Irony in Oedipus Rex

In: English and Literature

Submitted By nooshin
Words 651
Pages 3
Oedipus Rex is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. In this play, he developed dramatic irony to a high level. Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows the tragic truth before it disclose to the characters within the story. There are many examples of the irony in this play, which play the key role through the story. The main dramatic irony in this play is that everyone in the audience knows from the beginning of the play that Oedipus has killed his father and married his mother. In this play, Sophocles uses irony to create sense of sadness and agony in the audience.

At the very beginning of the play, when Oedipus found out about the previous Thebes' king, Laios, he says, "I learned of him from others; I never saw him.” The very first irony that comes out to the audience is that Oedipus actually saw Laios when he killed him, and the worse feeling that audience experience is how sad it is that a son does not know anything about his father and knows a little from others.

Another example of irony in this play comes when Oedipus announces, "Whoever killed King Laios might--who knows?--decide at any moment to kill me as well. By avenging the murdered king I protect myself." The irony is that Oedipus is the King killer, and now he wants

to retaliate the king murderer to protect himself from the killer; how is that possible to kill the murderer and protect himself even though they are the same person. In that proclaim, he is very solicitous to find and punish the murderer, therefore he can prevent the killer to get rid of the present king, who is Oedipus, and taking the kingship. He actually did this to the king Laios and become the Thebes king after the laios, and of course on that moment he does not know what he did to the laios.

In another part of the play, there is a very brief irony when Oedipus says that “I say I take the son's part, just as though I…...

Similar Documents

Oedipus Rex

...Oedipus Rex Upon reading Oedipus Rex, written by Dudley Fittz and Robert Fitzgerald, Oedipus is based upon Greek mythology 430 BCE. Oedipus Rex, former king of Thebes wants to solve the Cities problem with a proper cause to why people are dying with the plague. Oedipus is determined to find out who murdered king “as if it were his own father.” There has been a Sphinx going around telling riddles to the people of Thebes. If you get the riddle correct, you will not die. The outlook of the community is dark, gloomy and desperate for answers. Oedipus find himself out for questioning at the oracles domain, where he meets a man name Teiresias, a blind prophet teller. Oedipus vows to find the murder of the former king of Thebes. He will do whatever it takes, even if it means killing his friends or family. Upon searching for answers, Oedipus crosses a blind prophet teller Teiresias in request to unsolved answers. Teiresias pays no mind in telling Oedipus what he does not know. In the refusal of answers from the old geyser, Oedipus reflects his authority with ignorance. Teiresias replies to Oedipus to stop searching for the killer and the questions you do not want to know the answers too. Oedipus arrogantness set himself up for more adventure than he had in mind, with more questions that came along with so few answers. Kreon, brother of Iokaste, queen of Thebes, wife of Oedipus is swindled in the horrifying democracy. Kreon is sworn upon with......

Words: 751 - Pages: 4

Oedipus Rex

...Oedipus was an inferior monarch. He was unjust to many of his people and is not only an arrogant King, but an ignorant one. However, one of Oedipus’ major accomplishments was ridding the country of the sphinx, back when Oedipus first arrived in Thebes. It seems that Oedipus’ life was largely based on pride. Pride was ultimately what led to King Lauis’ murder, the killing of the sphinx and him becoming king. As he became more powerful, his pride eventually began to get the better of him. He refused advice from his wife Jocasta when she warned him not to continue to pursue the mystery of his birth. “No! In God’s name do not go on. Have I not suffered enough?... I am warning you for your own good.” Even with this warning, he refused to listen and ignored the foretold danger. Without his stubborn attitude, he could have very much saved himself from a life filled with regret. When Oedipus meets Jocasta for the first time, it was obvious that they had some sort of a connection, which is understandable as they would have some sort of connection - being mother and son and all. It is because of this connection that Oedipus fell in love with, married and had children with his mother. However this was of no fault of Oedipus’ or Jocasta. As Jocasta believed her son to be dead and so believed that her actions were no different to anybody else. Everybody loves and has a connection with their mother so it is understandable that without knowing, Oedipus he would’ve felt like there was......

