Monday, February 25, 2019
Oedipus the King: A Theme Analysis
Oedipus the King is genius of the group of trinity dos by Sophocles kn take as the Theban plays since they all relate to the destinies of the Theban family of the Oedipus and his children. The other two plays of this group are Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus the King relates the invention of Oedipus who reached Thebes, having killed on the mood an old populace with whom he picked a quarrel. The city of Thebes was then suffering terribly because of the monster, the Sphinx. He solved her imbue and citizens of Thebes offered him the acres as city is afflicted with the loss of their superpower, who had been murdered while on a pilgrimage.So he assumed the power and married the widowed queen. here(predicate) the t religious cultdy of Oedipus takes its final hang. As city was afflicted with famine, so oracular oracles were consulted who disclosed that troubles of the city arose from the f number that it is harboring an unclean person, the murderer of late king Laius. Oedipus resolved to get to the bottom of this mystery and punish the wrongdoer. However, he finally discovered that the culprit he was seeking was none other than he himself. He silver screened himself and went on exile. There are various standpoints for flavor at the theme of the play.It may be subscribe toed as a play enacting the theme of insecurity and illusoriness of military musical composition happiness. Or the theme may be that of the inadequacy of humanity intelligence in resolving the riddles of destiny. The identification of themes in Oedipus differs from reader to reader and from critic to critic. I call back that Sophocles wanted to lease that a man is plunged from prosperity and power to ruin ands ignominy payable to his stimulate human helplessnesss. It was something1 in his shell that brought his tragedy. Anything foreign to his feature quotation still augmented the sad proceedings but it was only his own disposition that made him a prey to disgrace. Dodds is of the determine, If Oedipus is the innocent victim of a doom which he washstand non avoid, does this non reduce him to a mere stain puppet? Whereas Knox (1984) is of the view that Oedipus tragedy takes place due to tragic flaws and flock as no damp to play in Oedious Rex.Distinguished Professor bumbler has identified four possible ranges of human failings in Oedipus. The foremost of these con nonations is an mistake due to unavoidable ignorance of circumstances whereas an error caused by unawareness of conditions that force aim been identified and for that reason to some extent morally guilty The third range is A disruption or error where the act is aware and learned, but non deliberate. Such acts are committed in anger or passion. (313) Where as fourth one is A open frame of character distinct, on the one baseball mitt, from an isolated error, and, on the other, from the vice which has its roll in the hay in the depraved willa flaw of character that is non tainted with a vicious purpose. (315)The crucial point is that whether Sophocles wants us to think that Oedipus has basically unsound character. One carriage of deciding this question is to consider what other characters in the play say about Oedipus. The only dissolver that we privy arrive at in this way is that Sophocles int removes us to consider Oedipus an inseparablely distinguished person. In the opening scene of the play, the priest of genus Zeus refers to him as the greatest and noblest of men and the divinely inspired savior who salvage Thebes from being destroyed by the Sphinx. The Chorus in any case considers him to be noble and virtuous. They refuse to believe in Tireseas accusations of him. When cataclysm befalls Oedipus, non a angiotensin converting enzyme character in the play justifies it as a doom which has deservedly overtaken Oedipus. (Dodds, p.39) So there were certain other tragic flaws that were acting laughingstock the curtain to bring about Oedipus tragedy. Let us examine those.Oedipus seems to be obsessed with his own intelligence and this leads him to very unfortunate and uncomfortable situations. This human weakness2 of Oedipus laps over with his dress as he is extremely proud of the event that he was able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx which had proved overly oft for any other person. He thinks that Gods has capacitated him with intelligence and wisdom to solve riddle that the Thebes is afflicted with. Oedipus even taunts Tireseas on his softness in solving the Sphinxs riddle. He saysAnd where were you, when the Dog-faced Witch was here?Have you any word of economy then for our people?There was a riddle too duncish for common witsA vaticinator should get down wait oned it, but answer there came noneFrom you.. (12-16)After calling the soothsayer false prophet, Oedipus boasts of his own skill in having solved the puzzled which proved too much for the screen seerUntil I cameI, ignorant Oedipus, cameAnd stopped the riddlers mouth, guessing he equityBy mother-wit, non bird-lore. (17-19)So he describes Tireseas predictive cautions as the whims of a fanatic and opposes the seers prediction with arguments of his own. Self-confidence and pride in his own wisdom is an outstanding feature of his character that also brings his tragedy. Here Oedipus also fulfills the traits of Aristotelian tragic hero as he possesses a noble tragic flaw. The man who sets out on his new task by sending counterbalance for the venerable seer is non lacking in pious prize but we also observe that Oedipus manifests unrestrained arrogance in his own intellectual achievement. No seer found the solution, this is Oedipus boast no bird, no god revealed it to him, he the utterly ignorant had to come on his own and hit the mark by his own wit. This is a justified pride but it amounts too much. This pride and self-confidence induce Oedipus to