Irony in Oedipus Rex assignment

Irony in Oedipus Rex assignment Words: 523

The king’s world is one full of ironies, most of which are cruel. His life begins in exile, because his father fears a prophecy, one in which his son would kill him and marry his wife. It is this decision by the father, King Luaus, which allows for the events of the story to unfold, and the prophecy to be fulfilled. Ironically, if Luaus had kept the boy and raised him honestly, as his own, he never would have had anything to fear. Oedipus has no desire of fulfilling this prophecy, which the Oracle would later explain to him.

The confusion and dishonesty rounding his birth and childhood set up Oedipus and his parents like pawns, permitting fate to take over and do as it pleases. Irony is most frequently presented in the dialogues between Oedipus and various other characters. The first instance of this is when he orders the execution of the man who murdered Alias. Oedipus hopes to divert the plague on Thebes by identifying the killer of Luaus, as the oracle instructed. He assumes that, although he has killed someone in the past, there is no way he could have been responsible, seeing as how he came to Thebes long after the king’s death.

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Later on, Oedipus accuses Croon of plotting treason against him. In actuality, Croon has no desire to be king; he enjoys all the wealth and comfort without having to take on any of the responsibility. Oedipus, clouded with confusion and paranoia, starts to put the pieces together and glimpses at the horrible truth. He is stubborn in his firm belief that the people who raised him were in fact his blood. Even after Oedipus realizes that his wife, Jotas, is in fact his mother, he is in just as much disbelief as he is in horror. How could this have happened?

Throughout his life, Oedipus has gone to great lengths to prove the oracle wrong. Ironically, so did his parents, and this ultimately is the reason why the events took place. Unknowingly, the decisions that Oedipus makes through his own free will play right into the hands of fate. It is ironic that everything that befalls Oedipus is the result of his own doing, yet most everything he does is an attempt to disprove the prophecy. Overall, Sophocles presents us with a tragic view of fate and free will. It is as though humans have free will, yet are subject to the whim of a greater fate which sakes precedence.

According to Sophocles, a man cannot escape his fate, no matter how hard he tries. Oedipus, In a futile attempt to deny fate, ultimately brings about his greatest suffering. In the case of King Oedipus, ignorance was certainly bliss. Oedipus curiosity to find his true identity reminds one of another character in classic Greek myth, Pandora. No matter how hard he tried, Oedipus was completely at the will of fortune. To Sophocles, the issue of fate against our own free will is a tragic one; one in which fate always prevails.