Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Oedipus the King (Lat: “Oedipus Rex”) is a dramatic tragedy by the old Greek writer Sophocles, which was first performed in around 430 BCE. It was the second of Sophocles’ three Theban plays to be delivered, yet it starts things out in the sequence followed by “Oedipus at Colonus” and after that “Antigone”. It pursues the tale of King Oedipus of Thebes as he finds that he has accidentally murdered his own father, Laius, and wedded his own mother, Jocasta. Sophocles took an outstanding legend and increased it for his Athenian audience by accentuating characteristics they held dear: bravery, self-assuredness, and love for their city.

In this play of man versus inflexible destiny, Sophocles utilized dramatic  incongruity to further create audience attention: they know how the play will end, savoring the incongruity of the words verbally expressed by the characters, who don’t have the foggiest idea. In his Poetics, Aristotle utilized Oedipus Rex as a model tragedy, investigating Sophocles’ wonderful utilization of inversion, revelation, and character. Oedipus Rex has gotten impressive consideration in modern times mostly due to Sigmund Freud, who, massively moved by the play, promoted the thought of the Oedipus Complex. The play keeps on connecting with the audiences and researchers right up till the present time.

Plot and Major Characters

Oedipus Rex begins with the people of Thebes  pleading to God for King Oedipus to save their vanishing city. Creon, brother of Oedipus’ wife, Jocasta, comes back from the oracle of Apollo visit. He reports the oracle’s message: the plague on Thebes is the consequence of the unpunished homicide of the past king, Laius. Oedipus pledges to find the killer’s identity and retaliate for Laius’ death. He calls for Tiresias, an old blind man, to uncover what he knows. Tiresias refuses to do it and Oedipus is irritated at his noncompliance. Tiresias angrily tells the King that it is Oedipus himself who, as the killer, has contaminated the city, and further, that he is unwittingly living with his nearest kin in a disgraceful way. Oedipus blames Tiresias for contriving with Creon to topple him. Tiresias answers that Oedipus will be astonished when he learns reality of his parentage and of his marriage.

Oedipus considers executing Creon, but, Jocasta intervenes, and Creon is ousted. Jocasta attempts to console her husband by claiming that nobody, not even oracles, can divine what’s to come. For instance, she discloses to him that she and Laius were

once informed that their child would murder his father, and this did not occur since their child died on a mountain, where he was deserted as a baby, and Laius was slaughtered by thieves—there was an observer to the homicide. This info does anything but quiet Oedipus. He tells his wife that he had trusted his parents to be Polybus of Corinth and Merope, until a tipsy reveler at a banquet declared that Oedipus was another person’s child. Polybus and Merope, when questioned, were irate and vexed, yet neither affirmed nor denied the charge.

Oedipus further reviews that he went to Delphi, to ask the oracle of Apollo the real truth about his parentage. He was not given the appropriate response he looked for, however was rather informed that he would kill his dad and have kids with his mom. In fear, he fled the other way of Corinth, until he went to a spot where three roads crossed. He met a little gathering of men who impolitely attempted to push him out of their way. Oedipus struck the driver and consequently was struck by the man being attracted the wagon; in the battle that pursued, Oedipus slew them all—or so he thought.

After Oedipus completes his story, a messenger brings news that Polybus has died and Oedipus must come back to govern Corinth as their ruler. He cannot, expecting that Apollo’s oracle of fathering kids by his mom may work out as expected. The messenger advises Oedipus not to stress, that he was not by any means Polybus’ child nor was Merope his mom. Truly a herdsman who worked for Laius offered Oedipus to the messenger, who thus offered him to Polybus to raise as his own. Jocasta asks Oedipus to stop his look for truth. The herder, who was the observer to Laius’ demise, arrives. He concedes that Laius had taught him to murder the baby Oedipus yet that he had given the child to the messenger.

Finally, Oedipus understands that he to be sure has killed his father and sired four children with his mother. He races to discover Jocasta and discovers that she has locked herself in her room. Later, he found Jocasta is hanged and dead. He tears out the clasps from the shoulders of her dress and gouges his eyes with them. Creon returns, presently king, and Oedipus asks that he be ousted. Creon answers that the issue must be chosen by the gods.

Major Themes

Sophocles includes a few themes in his play: he investigates the potential threats of seeking after self-knowledge, the subject of blame and guiltlessness, and the idea of fate. Maybe no play has better exhibited the adage that a man’s character is his fate, for it is in satisfying his own qualities—his persistent quest for learning, his supreme trust in himself, and his speed to outrage—that Oedipus meets his fate, and the prophecies are comprehended.


Splendidly imagined and composed, Oedipus Rex is a show of self-disclosure. Sophocles accomplishes an astonishing pressure and power by constraining the dramatic activity to the day on which Oedipus learns about his birth  to the world and his fate. The way that the audience knows the dim mystery that Oedipus accidentally slew his actual dad and wedded his mom does nothing to decimate the anticipation. Oedipus’ search for reality has all the tightness of an analyst story, but then since audiences know reality, they know about every one of the incongruities in which Oedipus is enmeshed. That learning empowers them to fear the last disclosure while they feel sorry for the man whose past is step by step and constantly revealed to him.

The plot is altogether incorporated with the portrayal of Oedipus, for it is he who induces the activity forward in his concern for Thebes, his own carelessness, and his numbness of his past. His defects are a hot temper and imprudence, yet without those characteristics his gallant course of self-disclosure could never happen. Destiny for Sophocles isn’t something basically outside to human beings yet something without a moment’s delay inborn in them and otherworldly. Oracles and prophets in this play may demonstrate the desire of gods and show future occasions, yet the individual offers substance to the predictions.

