Oedipus Rex Essay

817 Words4 Pages
Ohh the Tragedy! Aristotle, in his Poetics, defines Oedipus as being “a definite example of the form and purpose of tragedy.” A tragedy is defined as a serious drama featuring a noble, dignified main character- often a member of royalty- who strives to achieve something and is ultimately defeated. Oedipus Rex contains a complete combination of all the features of a tragedy. By using many different themes, Sophocles brings the play to its tragic ending and Oedipus to his ultimate demise. The dramatic irony sets the play’s tragic events in motion. It starts in the beginning of the play when the oracle Delphi tells Oedipus he must solve the mystery of the previous king’s murder to cure Thebes of its plaque. Oedipus agrees to solve the mystery of Laius’ murder and declares to the city of Thebes, “upon the murderer [he] [invokes] this curse- whether he is one man and all unknown, or one of many- may he wear out his life in misery to miserable doom!” (Sophocles.1.1.246-49). Oedipus evokes a curse upon the murderer when the murderer turns out to be him. By setting this penalty, for the killer Oedipus seals his own fate. The dramatic irony lies in the fact that the killer is searching for nobody but himself unknowingly. Thus the announcement greatly heightens the tragic effect of the discovery, which comes towards the end of the play. Before learning he is the murderer, Oedipus’ blindness to the truth pushes him closer to his tragic ending. Even when the answers are obvious Oedipus lacks the ability to ‘see’ them. To start his search Oedipus calls upon Tiresias, a blind man known for his wisdom. Tiresias begs Oedipus to just let him go home. Oedipus disregards Tiresias and continues to press him for information. Provoked by anger, Tiresias tells Oedipus he is the murderer. The king criticizes Tiresias’s powers and insults his blindness, but Tiresias only responds “so,

More about Oedipus Rex Essay

Open Document