Essay about Oedipus Rex

Submitted By abbybaby2013
Words: 846
Pages: 4

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,