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The Mythical Story of Patricide and Criminal Congress

Question:

Discuss about the Oedipus for Psychological and Political.

Oedipus the King reveals as a psychological, political and a mystery story. From the beginning to the end of this great mythic story of patricide and criminal congress, playwright gives special importance to the person who was determined to expose, trade down and penalise an assassin.

In the opening of the play, the Thebes’s voters humbly ask their king to raise the plague which was frightening them to destroy town. But the king had already sent Creon to Oracle in order to find out what is actually needed to be done.  

On his come back, mythical being announced that he has received the instruction from the oracle to search out Lauis’s felon, the king of Thebes before Oedipus.  The invention and penalization of the felon can finish the plague. At once, mythical being sets on the point of solving the murder.

As per the order of the king, Tiresias (the blind prophet) initially refuses to talk, however finally claim that he himself killed Lauis. Mythical being angrily rejected the prophet and order him to leave. mocks and rejects the prophet angrily, ordering him to go away, however not ahead mythical being suggests in darkness of  incestuous wedding and a way forward for  ill fame, and itinerant.

Oedipus tries in realising recommendation from Jocasta (the queen).  she tells the king to ignore the  him prophecies and explains him that once a prophet told her that her husband will die at their son’s hands. She also told the king that the prophet was wrong as the baby died whereas his husband was killed by a bunch of crossroads.

Oedipus gets disturbed by the remarks of the queen as while he was coming to the Thebes, he killed a person who was having a similar appearance as that of Laius. In order to find the reality, the king asks for the sole living viewer (a shepherd) for the murder.

There was another worry that was haunting the king. He once got to know from an oracle that he was doomed for killing his father so as to get married to his mother. This fear bring him ultimately to the Thebes. Here, the queen again advised him to not to care regarding prophecies. 

In some time, the king gets to know that his father (Polybus) died because of old age. So in light of this, the queen again advises the king to stop caring about the prophecies. But the king was still worrying about the prophecy of marriage to his mother (Merope).  

Listening in, the messenger told the king that he get to know that Polybus and Merope were not the real parents of the king. In reality, a messenger gave the king to a royal couple when he was offered a deserted baby from Laius’s house.

Now after hearing this, the king was very determined to meet the shepherd and also wasnts to know the truth behind his birth. But the queen requested him to stop all this and runs towards the palace with grief.

King was pretty confident that the worst news for him will be his birth in lower class family. He was very eagerly waiting for the shepherd. Initially, the shepherd was not uttering anything but when he was scared to be killed, he tells the whole truth to the king. He told that the king was actually Laius and Jocasta’s son.

The Plague in Thebes

Hence, despite of all the precautions followed by the king, he killed his own father and married his mother. All the sayings of the prophecies comes to be true.

Oedipus then rushed into the palace and finds that the queen has committed suicide. He got very tortured and takes out the pins from the gown of the queen and hit the pins into his eyes so that he can no longer be able to see the misery that has caused by him. He then requests the Creon to kill him. But as the conclusion of the play, the king humbly awaits for the oracle so that the oracle will determine whether the king will stay in the Thebes or not.

The Athens was a tiny place. Its full name was Athens Sophocles. It was one of the independent states of the Greek cape. It held its position in all the democracy lives and the philosophy. Plato and Aristotle we taught in the Athens. They were the ones who gave birth to the western philosophy.

In the fifth century, Athens was considered as the richest city of the Greek cape. The Athens army and navy altogether defeated the Aegean and the Persians and were awarded as the tribute money. Athens usually show some public arts, entertainments and celebrate the most notably festivals. 

By the middle of the fifth century, Athens was reached at the top of the chart but still most of the Athenians were unsafe as most of their land was dry and unfertile. They were having very less amount of food so they started fought with the neighbouring cities for the farmland and the food. Athens army and navy help the people in defeating all the cities. They arrange to solve their problems by conquering various cities and sought all the fertile land. But the rival city Sparta came to dominate the Athens in 431B.C. Athens gets defeated by the Sparta and lose all its power and royalty.

Just like various dramatists of the time of Sophocles, he also wrote a play as the theatrical representations of the myths of great Greek Culture. Greek culture is held in most of the national historic myths. Sophocles and his subordinates celebrate all the myths of the greek history into their plays of Trojan wars.

The traditional story of Oedipus the king — that conjointly seems concisely in Homer — shows the story of a person’s great attempt to change the fate. This tragedy is based on the very painful and sad story of Oedipus in finding his own real identity.

At the oracle, Oedipus’s parents were warned by the Prophet that their own son will kill his father and will get married to his mother, the parents gave the child to a shepherd and tell him to leave the child in the dark mountains to let him die. But the pity shepherd took the child to the Corinth and gave him to the childless king and queen. They adopted the child without knowing any of his identity and named him Oedipus. 

Tiresias, the Blind Prophet

Oedipus was grown up as the prince of the Corinth. But he was always told that Corinth King is not his real father, so he went to a prophet to know about the truth but the prophet tell the prince about the destiny regarding the murder of the father and get marrying with the mother. So as to avoid this destiny the king ran away from the Corinth and reached Thebes.

