Irony in 'Oedipus Rex'

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Oedipus Essay Chris Frank Period 2 There are many forms of irony and they each can emphasize something different. In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles uses both verbal and situational irony to demonstrate the thematic idea that arrogance can lead to a person’s downfall. In the story the author uses situational irony in the beginning of the story when Oedipus is questioning the death of the earlier king Laius. “Trouble? Your king was murdered – royal blood! What stopped you from tracking down the killer then and there?” (lines 145-147). This is when Oedipus takes it upon himself to track down the killer in order to appease the gods. He declares “No, I’ll start again – I’ll bring it all to light myself!” (lines 149-150). This is important because it is what eventually leads to Oedipus to discover the horrible fact about the murder of Laius. Kind of ironic that he went searching for a murderer who turned out to be himself. An occurrence of verbal irony is present in one of the conversations Oedipus and Tiresias have. “Blind, lost… you can’t hurt me or anyone else who sees the light – “(lines 425-427). Here Oedipus is angered at Tiresias because Tiresias is claiming that Oedipus is “the corruption of the land!” (line 401). This is important because it helps the reader to see how Oedipus’ arrogance is shoving away these accusations against him until he hears the truth from the real source. A second instance of situational irony occurs when Jocasta and Oedipus are talking about the murder of Laius. “son was doomed to kill my husband… my son… he never had a chance to kill his father. They destroyed him first.” (lines 945-947). Here it is ironic that in fact he did kill his father, and even more so that Jocasta’s son and the murderer of Laius is right in front of her. Situational irony also occurs when Oedipus tries to run from the prophecy in order to save his

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