Irony in Oedipus Rex

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Emma Shychuck Honors English 9 Oedipus Rex Paper 18 Mar. 2013 The Irony in Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex is full of irony, dramatic irony that is. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows what is going to happen, but the characters do not. There was really no suspense like in horror movies where you don’t know what is going to happen next, because the audience knows the story already. This takes away from the playwright because he cannot wow the audience with original ideas. Still, Sophocles is still a very good playwright and it shows all throughout Oedipus Rex. By far the most ironic thing in the book is its name, Oedipus Rex. Oedipus thought he became the king of Thebes because he killed the dreadful Sphinx, which at the time was the only reason he could’ve became king, but as we progress on into the story, we see that he was actually the son of Laius. Laius was the king of Thebes before Oedipus, so Oedipus would have been king because he was the heir to the throne. Oedipus Rex means Oedipus the king, but Rex refers to being the king through heir ship, not heroic deeds. Oedipus Tyrannous means becoming the king through heroic deeds, which he did, but he was heir to the throne first. If Jocasta didn’t hang him by his feet in Cithaeron’s wood, this play would have never even happened. Another small little detail that is ironic is Oedipus’s name. His name means ‘swollen foot’, which is another case of irony because his mother strung him up in the tree by a rope through his heel. When the Sheppard found him he just named him Oedipus from his swollen feet! “I found you in Cithaeron’s wooded dells.” (37) “I untied you, when / You had the soles of both your feet bored through.” (37) Surely back then the people of Thebes understand the meaning of names! For goodness sake Jocasta said Oedipus resembles Lauis. “His figure was not much unlike your own.” (27) Oedipus’s

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