Words: 629 - Pages: 3

Oedipus Rex

...Oedipus Rex 9) Write down at least three similarities and three differences between these two plays. Both King Lear and Oedipus Rex have similarities as well as differences. There are many ways in which the two plays can be linked however there are also comparisons between the plays as a whole, the characters, themes and imagery. King Lear and Oedipus Rex are both tragedies which involve a tragic ending for both protagonists Lear and Oedipus. Lear dies at the end showing remorse for disowning Cordelia who truly loved him and Oedipus pokes out his eyes after realising what has happened and what he has done. He also leaves Thebes and is portrayed to be guilty and hating his life. Therefore he pokes out his eyes leaving him to “walk through a cloud of darkness and it will last forever”. This shows how remorseful he is feeling which is also present in King Lear as Lear realises the mistake he committed by disowning Cordelia. As he holds her he points to her as if saying she is alive which shows he wants her to be alive. King Lear and Oedipus Rex also contain the mutual theme of blindness which is both metaphorical and physical. The protagonists of the story are metaphorically blind not seeing what is happening to them, which proves them to be gullible and vulnerable. The theme of blindness to the truth is represented in both plays. Just how King Lear is blinded by Goneril and Regan’s fake statement of their love for him, Oedipus is also blinded, however he is......

Words: 461 - Pages: 2

Oedipus Rex

...Honors 9/30/13 Irony in Sight Throughout Sophacles’ play Oedipus Rex, he uses sight and blindness to demonstrate irony and the hubris of Oedipus. This is marked by Oedipus’ unwillingness or inability to understand that which is clear to the audience. His hubris (extreme pride) is his tragic flaw, truly blinding him from the truth. Oedipus eventually blinds himself, and it is then that he can finally “see”. From the very beginning, Oedipus was blinded by pride. Throughout the play, it is the one greatest irony that those with physical sight are blind, yet those who cannot actually see can see the truth. With the city of Thebes dying, Creon, having been sent to do so by Oedipus, comes from Delphi and the Oracle to deliver the message that the "the pollution of this land" (Sophocles 232), the murderer, be killed to bring an end to their strife.. Oedipus shows hubris when he demands Creon talk with him publicly, so convinced is he that he can solve any problem. Oedipus Has already solved the riddle of the Sphinx, that which had thwarted so many before him; "Oedipus knew the famous riddles. He was a mighty king, he was the envy of everyone who say how lucky he'd been. Now he's struck a wave of terrible ruin" (276) The chorus wishes for Oedipus to appeal to the gods to find the killer, Oedipus asserts that "to force the gods to act against their will- no man has the power."(320) Here, at least, he seems to humble himself before at least Apollo. Oedipus calls for Tiresius,...

Words: 1485 - Pages: 6

Oedipus Rex

...In Oedipus Tyranous, Sophocles, is having the audience ask a question as the play progresses; was Oedipus’s punishment fit for the crime that he has committed. Among the crime we as an audience ask are self why does Oedipus insist in finding the murderer of Laius, is this a self fulfilling prophecy that he is trying to answer or in the back of his mind does he already know the answer of who killed Laius; during all of this does the free will of Oedipus stand out or is his free will diminished at this point letting his destiny control him and not the other way around. With these questions asked upon our own interpretation of the play we ask ourselves what kind of character is being shown by Oedipus from the beginning when he doesn’t know Laius to the confession that he may have killed his own father. Throughout the play the audience can gain a clearer picture of Oedipus as a man by the reactions that he gives toward the murder of Laius. The first question that we should ask is if the punishment that Oedipus received is appropriate for the crime that he has committed. In doing the analysis on this the first thing that should be looked at is how Oedipus felt about his situation, and the second is how Oedipus reacts when he finds out that he is the killer of Laius his father. Oedipus was adamant on finding out who the killer was so that justice could be served and the plaque that engulfs the village can be lifted, he cares about the people of the town and wants to try......

