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Oedipus The King

Oedipus The King

Even though Oedipus the King didn’t detail all of Oedipus’ adventures, I thought it was a good book. I think it was smart of Sophocles to pick out the most significant, life altering phase in Oedipus’ life to bring to the stage. I also really respect how Sophocles took the myth of Oedipus and put all of the details of the story into it. I think it’s somewhat amazing how he took something that supposedly happened and gave the people exact dialogue and specific feelings. I realize that Oedipus the King is only a myth and that all Sophocles needed was a creative mind, but I still respect him. Being as Oedipus the King’s storyline was already laid out, I can’t blame Sophocles for some of the events I didn’t agree with or ridiculed. First of all, I know I shouldn’t laugh at this myth because the ancient Greeks actually believed it, but I did. The Sphinx was a monster with the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of a bird. I just think it’s absurd that someone would actually make up a story with something like the Sphinx in it. It sounds like something out of a science fiction story, and I just don’t like science fiction. Next, why did Oedipus gouge his eyes out? I understand why Oedipus would do something so drastic in the instant he learned the foul deeds he committed, but I thought he would’ve killed himself as Jocasta did. That is, until I realized in a way he wanted to suffer because he believed he deserved it. Honestly, I feel bad for the guy. Finally, there was one part of Oedipus the King that I didn’t like and can blame on Sophocles. That was the part where the chorus seems to go on and on about the gods and how Apollo and Zeus should save them. They chanted on about how they would never go to Delphi or another temple if Oedipus’ story wouldn’t come true. I did not like reading that part at all and consider it a waste of Sophocles’ talent. In Oedipus the King I thought Oedipus was the central character because the whole play was about him. It focused on Oedipus’ life and I believe that is a key component for being the central character. Oedipus was just trying to find himself. He grew up thinking that his parents were Polybus and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth, until some guy who had a few too many at a banquet told him they weren’t.

 This sparked Oedipus’ curiosity and he went to the oracle of Apollo to find out the truth. However, the oracle only told him he’d kill his dad and marry his mom. Upon hearing this, he surely wasn’t going home in the hope of preventing this from happening. So he decided to start anew and on his way he ran into an old man and his servants who tried to run him off the road. He killed them in self-defense, except for one. Little did Oedipus know he had just killed his real father who had abandoned him at birth. Oedipus continued his journey and came to Thebes, where he defeated the Sphinx, winning the new position of king and husband to Jocasta, his real mother. The prophecy of Apollo had come true, without anyone knowing. Poor Oedipus had no idea what he was doing. He was just trying to live his life. He had no control over the situation, and if he had known who his biological parents were, I’m sure he never would’ve killed and/or married them. I pictured Oedipus as tall and muscular with curly brown hair, always dressed in a stereotypical toga, reminiscent of the times. Oedipus was a round character because he was just, innocent, and good-hearted, yet he was extremely stubborn and headstrong. He was also a developing character because he changed throughout the course of the story. In the beginning and middle, he adamantly refused to believe he could possibly be the terrible man he’s accused of. Yet, in the end he finally does come to realize the truth about his past. The central theme in Oedipus the King was, “Don’t try to control your fate.” This theme not only applied to Oedipus, but also to Laius. When Laius heard of his son’s disgraceful future and the costly effect it had on him, he tried to alter his own fate. As a result of Laius’ meddling, Jocasta and himself were unhappy because they had no son and in the end, the prophecy came true. When applied to Oedipus this theme is more apparent. After he went to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, he learned of what shameful thing he was to do. When he tried to dodge it, he only made it really come true. There is the possibility that had Oedipus controlled his curiosity of his biological parents, none of this never would’ve happened. He never would’ve even went to Delphi and then fled from Corinth. He never would’ve met up with his real father and killed him.

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