A literary analysis of the play oedipus the king by sophocles

Throughout this mythic story of patricide and incest, Sophocles emphasizes the irony of a man determined to track down, expose, and punish an assassin, who turns out to be himself. As the play opens, the citizens of Thebes beg their king, Oedipus, to lift the plague that threatens to destroy the city. Oedipus has already sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to the oracle to learn what to do. On his return, Creon announces that the oracle instructs them to find the murderer of Laius, the king who ruled Thebes before Oedipus.

A literary analysis of the play oedipus the king by sophocles

In his Poetics, Aristotle held it up as the exemplary Greek tragedy. Oedipus the King might also be called the first detective story in Western literature. And what does a closer analysis of its plot features and themes reveal?

The city of Thebes is in the grip of a terrible plague. Oedipus adopts a sort of detective role, and endeavours to sniff out the murderer. He himself is plagued by another prophecy: On his way from Corinth to Thebes, he had an altercation with a man on the road: Tiresias the seer then reveals that the man Oedipus killed on the road was Laius — the former king of Thebes and shock horror!

When this terrible truth is revealed, Jocasta hangs herself, and Oedipus puts out his own eyes and leaves Thebes, going into self-imposed exile so he can free the Thebans from the plague.

A literary analysis of the play oedipus the king by sophocles

This much constitutes a brief recap or summary of the plot of Oedipus the King. Is Oedipus to blame for what happens to him? Or is he simply a pawn of the gods and fates, to be used according to their whim? Prophecies are bound up with fate, with things being predetermined.

But there are obviously different ways of making them come true. In the David Gemmell novel, Stormrider: Thinking this refers to a particular man who has one green and one golden eyeWinter Kay sets about trying to assassinate this imagined nemesis, and fails at every turn.

Eventually, the nemesis can take no more and raises an army against Winter Kay. One of his soldiers, bearing a golden badge that resembles an eye in shape, is the one who kills Winter Kay in battle.

In his dying moments, the hapless villain realises that, in seeking to avert the prophecy, he had, in fact, helped it to come true. This is similar to the story of Oedipus the King. Oedipus heard the prophecy that he would one day murder his father and marry his mother, and so fled from his presumed parents so as to avoid fulfilling the prophecy.

Such an act seems noble and it was jolly bad luck that fate had decreed that Oedipus would turn out to be a foundling and his real parents were still out there for him to bump into.

The clues were already there that Oedipus was actually adopted: But, as the Latin phrase has it, in vino veritas. What does all this mean, when we stop and analyse it in terms of the interplay between fate and personal actions in Oedipus the King?

It means that Sophocles was aware of something which governs all our lives. A thief steals your wallet and you never see him, or your wallet, again. Did the criminal get away with it?

Yet works of art are always opening themselves up to new readings which see them reflecting our changing and evolving moral beliefs, and that is perhaps why Oedipus the King remains a great play to read, watch, analyse, and discuss.

There remains something unsettling about its plot structure and its ambiguous meaning, and that is what lends it its power.Mar 28,  · Literary Analysis of Oedipus Rex The King by Sophocles It is revealed that Oedipus is a member of the ruling/higher class, which fulfills one of the characteristics of a tragic hero.

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However, the truth behind his birth destroys him. Oedipus the King might also be called the first detective story in Western literature. Yet how well do we know Sophocles’ play?

A literary analysis of the play oedipus the king by sophocles

And what does a closer analysis of its plot features and themes reveal? Michael Patterson, in The Oxford Guide to Plays (Oxford Quick Reference), calls Oedipus the King ‘a model of analytic plot structure’. So it’s worth briefly recounting the plot of Sophocles’ play in a short summary. Oedipus is the protagonist and hero of this play and he's a king.

Plot Analysis Oedipus is aware that there is a curse on Thebes and has Creon gather insight into how to lift it These are the circumstances at the beginning of the play.

Literary Devices in Oedipus Rex Dramatic Irony: For example, when Creon tells Oedipus about the god’s curse on Thebes, Oedipus puts his own curse on the murderer of Laius, not knowing it was he who killed Laius (Sophocles, 14).

An introduction to a classic play. The plot of Sophocles’ great tragedy Oedipus the King (sometimes known as Oedipus Rex or Oedipus Tyrannos) has long been admired.

College Prep Papers - English Essays: Literary Analysis of Oedipus Rex The King by Sophocles

In his Poetics, Aristotle held it up as the exemplary Greek tragedy. Character Analysis: Creon 's ' Oedipus The King ' Words | 5 Pages. County College Character Analysis: Creon In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, a fatal curse is put upon the town of Thebes.

Creon, current king and brother of Jocasta, gives the throne to Oedipus because he .

Oedipus the King - Sophocles - Ancient Greece - Classical Literature