 words (11.4 pages)

Mythology in Oedipus Rex Essay

- Mythology in Oedipus Rex                 In “The Oedipus Legend” Bernard M. W. Knox talks of the advantages accruing to Sophocles as a user of myths in his dramas:   The myths he used gave to his plays, without any effort on his part, some of those larger dimensions of authority which the modern dramatist must create out of nothing if his play is to be more than a passing entertainment. The myths had the authority of history, for myth is in one of its aspects the only history of an age that kept no records....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
4088 words (11.7 pages)

Tragic Flaws in Oedipus the King Essay example

- Oedipus the King, Sophocles’ classical Greek tragedy, presents tragic flaw(s) as the cause of  the near-total destruction of the life of the protagonist. This essay examines that flaw. In his essay “Sophoclean Tragedy” Friedrich Nietzsche agrees that there is an “error” within the protagonist, but refrains from specifying exactly what it is: The most pathetic figure of the Greek theatre, the unfortunate Oedipus, Sophocles takes to be a noble man called to error and alienation in spite of his wisdom, yet called too, in the end, through monstrous suffering, to radiate a magic power rich in a blessing which works even after he passes on....   [tags: Oedipus the King Essays]

Better Essays
3574 words (10.2 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)

Oedipus Trilogy Analysis Essay

- Novel Analysis of The Oedipus Trilogy Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus Tyrannus as it is in Latin, could be what we call today a Freudian work of literature. The Oedipus Trilogy was originally written by Sophocles and is meant to be told in a story-telling fashion. But this Grecian tragedy was revised and translated into English by Paul Roche and put into a novel form. The Oedipus Trilogy is a novel that deals with destiny and fate. The reader is shown a series of events plotted out from which Oedipus cannot escape....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
1209 words (3.5 pages)