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Drama Oedipus the King by Sophocles Essay

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020


The literary work is a reflection of what is happening in society. Authors normally voice their opinions about issues affecting the society through various themes. These themes are closely linked together through analysis of a character’s actions. In the contemporary society, the introduction of literature research has extensively increased the volume of literature in every topic of interest, especially in use of expression tools such as metaphors, to present a symbolic view that a character display in a play.

Irrespective of the level of knowledge and understanding of research facets, literature versions are inclusive of tools such as metaphors, similes, and figures. Literature comparison is about enjoying the phrases, feeling the narrator’s words in action, imagining, and placing oneself in the writer’s shoes. This analytical treatise attempts to explicitly explore the intersections between fate and free will in the play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles. Indeed, the play is significant, although it expresses concealed implication to readers.

Intersections between fate and free will

The key aspects of Sophocles’ play capture the learners’ interest in the purpose of comedy and twist of fate. The life of Oedipus is characterized by fate. His parents, Laius and Jocasta, tried to honor the pronouncement by the oracles on the fate of their young child. Oedipus was then taken away.

In a twist of fate, Oedipus becomes a powerful prince in a distant city and later ends the life of his father. Further, Oedipus married Jocasta, who was his mother. In another incident, Oedipus was quick to run as far as possible away from a couple he thought were his real parents but ends up taking the life of his biological father (Sophocles 23).

Also, as Oedipus was on his long journey, with the primary intention of changing his fate, he meets a horrendous monster called the Sphinx. Oedipus was successful in disentangling the dilemma of the Sphinx and was rewarded the gift of being the ruler of a distant kingdom called Thebes. As a portion of the victory package, Oedipus was given the green light to marry his mother, who was the queen of Thebes. In a twist of fate, the queen of Thebes was his biological mother.

Oedipus ends up honoring everything he struggled to avoid as fate had planned. All these events occur without any of the parties, realizing the influence of fate in their positions. It is only at the end of this story that Oedipus and the mother realized that the predictions of the oracle were accurate.

The story ends with a tragedy involving the death of Oedipus’ mother. Oedipus suffered the same fate since he could not live with the death of his wife, who doubled up as his mother. From this reflection, it is apparent that the tragedy confirmed the influence of fate in the life of the characters. Thus, trying to escape the fate was punishable by the gods through death (Sophocles 15).

Sophocles depicted various stages of the play’s episode through the associating dependence of mankind to the gods. For instance, the main character Oedipus, is arrogant is retorting to the Chorus that, “You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers” (Sophocles, 13).

The considerable key notion of play is fate and prophecy that demonstrates how human has decayed due to fate and needs to acknowledge god’s reverence. Furthermore, Sophocles presents his mental picture of the path towards Supreme Divinity in his play. This is viewed as the likelihood for the human heart to fate rather than to descend choice at a personal level in the conservative society (Sophocles 16).

Sophocles employed irony that is conspicuous in the representation of the main character, Oedipus. Oedipus states that “no skill in the world, nothing human can penetrate the future” (Sophocles 13) when explaining to his wife about the fate which he attempts to twist in vain.

The illustration of the character of Oedipus shows how the author succeeded in tossing the implication of words, and thus, readers must catch such implications (Sophocles 18). The play is analogous of its relation regarding vast imagery, visual outcome, and a typical rhythmic construction that presented special consequence of fate.

The main theme presented by this play is personal identity as a component of realism. A literary writing attempt to portray a certain piece on thoughts of characters not explicitly expressed. Recognizing themes of loyalty, honor, and tragedy, Sophocles sarcastically ridicules fate and religious beliefs as a determinant of the position of an individual in the society. The main character Oedipus in the play, Oedipus the King, is full of pride which he loses at the end and has to bow down to fate.

Destiny is depicted as having forced the rather tensed society to embrace sudden change to escape the plague. The audience is moved by Oedipus, imaginative exploration of memory manipulation, and how fate can wreak havoc on humanity. Also, Sophocles tried to blend the high-concept vision of the world with his own stylized and highly dramatized language in reflecting on the life of Oedipus.

He created a very human story that combines stories of both self-discovery and fate. Sophocles succeeded in convincingly mingling the ‘futuristic’ and the ‘realistic’ imaginations to create a world of exotic exploitation and mind control characterized by time variances and societal imbalances, as contributed by fate (Sophocles 19).

The theme of tragedy is illustrated in the play, Oedipus the King. Indeed, the author considers time as a marvelous nasty task. Oedipus intends to turn over features of time to command over time.

However, he fails miserably due to the underlying supernatural forces that had sealed his destiny at birth. However, with intelligence and braveness, Sophocles reflects on the tragedy in an open, attractive, and agitating language. Thus, his dedication possibly overlaid the approach for understanding fate in the sundry time. The key antagonists and protagonists accept fate eventually in the play.

Interestingly, acceptance of fate is presented as a redeemer of what each character stands for. Oedipus, in the play, Oedipus the King, is a hero. In the climax of the play, revelations point Oedipus as responsible for the death of his father as was prearranged by fate at his birth through the prophecy. Particularly, the death of Oedipus father forms the focal storyline (Sophocles 11).

In summary, every event that occurs in this play confirms the predictions of the oracles. None of the characters were in a position to modify his or her fate. Those who tried to change fate were met with tragedy in the form of death. The death of Laius, Oedipus, and Jocasta symbolized punishment by the gods for defying fate.

Works Cited

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Ed. Grene David. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2012. Print.

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