Analysis of The Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

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The story of Oedipus the King revolves around the lives of Greeks. Sophocles’s book follows Aristotle’s principles of time, location, as well as action. Besides, the story unfolds through characters’ dialogue.  At the start of the play, the city of Thebes undergoes a deadly plague. Queen Jocasta’s brother, Creon seeks a remedy for the disease from the oracle Apollo. When he returned, he revealed that Thebes would be back to health and prosperity only if the murderer of Laios who was the first king, were in turn killed. Laios was killed by robbers when he was on a journey. Because the gods threaten that Thebes will continue to suffer, lest the murderer is tried, Oedipus the king resolves to find him.

            I believe that the guilt of Oedipus is explicitly revealed to Tiresias since until he was accused of the murder, he did not want to show the truth. “He wanted to be left alone and everyone to bear his fate” (1392). There was a defect on the part of Sophocles since Oedipus recognized as well as admitted his guilt after a long time. Oedipus did not know where and who killed Laios. He only became aware when the shepherd admitted to being the murderer since he wanted to marry his mother. The plot of the play develops in a way that, after solving the Sphinx’s riddle, who had cursed Thebes, Oedipus marries Jocasta after becoming the king. Later, he discovers that he is responsible for the curse and he is Jocasta’s son. Oedipus becomes horrified by the sins of incenting as well as murder and as a result, removes his eyes out. Because she is disgraced, Jocasta commits suicide.

            As the play continues, my response becomes clearer. At the end of the story, my reaction was different to when I started reading it. The story laid obvious clues, therefore, spoiling the challenge of solving the plot’s mystery. At the end of the play, the actions taken by Oedipus as well as Jocasta disappointed me. Besides, the continued clues throughout the story make it lack mystery. For instance, in the first speech of the Thebes’s people, Oedipus reveals that the previous king’s murderer will suffer no unbearable punishment (261). This is one of the many clues about the play’s outcome.

            The story captures modern events which continue to plague individuals in the world today. Oedipus deals with the consequences he sets in motion, throughout the play. As a result, a theme is allowed to form. At one point in the line, people have to deal with their consequences, and the truth comes out always, because of this. From the beginning, Oedipus is determined to find the Laios’s murderer, forming an irony in the process. The path that Oedipus follows leads to his downfall. Because Oedipus wants to gain information, he sends for Tiresias. When Oedipus provokes him by accusing him of being the murderer, Tiresias tells the truth that indeed Oedipus the king is the murderer. It is arguable that Oedipus learned the truth because of his actions and not because of Tiresias. I believe in fate. Everything happens because of a particular reason. Luck played a role in the death of Oedipus’s father as well as Oedipus marrying his mother. Also, it is not fair for Oedipus to suffer consequences when he is a man because of mistakes is done by his great-grandfather, Cadmus (Sophocles, 2009).


Sophocles, E. A. (2009). Oedipus the king (p. 313). Findaway World LLC.

December 12, 2023




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