Dramatic irony means the absurdity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. In Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, dramatic irony is used in almost every other sentence. The whole play is structured around what would be one immense case of dramatic irony. The biggest being how Oedipus is searching for the killer of Lauis, which is truly he. Dramatic irony plays a vital role in Oedipus the King. Throughout the play various characters attempt to run from their fate, thinking they changed it, but in fact they just ran right into it. First Jocasta and Lauis throw their baby son over a mountain to try and change the oracle’s prophecy of their son killing his father and marrying his mother. Unbeknownst to them, the man sent to do this act didn’t carry it out. Truthfully he gave the baby to a shepherd who then gave the boy to the king of Corinth, Polybus. Polybus and his wife Merope never tell Oedipus the truth, always claiming they are his true birth parents. Later on when Oedipus learns his fate, he runs from Corinth to Thebes, away from his fate, or rather right into it. Many times they claimed to not even believe the oracles and that they were fools. Yet they went through an awful lot of trouble to try and avoid said prophecies. All of this sets a sense of irony all the way through the play. The Sphinx’s riddle permeates throughout the play also. The riddle was “What is it that goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at midday, and three feet in the evening”. The answer was “Man”. Through the course of the play it shows that Oedipus was the riddle. In the beginning of the play he was a baby crawling on four feet, through most of the play he was an adult walking on two feet, and at the end he leaves Thebes an old blind man using a cane hobbling on the metaphorical three feet. Oedipus turns out to be not only the solver of the riddle, but the riddle himself. Many scholars would say that the best use of dramatic irony in the play is the use of blindness and perception. Oedipus is blessed with the gift of perception; he was the only man who could "see" the answer to the Sphinx's riddle. Yet he cannot see what is right before his eyes. He is blind to the truth, and that is all he seeks. Tiresias's presence in the play is very important. As a blind old man, he foreshadows Oedipus's own future. The more Oedipus mocks his blindness, the more ironic he sounds to the audience. Oedipus yells at Tiresias saying, “Blind, lost in the night, endless night that cursed you! You can’t hurt me or anyone else who sees the light- you can never touch me”. (Oedipus the King, 425-428) Tiresias and Oedipus’s whole tiff holds so much irony. Oedipus says that Tiresias cannot see the light, but it is he who is the true blind one. Tiresias says, “You mock my blindness? Let me tell you this. You with your precious eyes, you’re blind to the corruption of your life, to the house you live in,…
The Decline of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex
Oedipus began Oedipus Rex as a king, only to end the tale as a blinded beggar. Oedipus' fall from his kingly status was not by accident or because of some other person. Oedipus is the only one that can be blamed for his misfortune. Oedipus' character traits are shown most clearly during his spiraling downfall, thinking he is "a simple man, who knows nothing", yet knowing more than he realizes by the end of the story.
Oedipus Rex: Question 1
Oedipus Rex is considered one of the greatest tragic plays to come from any of the ancient Greek playwrights as its lessons mirror societal troubles of the era. It projects certain cultural values and morals onto the Athenian audience of the time through many different tragic conventions. Sophocles, the writer, was born near Athens between 497 and 495 BC and is considered a conservative as all his plays supported the idea of a polytheistic society and that we should not…
English Literature: 2
02 October 2014
Sometimes, we as human beings, are unable to see the most apparent truths. Sometimes, even the blind can see more than the sighted. Sophocles demonstrates this in his famous play, Oedipus Rex.
Oedipus, whose name means “swollen foot” is cursed from birth. His parents receive a prophecy that states that Oedipus will grow up to kill his father so they leave him in a mountain to die. However, Oedipus is saved by a shepherd. Furthermore, the…
The tragedy of Oedipus the King is a classic representation of irony in a Greek play. Oedipus, king of Thebes emerges as a powerful ruler after solving the riddle of the Sphinx and is initially regarded as a concerned leader. The story of Oedipus Rex Centers around what caused the events before the play begins and the tragedy of what happens after Oedipus opens his eyes to the truth.
The exposition of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex occurs seamlessly. At the beginning of the play, we learn…
Aristotle defined Oedipus Rex by Sophocles as the perfect tragedy. In this tragedy, King Oedipus has to face a hamartia, which is the tragic hero’s downfall due to his tragic flaws. King Oedipus plays an important role in the concept of fate. Oedipus falls form his status from being a powerful noble king by not following his fate, his overbearing pride, and his assault that makes him a disgrace towards others. Although, Oedipus is considered a classic Greek tragic hero, he has several tragic flaws…
Survey of Dramatic Literature
September 10, 2014
In 420 B.C., Sophocles wrote his rendition of Oedipus Rex. Oedipus Rex is the story of the son of the King and Queen of Thebes. The theme of fate plays a monstrous role in this entire play. Throughout time, the idea of fate and how it affects people’s decisions. While the Greeks wholeheartedly believed in the idea of fate, nowadays fate is an after-thought. By taking a look at the circumstances,…
necessarily need to come out. Oedipus Rex is a tragedy where
finding out the truth does nothing but harm everything in its path. Although a cure to the plague
is found, the consequences of the truth that Oedipus and the people around him have to deal with
turn the story into a tragedy. In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, a reader can learn that sometimes the
truth is better untold through Teiresias’ words to Oedipus when Oedipus asks him about the
main character Oedipus comes to discover the inescapability of fate enduring
obstacles which lead him back to his destiny.
After fleeing Corinth in fear of the prophecy's statement that Oedipus's fate would be
to marry his mother and kill his father, Oedipus killed a group of men in self defense at a
crossroad. Not long after, he arrived to Thebes. With the king being recently murdered, the
townspeople looked to Oedipus for a sense of guidance. Also having defeated the sphinx,
Oedipus was awarded the royal throne and the queen as his wife…
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
1 - Oedipus is abandoned after his father, King Laius, hears a prophecy that he is to kill his father and marry his mother, Queen Jocasta. Oedipus is adopted and later hears the same prophecy, and goes in search of the truth. Along the way he gets in a fight with a man and kills him, not knowing it is his father. He then solves a riddle from the Sphinx which has been terrorizing a kingdom. In return, the kingdom gives him their queen's hand in marriage, who is his biological…
Oedipus Rex the Blind King
Sophocles is one of the few Greek Tragedians whose plays have survived to this day. One of his most famous works is, Oedipus Rex. Oedipus Rex is a play about the King of Thebes, who needs to save his kingdom from a deathly plague. The only way to do so is to solve the murder of the late King Laios. However, when Oedipus was young he was cursed with a prophecy that said he was doomed to kill his father and marry his mother. While solving the murder Oedipus realizes the…