Women in Oedipus Rex Essay

Women in Oedipus Rex Essay

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Women in Oedipus Rex          

 
  Charles Segal in Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge explains one of the pivotal functions of Jocasta in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex:

 

The second series begins with Jocasta. . . .Now Oedipus is pursuing the killer as possibly the same as himself. . . . In this set his goal shifts gradually from uncovering the murderer to discovering his own parents. The confidence and power that he demonstrated in the first series of encounters gradually erode into anger, loss of control and fear (72).

 

This essay will reveal the role of women in the drama, the attitude toward women, the contribution of women to plot development, and other considerations relevant to women in Oedipus Rex.

 

Michael J. O’Brien in the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, maintains that there is “a good deal of evidence to support this view” that the fifth century playwright was the “educator of his people” and a “teacher”. Sophocles in his tragedy, Oedipus Rex, teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior” (4), and uses three women to help convey these principles of living.

 

At the outset of Oedipus Rex no female characters are present; the reader sees a king who comes to the door full of curiosity: “Explain your mood and purport. Is it dread /Of ill that moves you or a boon ye crave?” When the priest has responded that the people are despairing from the effects of the plague, the king shows sympathy for his subjects: “Ye sicken all, well wot I, yet my pain, /How great soever yours, outtops it all.” Thomas Van Nortwick in Oedipus: The Meaning of a Masculine Life : “We see already the supreme self-confidence and ease of command in ...


... middle of paper ...


...nflicts of the Antigone.” In Sophocles: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Thomas Woodard. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

 

Segal, Charles. Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.

 

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. no pag.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/browse-mixed new?tag=public&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&part=0&id=SopOedi

 

“Sophocles” In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.

 

Van Nortwick, Thomas.  Oedipus: The Meaning of a Masculine Life. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.

 

Watling, E. F.. Introduction. In Sophocles: The Theban Plays, translated by E. F. Watling. New York: Penguin Books, 1974.

 

 

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