despise prophecy and feel almost superior to the gods. He tell the peop le who beg for deliverance from pathos and miseries they are afflicted with if they listen to and follow his advice in order to get a remedy.Lastly his unrelenting pursuit of the truth is show when he believes he is the murderer and that Polybus was not his father, yet he continues with his depend with the statement, I must pursue this trail to the end,(p.55). These characteristics were only fuel to the apprize and added to the pride created a blaze that consumed him. Bernard Knox eulogizes Oedipus dedication to truth, whatever the cost (p.117)Another characteristics of his character that contributes toward his tragedy is Oedipus longing for thoroughness. His inquisitive nature is not content with anything which is both half-hearted or incomplete. Nor can he brook any delay. He damns that the advocate of the oracle should be given effect at once. As before, Oedipus speaks on the basis of the workings of his own mental faculties that has been tested time and once again and have proved their intelligence.It can be said that the tragedy of Oedipus is the get out more of his good qualities than his freehanded ones. It is his love for Thebes which makes him send Creon to Delphi to consult the Oracles. It is the aforesaid(prenominal) care for his subjects who make him proclaim a ban and a anathemise on the murderer of Laius. It is his absolute honesty which makes him include even himself inside the curse and the punishment. He replies by saying Sick as you are, not one is sick as I, each of you suffers in himselfbut my disposition Groans for the city, for myself, for you.(62-62)He is angry with Tireseas because he is ineffective to tolerate the fact that although the prophet says that he know who the murderer of Laius is , he refuses top give the information to the king. His rage and rashness is due to the fact that the masses are suffering and Tireseas does not provide the murderers name. Oedipus cannot but regard this as a do manifestation of the see rs disloyalty to his city.To Oedipus the discovery of truth is more important than his own good and safety. Even when it seems that the investigation that he is carrying on will not produce any result which will be him, he decides to carry on with it. He is so honest with himself that he inflicts the punishment of self-blinding and banishment from the city of Thebes.So his moral goodness also seems as a human failing that brings his ruin.There is another important human failing that contribute toward his tragedy i.e. his intellectual improvidence. He has a limited wad and is unable to assess the situations in a right perspective. Robert L. Kane (1975) puts this preposition in this way HeOedipus was the victim of an optical illusion. (p. 196) The juxtaposition between outward luster and inward blindness of Oedipus and the outward blindness and inward weed of the prophet (Kirkwood, p. 130) depicts two types of blindness i.e. forcible and intellectual. One is related to physical s ight whereas the other, the most pernicious type of blindness, pertains to insight. Tiresias is physically blind but whereas Oedipus is blind intellectually. This intellectual blindness of Oedipus also contributes greatly to lead him to his tragic destination.Oedipus possesses spick physical vision throughout play except in the end but he remains blind to the genuineity regarding himself. At one point in the play, he has the ability to see but he is not willing to do so. He intellectual vision comes with his physical loss of sight but he is unable to cast away(predicate) the psycho limpid slings and arrows and mental sufferings that intellectual blindness has afflicted on him. So his blindness, both intellectual at the start of the play and physical at the end of the day, is the worst. screenlandness interweaves with the main plot from the very start of the play when Oedipus says, I would be blind to misery not to pity my people rest at my feet. (14) It manifest that he refers t o blindness that if h will not recognize the distress of his people. This shows his physical sight but intellectual blindness as he himself was the cause of those afflictions. Later he acknowledges that although Tiresias is physically blind but has oracular power when he says, Blind as you are, you can feel all the more what sickness haunts our city. (344). Tiresias response refers to the gravity of Oedipus inability to see his future. He says, How terrible to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees (359)Later on Oedipus denounces his own acknowledgement of Tiresias as a seer and abuses him by saying, Youve lost your power, stone-blind, stone-deaf senses, eyes blind as stone(423) and Blind, lost in the night, endless night that nursed you You cant wounded me or anyone else who sees the light you can never touch me. (425). It is illustrated that it is Oedipus who is blind intellectually as he is not willing to comprehend the situation and to rede the truth. In retort to his slur, Tiresias refers to worst form of blindness that Oedipus is suffering. He says, You with your treasured eyes, youre blind to the corruption of your life, to the house you live in, those who live with who are your parents? (470) and foretell, Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich, he will grope his way toward a foreign soil, a stick tapping before him step by step. (517).These supportive texts distinctly manifest that Oedipus was afflicted with severe intellectual myopia as he was unable t see the truth that was distributive all around him. Actually he was unwilling to see truth around him, prior to his physical blindness and afters as he blinds himself not to observe the things around him. His is the most insidious form of blindness.Oedipus can be held guilty due to another human flawhis inability to take appropriate preventive measures. It is said