Oedipus the King
The Greek tragedy Oedipus the King was written by Sophocles around 429-425 B.C.E. Though it is not the first telling of Oedipus’s story, it has become one of the most well-known plays in Western culture, influencing authors, philosophers, and psychologists over the centuries. The play is written in the Classical Greek style consisting of five acts, each of which is full of irony, prophecy and tragedy. Even though the audience already knew the outcome, they would return to see the play performed again and again just for the sheer entertainment of it.
Irony abounds throughout the play as Oedipus attempts to solve King Laios’s murder. The theme of irony is my favorite part of the play. Although the play is tragic, the irony allows the audience to laugh at Oedipus’s demise as he brings it upon himself saying, “I will reveal the truth…Justice and vengeance are what I want”. Again he seals his own fate saying, “Let him be nothing…Drive him out, let him die. He is our disease.” I enjoy the irony created when he talks of himself unknowingly as well, when he says, “If he eats at my side”, it is funny because he truly does eat at his side. Again unknowingly talking about himself he says, “I will fight for him as I would fight for my own murdered father.” It is his murdered father and the kicker is that he is the murderer.
Another theme throughout the play is prophecy and perhaps more importantly, self-fulfilling prophecy. It questions whether we are capable of controlling our own destiny or if fate has already decided our future for us. This is no more apparent than when King Laios creates his own destiny and sets the prophecy in motion when he sends Oedipus to the hills to die as a baby. If Oedipus’s parents had raised him themselves the prophecy more than likely would not have come true.
The ideas and lessons brought forth by this play are timeless. That is one of the many reasons the play is still enjoyed to this day. Most people...