Words: 940 - Pages: 4

Oedipus Rex of the best Greek tragedies, Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles tells of the misfortune of a great man who tried to fight a terrible fate, ultimately bringing down misfortune and sorrow upon them. King Oedipus, ruler of Thebes, the protagonist and tragic hero of the play, hears of a terrible prophecy condemning him to slay his own father and bed his mother, leading him to run far away from the place he considered his home. However, as many Greek playwrights, Sophocles underscored the impossibility of fighting a fate set by the cunning, often cruel, gods, making Oedipus fulfill the prophecy, which ultimately leads to his downfall. A story brimming with irony, foreshadowing and paradox, Oedipus Rex weaves the tale of a man who was his own destruction, acting as his own antagonist in the play, sending the audience a clear moral: fate is immutable. In the beginning of the play, Oedipus possesses many child-like characteristics, perhaps a way to foreshadow his true relationship with Jocasta, his wife, and Creon, his brother-in-law, both of whom are significantly older than him. His irrationality, quick temper and inability to keep emotions separate from his decision-making, lead to him alienate Creon, a useful guide and father figure to Oedipus. As Creon states, “Attitudes like yours [Oedipus’s] always hurt the person who has them.” (Sophocles, Act II, scene i, page 7) His response of outrage towards Tiresias, who at first withheld the truth to help Oedipus, distanced him from the......

Words: 731 - Pages: 3

Themes on Oedipus Rex

...On the surface, Oedipus Rex seems to be the story of a man who is caught in the awful trap of fate. Although this is true, Sophocles uses this story as a vessel for the discussion of the themes of the nature of humans and reality. One thing that is displayed by the journey of Oedipus is that there are many elements of fate that one can not run from. Sophocles also discusses how to determine the nature and worth of a person. Through the vessel of this narrative, everyone is challenged to look at these facets of humanity. Of these questions about humanity, the question of fate is the one that is most readily visible. According to Sophocles, when Oedipus goes to Delphi, he is told that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus’s first reaction, similar to one that many people would have, is to remove himself from a situation in which he might fulfill the prophecy. The irony of the situation is, that in doing so, Oedipus walks directly in to the situation that fulfills the prophecy that he dreads. Through this strange twist of events, Sophocles tries to show that there are some aspects of our lives that that we have no control over. What one needs to do in these situations is simply to make the best of the situation that is presented. In the modern context, people are born into certain circumstances and living conditions. These situations will often limit each person’s opportunities, but he should still make the most of whatever he can. Only by fully......

Words: 607 - Pages: 3

Oedipus Rex

...and think about this every now and then. In the book Oedipus Rex by Sophocles the main character Oedipus does not think about this and his bad choices led to his ill fate. He chose to walk down the middle of the road, angering King Laius and his men. He chose to not listen to Tiresias. Lastly he chose to enter the city of Thebes. Oedipus’ bad choice of walking down the middle of the road on his way to Thebes, and angering King Laius and his men led to his fate. While Oedipus is on is way to the city of Thebes he chooses to walk in the middle of the road. King Laius (who is actually Oedipus’ father) and his men need to pass, so they ask Oedipus to move over. Oedipus becomes angry and beats everyone to death. If he had chose to be responsible and walk on the side of the road he would have never become angry and kill his father. “Swinging my club in my right hand I knocked him out of his car, and he rolled to the ground. I killed him. I killed them all” (Sophocles 232). Another bad choice that untimely led to Oedipus’ fate was when he chose not to listen to Tiresias. Tiresias tells Oedipus that it is him who murdered King Laius, but Oedipus refuses to believe anything he says. “You sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man!” (Sophocles 216). Tiresias tells him that he cannot see the wretched things he has done and basically that the oracle that was told to him was true. However Oedipus chooses to not believe this. If Oedipus had listened to Tiresias he could have saved......