In addition, there is a component of opportunity allowed to human beings, a capacity to pick, where the impulses of character and the impulses of the gods are feeble. It is standing out people meet the necessities of their fate that opportunity lies. They can surrender to fate, arguing uncontrollable issues at hand, or they can bear the full obligation regarding what they do. In the main case they are simply forlorn, yet in the second they are terrible and take on an enormity of soul that nothing can prevail.

An essential point in the play is that Oedipus is totally unconscious that he murdered his father and married his mother. He himself is the reason for the plague on Thebes, and in vowing to discover the killer of Laius and outcast him he unknowingly articulates judgment on himself. Oedipus, the ruler and the legend who spared Thebes from the Sphinx, puts stock in his own guiltlessness. He is furious and suspicious when the incited Teiresias blames him for the wrongdoing, so he bounces to the end that Teiresias and Creon are plotters against him.

As conceivable as that clarification might be, Oedipus keeps up it with unreasonable eagerness, not even trying to examine it before he chooses to have Creon killed. Each demonstration of his is performed impulsively: his hot-tempered executing of Laius, his examination of the homicide, his savage blinding of himself, and his emphasis on being ousted. He is a man of incredible pride and enthusiasm who is determined to serving Thebes, however he doesn’t have sad stature until the proof of his blame starts to amass.

Incidentally, his past is uncovered to him by individuals who wish him well and who need to console him. Each time a character attempts to comfort him with information, the info serves to damn him all the more completely. Jocasta, in refuting how prophecies can be, first recommends to him that he unwittingly truly killed Laius, along these lines validating the prophecies. The messenger from Corinth in consoling Oedipus about his parentage brings his actual parentage into inquiry, yet he says enough to persuade Jocasta that Oedipus is her child.

It is now, when he decides to finish the scan for reality, realizing that he executed Laius and realizing that the consequence of his examination might be absolutely terrible, that Oedipus’ actual courage begins to rise. His impulsiveness now is never again an obligation yet turns out to be a piece of his uprightness. Learning the full truth of his dim fate, his last go about as ruler is to daze himself over the dead assortment of Jocasta, his wife and his mom.

It is an awful, anguishing minute, even in portrayal, yet in the profundities of his agony Oedipus is heavenly. He doesn’t submit latently to his trouble or argue that he submitted his foul demonstrations in numbness, however he could be defended in doing as such. He blinds himself in a wrath of contrition, tolerating absolute duty regarding what he did and resolved to accept the discipline of outcast also. As desolate as he shows up in the last scene with Creon, there is progressively open soul and more quality in his savage misery and his goals of outcast than in some other terrible legend ever of theater. Oedipus unwinds his life to its most extreme breaking points of anguish and finds there a magnificent glory of soul.

Literacy Criticism

Pretty much every character who dies in the three Theban plays does as such at his or her very own hand. Jocasta balances herself in Oedipus the King and Antigone balances herself in Antigone. Eurydice and Haemon wound themselves toward the finish of Antigone. Oedipus delivers repulsive brutality on himself toward the finish of his first play, and eagerly goes to his very own secretive passing toward the finish of his second. Polynices and Eteocles died on fighting with each other, and it could be contended that Polynices’ demise in any event is self-delivered in that he has heard his dad’s revile and realizes that his motivation is damned. Inbreeding inspires or by implication realizes the majority of the deaths in these plays.

References to eyesight and vision, both strict and allegorical, are extremely visit in each of the three of the Theban plays. Frequently, the picture of clear vision is utilized as an allegory for learning and understanding. Actually, this similitude is so much a piece of the Greek mindset that it is nearly not an analogy by any stretch of the imagination. However, the references to visual perception and understanding in these plays structure a significant example in blend with the references to exacting and figurative visual impairment.

Oedipus is acclaimed for his reasonable sightedness and brisk cognizance; however, he finds that he has been ignorant concerning reality for a long time, and after that he blinds himself so as not to need to look without anyone else children/siblings. Creon is inclined to a comparative blindness to reality in Antigone. Despite the fact that blind, the maturing Oedipus at last gets a restricted prophetic vision. Tiresias is blind, yet he sees more distant than others. Overall, the plays appear to state that people can show wonderful forces of scholarly infiltration and understanding, and that they have an incredible limit with respect to learning, yet that even the most intelligent person is at risk to mistake, that the human ability for information is at last very constrained and temperamental.

The plots of Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus both spin around entombments, and convictions about internment are critical in Oedipus the King too. Polynices is kept over the ground after his demise, denied a grave, and his decaying body annoys the divine beings, his relatives, and old conventions. Antigone is buried alive, to the ghastliness of everybody who watches. Toward the finish of Oedipus, the King, Oedipus can’t stay in Thebes or be covered inside its region, since his very individual is dirtied and hostile to seeing divine beings and men.

In any case, his decision, in Oedipus at Colonus, to be covered at Colonus presents an extraordinary and mysterious blessing on all of Athens, promising that country triumph over future aggressors. In Ancient Greece, double crossers and individuals who murder their very own relatives couldn’t be covered inside their city’s domain, yet their relatives still had a commitment to cover them. As one of the essential, certain obligations that individuals owe their relatives, entombments speak to the commitments that originate from connection, just as the contentions that can emerge between one’s obligation to family and to the city-state.