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The Story Of “Oedipus Rex” By Sophocles

The story of “Oedipus Rex” by Sophecles is constructed so that the audience is invulnerable to the horror that Oedipus must face. Oedipus Rex is a true tragedy and the character betrayed, as Oedipus is a tragic hero. The tragic hero, Oedipus serves to excite pity and fear in the audience. Oedipus Rex is introduced to the audience by the priest, as “Great Oedipus, O’ Powerful King of Thebes. ” (Prologue 15) Yet, he is pitied as a tragic hero. Oedipus is doomed by birth because of the actions of his ancestors. When Oedipus was born it was prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother.

Line 85) His father naturally feared this and told a Shepard to take the boy out and kill him. The Shepard could not bear the thought of killing an innocent little boy. The Shepard in turn gave the boy to his friends who were unable to have children. When Oedipus was older he learned of the prophecy and left home because he loved his adopted father who he believed to be his real father. A while after departing his home Oedipus came across a carriage, which he believed to be bandits. The carriage in fact was carrying his true father, King Laios of Thebes and his bodyguards.

When they almost ran him over Oedipus attacked them killing the bodyguards and his father, and by doing so unwittingly killed his father as prophesized. As Oedipus moves further down the road the Sphinx, who tells him that if he doesn’t answer her question correctly, she will kill him, approaches him. (Prologue 1222) He succeeds in answering the question and out rage she kills herself. Once the people of the Thebes found out that Oedipus was the one that caused the death of the Sphinx, Oedipus was crowned King of Thebes because of the strength and courage that he displayed.

In being crowned the King he was given the Queen, Queen Iocaste, who unknown to both of them that she is his natural mother. There were happy for many years and had even birthed children together. The people of his thrown loved him because he was such a great leader. As a result of this, Oedipus finds out that the city is in trouble and unless the killer of their late King Laios is found and brought to justice. Unforeseen to Oedipus he is the killer of their late King and the fact that the King is his natural father.

Oedipus will thrive for answers even though he has been warned not to dig deep, for he will regret it. (Line 115) Without accepting the warning he forced Creon to tell him what he knew about the late King’s death. When Oedipus learns of the heinous crime he had committed he nearly dies, Iocaste’s reaction to the tragic news was deadly she hung herself from the ceiling. When Oedipus finds Iocaste’s at the lowest level of her life and he cuts her from the ceiling and physically blinded himself so that he could never see what he has done again and banishes himself from civilization.

The true villains of this story are the parents of Oedipus. If King Laios and Queen Iocaste’s would have realized that they could not change or escape what had been prophesied maybe later down the line the prophecy could have been changed. Everyone’s life is programmed from birth only the gods will know how long one will live, what troubles one will go through, and how much each person can actually sustain in life’s cycle. If we put our trust in god and not in the mortal spirits of others our destiny can be changed.

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