Oedipus The King Essay

Submitted By mleblanc56
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Oedipus the King

In this Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, Sophocles leaves a lot of inconsistencies or realistic problems within the whole tale completely unexplained in order to compose a process of revealing Oedipus Rex’s guilt. This leaves the Greek tragedy to seem unrealistic because with the thought of the other elements not told by Sophocles, the story is not possible. One of the realistic problems is why would Oedipus or Jocasta marry someone that was much older or much younger than them that could potentially be their mother or son, therefore which could potentially fulfill the prophecy. Also not realistic, the killing of Laius may have been forgotten if he had killed many people. However, if Oedipus was as great as he was made out to be, would he have not remembered if he had killed a man old enough to be his fathers age? Lastly, Even though it is documented that Oedipus’ was brought to a faraway village upon the prophets word he would murder his father and sleep with his mother, he still finds himself returned to Thebes for some reason which is unspecified. All of these situations are a result of Sophocles attempting to make a story seem realistic that is impossible. As an infant, Oedipus Rex’s parents became aware of the oracle that had been placed upon their son and immediately attempted to resolve it. In order to do this, they ordered a shepard to kill him by exposure on the side of a mountain. The shepard had pity on young Oedipus and placed him in a foster home in Corinth, thinking that would prevent the prophecy from ever coming to fruition. All of Oedipus’ life he always believed that his parents in Corinth, Polybus and Merope, were his biological parents. It was not until a banquet when he was a full grown man that he heard about the awful oracle. When he learned of this, he fled Corinth in order to avoid what he believed to be the inevitable with his parents. “I would be my mother’s lover, I would show the world children no one could bear to look at, I would murder the father whose seed I am. I fled to somewhere I’d never see outrages like those the god promised, happen to me.” (Sophocles. 728) In any event, why would he marry someone that was old enough to be his mother when he knew of the prophecy that had been placed upon him? The similar question can also be raised about Jocasta who knew of the prophecy, obviously. Would she not think it was risky to marry someone that could be the age of her son, when she knew that one of her sons had a prophecy placed upon him that they would sleep together? This does not seem to make sense, as realistically it seems one of them, especially Jocasta, would figure it was a bad idea to be with someone not of the same age as them given the circumstances. Furthermore, also an inconsistency in the Greek tragedy is that Oedipus, knowing of the prophecy that has been placed upon him, kills a man that is old enough to be father’s age and does not think twice of it. “The old man watches me, he measures my approach, then leans out lunging with his two-spiked goad dead at my skull. I hit him so fast with the staff this hand holds, he’s knocked back rolling off the cart. Where he lies, face up. Then I kill them all” (Sophocles. 728) Even though Oedipus killed many people so it would be tough to remember just one, it seems as though it would be tough for him to forget killing a man that was of an age that could potentially be his father. At the very least, he would not have been nearly surprised when the prophet told him that he was the murderer of his father. Oedipus should have been able to recount some older man that he had murdered in the past. In an interesting article by Robert W. Wix from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, the author points out that no matter what, Oedipus must be found guilty throughout the tale of this story in order for it to work. Therefore, Sophocles needs to mold the story in order to make some details fit to tell the final conclusion.