Before entering Thebes, the king stayed near Thebes for sometime. There an old man insults him so Oedipus in anger killed the old man. That old man was Oedipus’s father but he did not realize that.

After that, The Oedipus met with the monstrous Sphinx, who was terrifying the Thebes from a long time. The Oedipus answered the question asked by the monster correctly and killed him.

The people of the Thebes consider Oedipus as a hero and after getting the news of Laius being killed by the crossroads, they accept Oedipus as the king of the Thebes. As the king, Oedipus married Jocasta and they have four children. Despite of all the precautions the painful prophecy fulfilled.

Since everyone knows that the plays of the Sophocles do not have any surprising factor but he arranged to hold the interest of the people in his plays by providing a dramatic irony as well as by the ways of interpretation of the plays.

Dramatic irony refers to what Audience actually knows and think about the story but the story ends up in another end. Like in this play, the audience know that the play is regarding the Oedipus killing is father and marrying his mother. But in the end the play concluded with Oedipus finding the truth regarding his own identity.   

By watching this great play the audience get to know that the Oedipus was a great hero and take all the precautions so as to get away from the fate, but results in fulfilling the fate. It conveys that the destiny is permanent and can’t be changed at any cost. Further this play of the Oedipus rex stands as the best dramatic play regarding the Greek myths as it is the greatest tragedy that has ever been written.

Oedipus:- He was the  king of Thebes. In very young age, he saved the city Thebes by killing the monster who was terrifying the people of Thebes. He currently acts in the play as finding the man who killed the previous King of the Thebes.

Creon:- He is brother in law of the King Oedipus. He is the most trustworthy advisor for the king and he travelled to the oracle so as to find the murdered of the King Laius.

Tiresias:- He is a blind prophet who always helps and guides the king.

Jocasta:- She is the queen of Thebes. She is the wife of the King Oedipus and widower of the earlier king of Thebes. He has to marry to marry the king in order to save the town Thebes from the monster Sphinx. 

A traveller:- He is the person who came from the palace and gave the knews of queen being dead and King being becoming blind to the people of  the Thebes.

A Shepherd:- He is a herder who lived in the near mountains and was once served in King Laius’s house.

A Messenger from Corinth: He is the person who brings the Oedipus to the Corinth’s King and queen from the Thebes’s king.

Antigone and Ismenn:- They were the young daughters of the King Oedipus.

In the opening of the play, the people of the Thebes request the Oedipus to find the murderer of the King Laius. Oedipus shows the mercy to the people and sends his brother in law to the oracle to find what they. As earlier, the monster was killed by the Oedipus so they came very early to him so as to get rid of the problem as soon as possible.

Oedipus thinks that the plague of the Thebes can be finished if the killer of the former king will be found.

He took various small actions to find the murderer and results in finding his own real identity.

Conclusion

The initial scene of the tragedy presents the King Oedipus as the King of the Thebes. The audience sitting in the theatre already knows the myth that the King Oedipus will conclude in killing his own father and will marry his mother. But the characters that are present onstage do not have any plan to dramatize this scene. This scene represents the tragedy and also indicates the direction to the audience in which the play will run. But as we know, the plays written by the Sophocles always have a dramatic irony. In the same way this play end up in a completely different reality.

The King Oedipus, was born up and groomed in Corinth. He once was told by a prophet that he will kill his father and marry his mother. So as to change this destiny, Oedipus ran from the Corinth and reached Thebes. There he killed the King Laius of the Thebes unknowingly and became the hero of the people of the Thebes by killing the monster Sphinx. He then became the king of the Thebes and as per the request of the people of Thebes, he started finding the person who kills the former king of the Thebes and results in finding his own real identity.

References

  • Beer J, “Oedipus Tyrannus” Brill's Companion to Sophocles 93
  • Ahrensdorf PJ, “Introduction” Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy 1
  • Ahrensdorf PJ, “Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy”
  • “Approaching Greek Drama” [2008] A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama 230
  • “Aristotelian Texts Used” Tragic Pleasures
  • “Chronology Of Greek Drama” Greek Drama And Dramatists
  • “Dreams; Interpretation of dreams” Brill’s New Pauly
  • Furtwangler A and Strong E, “Masterpieces Of Greek Sculpture” Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture
  • “Introduction” [2009] How to Read World Literature 1
  • “Oedipus the King” Oedipus the King
  • “Tragedy and Greek Religion” Greek Tragedy 60
  • “V. Oedipus Tyrannus” [2011] The Past in Aeschylus and Sophocles
  • Brunner, M. "King Oedipus Retried" Rosenberger & Krausz, London, 2001
  • Foster, C. Thomas. "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" HarperCollins, New York, 2003
  • Oedipus Rex- Annotated text and analysis
  • Oedipus the King Book Notesfrom Literapedia
  • Oedipus the Kingfrom Project Gutenberg
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