Oedipus the King Essay

Oedipus the King Essay

Length: 1074 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Oedipus the King


The ancient Greeks were famous for their tragedies. These dramas functioned to “ask questions about the nature of man, his position in the universe, and the powers that govern his life” (“Greek” 1). Brereton (1968) stated that tragedies typically “involved a final and impressive disaster due to an unforeseen or unrealized failure involving people who command respect and sympathy. It often entails an ironical change of fortune and usually conveys a strong impression of waste. It is always accompanied by misery and emotional distress” (20). The play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles definitely demonstrated the characteristics of an impressive disaster unforeseen by the protagonist that involved a character of respect, included irony, and was accompanied by misery and emotional distress.

Tragedies usually chronicle a disaster that was unforeseen by the protagonist. To qualify as a disaster this event must have striking circumstances (Brereton 6). The spectators of the tragedy feel a deep sympathy for the protagonist because the decision made by this character was done without intending evil (New T-349). In Oedipus the King, Oedipus chose to leave Corinth to prevent the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Even though this appeared to be an appropriate decision, it was wrong. In the process of leaving Corinth, Oedipus came across his real father at a three-road intersection and during a scuffle killed him. Later he married his mother, Iocastê, fulfilling the prophecy. Oedipus did not know that this was his true father or mother because he deliberately made the decision to leave Corinth thinking that Polybos and Meropê were his parents. The disaster that occurred her...


... middle of paper ...


...t of the play. The play spoke of the downfall of Oedipus from respected king (someone of status) to a penniless, blind, exiled peasant who was scorned by the kingdom. At the end of the play, Oedipus and his family suffered the disgrace of their true reality.

Works Cited

Brereton, Geoffrey. Principles of Tragedy. Florida: University of Miami Press, 1968.

“Greek Tragedy.” http://www.stremnet.nf.ca/~hblake/tragedy1.html (23 Nov. 1999).

“Irony.” The American Heritage Dictionary. 1969.

Mandel, Oscar. A Definition of Tragedy. New York: University Press of American, 1982.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 7th ed. New York: Longman, 1999. 1255-1294.

“Tragedy.” New Stanford Encyclopedia. 1998.

“Tragedy.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1998.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about Oedipus King And Oedipus The King

- With the city stricken with a plague, a king will try to save it by finding the murder of the previous king. A truth will uncover the mystery behind the murder and reveal the current king’s past as false. This story is a simplified version of the play Oedipus the King and the play before sequel the play Antigone, both written by Sophocles. Both these stories have a theme that can relate to the both of them. The character Oedipus from Oedipus the King, Creon from Antigone, and the plot of Oedipus the King display the theme of sight vs....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Creon, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1280 words (3.7 pages)

Oedipus The King Of Oedipus And The Priest Essay

- At the beginning of the play, Oedipus and the priest are having a conversation. Oedipus is the king of the land Thebes. In this conversation, the priest tells Oedipus that the people are dying due to a plague going around the town. The priest begs Oedipus to save all the people, so then Oedipus orders his brother-in-law, Creon to see how to stop the plague. Creon comes to the scene and tells Oedipus that he has to tell him important news. Creon asks Oedipus if he wants to tell him the news in front of all of the people....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Parent, Jocasta]

Strong Essays
1850 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Oedipus The King : Oedipus

- In the play Oedipus the King, the character that interested me the most is Oedipus. He was one of the main characters of the play Oedipus the King. I found him interested how when he found out the truth he punish himself instead of to keep hurting people. In the beginning of the play Oedipus was confident of what he was doing. He was the one that saved Thebes from being cursed by the Sphinx and he became the king right away for that reason. He would say his name as a healing charm. He was proud of being called Oedipus....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Creon, Jocasta]

Strong Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Oedipus The King Of Oedipus Essay examples

- In Oedipus Tyrannus, the cultural way of thinking has been challenged by Oedipus himself and also the queen of Thebes, Jocasta. Oedipus is a king of Thebes who claimed himself to be incredibly smart for solving the riddles and he has helped the city who happened to be falling apart from the missing of their king. While in searching for the murderer of Laius, Oedipus called upon the presence of Teresias – the blind prophet. Oedipus requested Teresias to inform him about the truth that he knew about the secrets of the heaven and the earth (Sophocles, 1970)....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Socrates, Crito]

Strong Essays
833 words (2.4 pages)

The Punishment of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) Essay

- The Punishment of Oedipus the King At the end of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, king of Thebes, ends up banished forever from his kingdom. Additionally, Oedipus physically puts out his own eyes, for several reasons which will be discussed later. The question is: Did Oedipus deserve his punishments. There are many factors that must be considered in answering this, including how Oedipus himself felt about his situation. His blinding was as much symbolic as it was physical pain....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
1180 words (3.4 pages)

tragoed Elements of Tragedy in Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) Essay

- Elements of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex It is not the tragic subject matter of the text that is of primary interest - but rather the manner in which the plot is developed. The story line progresses as if the reader is "unpeeling an onion." The tale of King Oedipus is well known. An enraged Oedipus unknowingly slays his father (Laiusq, King of Thebes) and supplants him as monarch and as husband to his own mother (Queen Jocasta). As each successive "layer of the onion" is unpeeled, Oedipus is brought a step closer to realizing the true nature of his actions....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
463 words (1.3 pages)

tragoed Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) as Greek Tragedy Essay

- Oedipus The King as Greek Tragedy The genre of drama is wide and contains works of varied forms and subjects. The first drama, on which all later works are based, developed in Greece and dealt with religious and social issues. According to AristotleÕs The Poetics, a Greek Tragedy must deal with a serious purpose, arousing a sense of pity or fear in the audience. The emphasis must be on plot over character development and the playwright must utilize suspense and unity of time, place and action....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
870 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about tragoed The Tragic Figure of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)

- The Tragic Figure of Oedipus Rex      Sophocles is perhaps one of the greatest tragedians ever. Sophocles said that a man should never consider himself fortunate unless he can look back on his life and remember that life without pain. For Oedipus Rex, looking back is impossible to do without pain. This pain stems from his prideful life. Oedipus is aware that he alone is responsible for his actions. Oedipus freely chooses to pursue and accept his own life's destruction. Even though fate victimizes Oedipus, he is a tragic figure since his own heroic qualities, his loyalty to Thebes, and his fidelity to the truth ruin him....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Strong Essays
932 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on tragoed Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) and Greek Tragedy

- Oedipus Rex as a Great Greek Tragedy     The reader is told in Aristotle's Poetics that tragedy "arouses the emotions of pity and fear, wonder and awe" (The Poetics 10). To Aristotle, the best type of tragedy involves reversal of a situation, recognition from a character, and suffering. The plot has to be complex, and a normal person should fall from prosperity to misfortune due to some type of mistake. Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, is a great example of a Greek tragedy. Its main plot is Oedipus' goal to find out his true identity, the result being his downfall by finding out he has married his own mother and killed his father....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Strong Essays
1016 words (2.9 pages)

Essay Oedipus the King

- Oedipus the King The uniqueness of the story of Oedipus the King lies in the fact that it is not told, but uncovered. Intertwined within are the workings of fate, which ultimately propel the uncovering of the story (Driver 247). The past is relied upon to solve the mystery of the present; however, it is learned by all that actions taken in the past will not change the fate of the future. The gods of Sophocles are the forces which operate within the cosmos, thus giving its consistency and order....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
394 words (1.1 pages)