that he fails to take logical steps and precaution s which would have saved him from committing the cri mes.Could not Oedipushave escaped his doom if he had been more careful? Knowing that he was in danger of committing parricide and incest, would not really a prudent man have avoided quarrelling, even in self-defense and also love-relations with women older than himself? real life I suppose he might. But we not empower to blame Oedipus either for carelessness failing to compile a hand list or lack of self-control in failing to observe its injunctions. (Dodds, p.40)Oedipus has necessary human failings of anger and rashness. He rashly jumps into conclusions. Choragos points this out in scene II after a long speech by Creon who tries o remove the ill-fed and hastily formed suspicions of Oedipus about Creon. They say, Judgments too speedyly formed are dangerous (II, 101)But Oedipus justifies this, arguing that ruler have to take quick decision. He says later on, But is he not quick in his duplicity? / And shall I not be quick to parry him? (II, 102-103) Later at the conclusion of scen e II, Creon indicates the same fault in his character by saying, Ugly in yielding, as you were ugly in rage / Nature like yours chiefly torments themselves. (II, 151-152) It is this rashness that makes to not merely suspect Creon but accuse him and even declares that he deserves the denounce of death. The rashness can be observed in his treatment of Tireseas. Oedipus does not lack analytical thinking but his rashness does permit him to view up the situation rightly and he makes hasty decision. In survey we see that rashness of Oedipus has something to do with the murder Laius at the hands of Oedipus. The self-blinding also is an act of rashness although Oedipus tries to give several arguments in favor of it.His bad temperament is demonstrated in the squabble between Teiresias and himself, where Teiresias utter the prophetic truth and Oedipus retorts, Do you think you can say such things with impunity? and afterward attributes him as a Shameless and brainless, sightless, senseles s sot(p.36). His character is bring forward marked with suspicion about Creon to whom he considers as a conspirator. Kirkwood is of the view that The Creon he Oedipus is battling is a figment of his predilection (Kirkwood, 1958. p. 132) and nothing else. He says with seed his tte--tte with Tiresaeas, Creon Was this trick his, then, if not yours? So here his imagination works together with anger and rashness.All the above-mentioned manifestations of tragic flaw, their supported arguments and views of the critics clearly proves the thesis that Oedipus unavoidable ignorance was the major factor of his tragedy because he was unable to locate that the man whom he assaulted on the crossroads to Thebes was his father. Secondly, if he would not have been occupied by his aspirations, he would have possibly explored the repugnance of his deed and could have avoided the additional tricky situations by not marrying his mother. Thirdly, his conscious and intentional act includes his decision to bring what is dark to light (133).Furthermore, as result to revelation of Tireseas, he charges Creon with conspiracy and murder and denounces Tireases as an accessory. Although these performances were intentional and bring Oedipus to tragic end but have a clear background that illustrate that these actions were not deliberate. Fourthly, all these errors originate from a hasty and obstinate temperament, unjustified anger and excessive pride that restrict him to an energized inquisitiveness. With the development of the plot, all these ascriptions of his character jumps back with amplified force on his honcho that finally culminates at his tragedy. Knox (1957) sums up in this waythe actions of Oedipus that produce the catastrophe stem from all sides of his character no one particular action is more essential than any other they are all essential and they involve not any one trait of character which might be designated a hamartia but the character of Oedipus as a whole (31).Here I want to point out that all these human failings were not innate or inborn but he positive these as his habitual formations. It was inculcated in his spirit so that it became a part of his natural disposition. If it were innate then he could not be blame for his downfall. It was human failings rather than the destiny that brought his tragedy. So Sophocles has successfully put across that a man is plunged from prosperity and power to ruin ands ignominy due to his own human failings.ReferencesBloom, Harold. Sophocles Oedipus Rex. New York Chelsea House Publishers. 1988. Butcher, S.H. Aritotles theory of verse line and Fine Arts. Hell and Wang New York. 1961.Dodds, E. R. On Misunderstanding the Oedipus. Greece & Rome. Vo. 13. No. 1. (Apr.1966). Pp. 37-49.Cook, Albert Spaulding. Oedipus Rex, a mirror for Greek drama. Prospect Heights, Ill. Waveland Press.1982. Gould, Thomas. Greek tragedy. Cambridge New York Cambridge University Press. 1977. Gould, Thomas. Oedipus the King A T ranslation with Commentary. Englewood Cliffs. 1970. Kane, Robert L. Prophecy and Perception in the Oedipus Rex. Transaction of theAmerican Philological Association. Vol. one hundred five (1975). pp. 189-208.Kirkwood, G.M. A study of Sophoclean drama. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University Press. 1958. Knox, Bernard. Oedipus at Thebes. New Haven Yale University Press, 1957. Knox, Bernard. Introduction to The cardinal Theban Plays. New York & London PenguinBooks,1984.O Brien, John M. Twentieth century interpretations of Oedipus Rex a collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall. 19681 Moral flaw, habitual formations, behavioral defect and so forth 2 in any other context, pride in ones intelligence cannot not a human weakness but course of the play depicts clearly that in Oedipus the King it was a human weakness.