Often times do we encounter ourselves in contradictions perhaps even ironic situations. We’ve all experienced it. Oedipus Rexes by Sophocles is truly based entirely of irony. Sophocles was conscious that the dramatic irony would be intertwined throughout the plot to enhance the simple fate of the tragic hero. The difference between the knowledge of the tragic circumstances and ignorant characters heightens the depth of the tragedy. The entire play is inundated with ironic connotations to which only the audience is privy as we will see from the beginning, middle, and end.
Sophocles decided to open the play with the ruling of Oedipus as King of Thebes. By this time, Oedipus has already committed his terribly deeds that were prior foretold by the oracle in Delphi. The audience/reader’s first impression of Oedipus is seen by the manner he meets the criteria of a great leader and responsible citizen. It is seen that he is capable Of suffering with his people and sentences to investigate on Laos’ murder and exile the assassin. Unenlightened by the truth, but fully revealed to the audience, was his decision bringing him closer to his true identity.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Many attempts were made to change his fate as the story line proceeds. The first one attempted was the beginning of his life as a newborn. His biological parents decide to discard of him. Ironically is the fact that the killing of this innocent child is just as fatally wrong as what the child will do in the future, yet he is not killed because the shepherd who held the responsibility felt pity and gave him away to the unfertile king of Corinth. This first failed attempt to change fate adds to the discrepancy of what the characters do not understand and what the audience already knows.
Years eater he overhears a man in Corinth of the elements of his prophecy and exiles himself from Corinth. The audience is aware that he’ll most likely end up Thebes and will fall right in the trap of his horrendous predestination. He arrives where three roads meet and unbeknownst kills his biological father. He arrives at Thebes, his homeland, which was being plagued by a sphinx for quite some time. Oedipus courageously redeems Thebes of it’s great distress by correctly answering the sphinx’s riddle which was: “What is it that walks on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening”- an.
The riddle is consistent of Oedipus life. As a baby he was weak merely on the edge of death therefore walking on four feet as he grows up to be a man he is at the ultimate of his heroic stage walking firmly on both feet. Sophocles leaves us with one more classic example of irony. The third and final stage of the Sphinx’s riddle is realized only after Oedipus discerns the horrible truth about his existence. The mood is then a mixture of perplexity and extreme tension with the final dramatic irony scene. The banishing statement he had made at the start has now been placed and now is a life- Eng burden upon his shoulders.
Referring to the last fragment Of the sphinx riddle Oedipus is condemned to wander the earth as a blind old man who will forever walk with the use of a cane. The final ironic event not only brought fear in the revelation scene but wholly throughout because we as the audience/reader felt the same as Oedipus did. We knew it was obvious, but a part of us was resistant to live the reality. The overall work of Sophocles play was a composure of irony, obvious but oblivious at the same time, blind yet clearly seen.