Words: 474 - Pages: 2

Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex 2

...discusses the ironic qualities of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. The play is very ironical in that it entwines the themes of free will as well as predestination. Even though we are sickened by the tragic life of Oedipus and the other characters, we are still able to appreciate the ironic characteristics of the play itself. Indeed, we eventually come to realize that man is free and yet he is also fated. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex The primary characteristic of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is that it is an ironic play. The play’s irony grasps the audience in a profound way because of the awareness that occurs regarding everything that is going on. Even though we, as observers, are sickened at the tragic life of Oedipus and the other characters, we are still able to appreciate the ironical characteristics of the play itself. The irony primarily exists in the context of man being free, but at the same time, fated. Without doubt, this play very much reflects the Greek vision which emphasizes the immediacy of experience and the nature of man. We see that man is free and that he has free will. At the same time, man also must reconcile himself to a certain fate. Irony is inherent in this very concept. Indeed, as demonstrated in Oedipus Rex, while there is free will in the human condition, there is also predestination to one’s life. In this play, we see how the main character Oedipus is free to run, but ultimately he cannot run away from himself. Oedipus was once a man of power and......

Words: 638 - Pages: 3

Oedipus Rex

...Oedipus Rex and Antigone- Sophocles “Oedipus Rex” and “Antigone”, plays by the Greek playwright Sophocles take place in the land of Thebes and have their central ideas as the question of justice. The two plays have several attributes in common and also have some differences. Both plays fall under the tragedy genre where the respective kings, King Oedipus in “Oedipus Rex” and King Creon in “Antigone”, display lack of justice and get punished as a result. In “Oedipus Rex”, King Oedipus displays lack of justice by killing the former king (Laius) and all his servants, except one, mercilessly. He also committed a sin by marrying his own mother. Similarly, King Creon displays lack of justice in the play “Antigone”, by denying the burial of Polenysis and he displays cruelty by being the immediate cause for the death of Antigone, the death of his son and the queen as well. In both plays, the curses on the land of Theses came out of the sins of the respective kings. Fate has a critical role in both plays. In “Oedipus Rex”, King Oedipus knew that he would kill his father and breed children from his own mother. That made him leave Corenth to get rid of his supposedly parents. But the return of Oedipus to Thebes paved the way for the prophecy to occur. In “Antigone”, King Creon couldn’t listen to the words of the blind prophet and paid the price for his ignorance. In the two plays, justice was realized in a similar way; which is through the punishment of the kings who......

Words: 821 - Pages: 4

Oedipus Rex

...IV, Period 1 25 March 2014 Consequences of Knowledge and Truth Although the quest for knowledge plays a big role in Sophocles' play "Oedipus Rex,” translated by Dudley Fittz and Robert Fitzgerald, the consequences of wanting to know the truth led to an unforeseen exile. Though Oedipus was very dignified, his pursuit for knowledge and truth resulted in ruin as Oedipus uncovered his destiny, which he was better off not knowing. Because Oedipus was a king of great honor; his power prevented him from acknowledging the words of his own people and accepting the truth. Oedipus, once a man of power and wealth, lost all respect creating ramifications that he later endured. The power of truth became the biggest obstacles for Oedipus' character to accept amongst the vigilant kingdom he was living in. Oedipus' was unwilling to see the truth behind his very own prophecy spoken by his kingdom of people, to whom he should have always been willing to listen. He requested to hear the spoken words of Thebes and summoned them to hear, “Children, I would not have you speak through messengers, and therefore I have come myself to hear you— I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name” (Sophocles 3). Not realizing the slander of the town was about him, Oedipus requested to be told the truth spoken throughout his people. Because of his request to hear the truth, Oedipus’ was hit with the truth of his past. He is dignified enough to be told up front with out having to hear through the gossip, however......

Words: 1246 - Pages: 5

Pity in Oedipus Rex

...Pity for Oedipus Rex. In Sophocles’ King Oedipus play, a series of misfortunate events led by fate and the word of the gods takes its course. Although many look down upon Oedipus for his prideful attitude and short temper, he is not to be blamed for the calamities that take place. He shows nothing but sheer determination throughout the entire play and acts almost always on good intentions. Oedipus elicits pity as his intentions were pure in his pursuit to save the people of Thebes, proving that accidental infractions will always overpower intentional good deeds. Determination, which is typically a positive human trait, ends up being Oedipus’ hamartia, his most tragic flaw. In an attempt to uncover his origin of birth, Oedipus receives a distressing prophecy: “he was destined one day to kill his father and become his own mother’s husband.” (Sophocles, The Theban Legend 23). He is determined to avoid this horrible fate so he decides to flee from Corinth and do whatever is necessary to keep him and his family safe. “But by chance he came to hear, again by the mouth of Apollo’s ministers, the terrible prediction concerning him…He fled from Corinth, resolved never again to set eyes on his supposed father and mother as long as they lived.” (Sophocles, 24). As the play progresses, Oedipus continues to show utter determination throughout his quest, not once, but twice. He solves the riddle of the Sphinx upon arrival at Thebes which is what merits him with kingship in the beginning......

