Sophocles ' Oedipus The King Essay

Sophocles ' Oedipus The King Essay

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Well-known playwright, Sophocles, in his play, Oedipus the King, illustrates the stubbornness of King Oedipus in his quest to uncover the truth of his birth. Oedipus’s purpose was to show the power of fate and warn readers not to race blindly in search for ones deepest desires. Sophocles uses a serious tone in order to demonstrate to his readers the dangers of seeing the truth.
The first demonstration in the play is when King Oedipus meets the priest, and Oedipus says, “I’ll do anything. I would be blind to misery not to pity my people kneeling at my feet” (lines 14-15). This quote starts off the play with foreshadowing and dropping hints to the readers. Oedipus is so desperate to help his people that he tells them that he would be a terrible ruler if he was so ignorant and blind not to notice the suffering in front of him. The next example is when Oedipus speaks with the prophet Tiresias. Tiresias plainly says, “How terrible- to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees!” (lines 359-360). Tiresias sees the truth and knows all of Oedipus’ secrets, and he is trying to get Oedipus to understand his point of view. Also, this quote shows how clueless Oedipus really is and how he doesn’t feel effected by the truth. Furthermore, Oedipus doesn’t think he is in the dark. He thinks he knows everything he needs to know. After Oedipus raises his voice at Tiresias, Tiresias becomes annoyed and goes on to tell Oedipus, “… I tell you, you and your loved ones live together in infamy, you cannot see how far you’ve gone in guilt” (lines 417-419). This quote explains how Oedipus doesn’t see the whole picture and he is making decisions off of partial information. Additionally, it shows how quickly Oedipus can lose his temp...


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...one of your power follows you through life” (line 1675-1676). Creon is making sure that Oedipus understands his new place in the world, and that it is unchangeable. The chorus sings out, “Now as we keep our watch…” (line 1683). The chorus speaks last and reiterates that Oedipus was the one who brought danger and misfortune onto himself; they end the play with one last final warning to the audience.
Sophocles made his motif extremely noticeable throughout the play and used his tone to show the readers the importance of seeing the dangers of the unknown. Oedipus had plenty of fair warning and was told multiple times by his friends and family to stop searching but didn’t head their advice. In the end, Oedipus discovered the truth and traded in a metaphorical blindness to the truth to a physical blindness so that he would never have to see the proof of the truth.

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