Words: 806 - Pages: 4

Oedipus Rex

...Blindness in Oedipus the King People can be “blinded” to the truth. The answer to their question or solution to their problem may have been obvious. Yet, they could not "see" the answer. They were blinded to the truth. Associations have been made between being blind and enlightened. A blind person is said to have powers to see invisible things. They "see" into the future. The blind may not have physical sight, but they have another kind of vision. In Sophocles' King Oedipus, Teiresias, the blind prophet, presents the truth to King Oedipus and Jocasta. Oedipus has been blinded to the truth his whole life. When he does find the truth, he loses his physical vision. Because of the truth, Oedipus blinds himself. Jocasta was blind to the true identity of Oedipus. Even when she found out the truth, she refused to accept it. In this case, those who are blind ultimately do have a higher vision - the truth. Kind Oedipus started life with a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. In an attempt to avoid this fate, his parents, Laius and Jocasta, sent him into the mountains to die. However, a shepherd saved Oedipus. This shepherd gave Oedipus to Polybus and Merope. When Oedipus learned of his prophecy, he fled his home, thinking these people were his real parents. On his flight, he met Laius. He ended up killing Laius. He continued on, answered a riddle of the evil Sphinx, and ended up king of Thebes. With this kingdom, Oedipus married Jocasta. He had lived......

Words: 982 - Pages: 4

Oedipus Rex

...years after the death of Sophocles, the author of Oedipus Rex. Aristotle was a great admirer of the works of Sophocles and is said to have considered Oedipus Rex to be the perfect tragedy and the basis for his thoughts in Poetics. He defines tragedy as, “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions…Every tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality – namely, plot, characters, diction, thought, spectacle, melody”. The work Oedipus Rex fits very well into this structure using the specific characteristics of; late point of attack, exposition, several key incidents, climax, catharsis, protagonist, antagonist, hamartia, anagorismos, metabasis, and perpetia. Aristotle’s first principle of tragedy is that of the plot. He defines the plot as how the incidents are presented to the audience in the structure of the play. This is the most important of the parts and holds the meat and potatoes of a tragedy. According to Poetics the best plots should be complex, arouse fear and pity, and involve a high degree of suffering for the protagonist. These are all seen in Oedipus Rex as there are plot twists, we learn to care about Oedipus and the decisions he makes, and finally......

Words: 892 - Pages: 4

Oedipus Rex

...Fate: A House Inside a House In Oedipus Rex Oedipus and king Laius prove “No skill in the world, nothing human can penetrate the future”. They prove that fate is set in stone and no one can change it. Oedipus is the first character to demonstrate this in the play. He tried everything to avoid his who he thought was his birth parents to avoid the future he was told. It was predicted by Teiresias that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus with the extent of his knowledge he really believed he could avoid this event in his life. Not knowing who his real parents were allowed his fate to come ture. The second character to show that your fate is inescapable is King Laius. It was told to him that his son who is later revealed to be Oedipus, would kill him and take his wife’s hand. He tried avoiding this just like Oedipus by taking his newborn son to a mountain to die. He even bound him by the ankles with rope, but not even that was enough. Years later the prophecy had come true. These two characters prove that fate will find a way because it is set in stone. Fate isn’t something that can be control or changed. It is greater than the Oedipus. Greater than King Laius and any living being. Time it is endless and out of human control like fate. We as people will never live long enough to see all of time play out therefore fate. It is something that can never be fully understood or have time enough to grasp. Our lives as mortal beings allows us to see out fate happen...

Words: 712 - Pages: 3