The Real Tragedy of Oedipus the King Is That of All Humanity

the genuine tragedy of oedipus is that of all humankind: we can not leave our fate. The best tragedy of Oedipus is that as human we can not leave our fate. This is shown in the play, ‘Oedipus the king’ by Sophocles.

The main character, Oedipus is caught in the issue of fate and destiny. Oedipus, as the king is in a position of power. In this position he becomes quite superior and pleased with himself, this becomes a tragic defect. Paradoxically, several years before the play is set, Oedipus attempts to escape his fate.

It is ironic because in doing this he ends up running straight towards it. The play is made to make us understand that as humans we are powerless against death, and it is true that we are born to pass away. Firstly, in the play it is ironic that Oedipus tries to flee from his destiny but ends up running directly towards it. When he is more youthful he speaks with a oracle that he is destined ‘kill is father and wed his mother’. Believing that the oracle is referring to Polybus and Merope he gets away towards Thebes to try to escape his ‘fate’.

It is paradoxical that while fleeing what he thinks is his fate, he runs straight toward it. On page 205 Oedipus prices quote the oracle saying, ‘you are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see- you will kill your dad, the one who provided you life!’ Oedipus then says, ‘I heard all that and ran. I deserted Corinth, from that day I gauged its landfall only by the stars, running, constantly running towards some place where I would never ever see the embarassment of all those oracle become a reality. This quote completely catches the concept of Oedipus not escaping from his fate but straight towards it. The audience experiences remarkable irony in this scene as they understand something that the characters do not. In the play, this is a point of mimesis for the characters, however also the audience, when they realise that Oedipus made a terrific fault, in running from Corinth. The repeated concept of Oedipus ‘running’ from where he thinks is a cursed location for him, to the location where the catastrophe will unravel with scarceness, is expressive and makes our pathos towards Oedipus greater.

The ironic concept of Oedipus running ‘towards’ his fate rather than away, shows the point that as human beings our biggest catastrophe is the fact that we can not leave our destiny. Second of all, as people we are very proud and do not like to be removed from the pedestal we put ourselves on. This is true also for Oedipus, where his hubris or his pride, prohibits him from believing that he is the one responsible for the plague. In this method his hubris becomes his hamartia and he can not think it is his fault up until the moment of cognizance a number of pages later on.

An example of Oedipus showing his hubris is when Tiresias exposes that he is the murder and Oedipus responds with a danger, ‘that profanity, two times, by god, you’ll pay’. Oedipus’ pride obstructs of him acknowledging that he is not just the protagonist however also the antagonist. He is not able to acknowledge the fact in Tiresias’ words. This is as soon as again dramatic irony to the audience in which they know Oedipus’ guiltiness, however he is not. Another example of his pride obstructing, is when instead of accepting the blame he decides that Creon has actually planned his failure, in a way to toss him off his throne.

Oedipus says, ‘Creon! Is this his conspiracy or yours? ‘, to which Tiresias replies, ‘Creon is not your failure, no, you are your own.’ Even after both of these occurrences, Oedipus’ hubris stops him from understanding the truths. This is another reason for the fact that as human beings we are not able to leave our fate, due to the fact that of the pride and supremacy that we hold for ourselves In conclusion, it holds true that as people we are not able to escape our fate.

This is shown in Sophocles well-known play, ‘Oedipus the King’. First of all due to the fact that even though Oedipus attempts to outrun his fate, he ends up running directly towards it. This is shown from the method he leaves Corinth from his supposed ‘moms and dads’ to Thebes where his biological parents are. It is also shown in human beings pride and conceit that we hold ourselves to. This is shown in Oedipus through his ignorance to the truths. From this we are able to see that we can not leave destiny as humans.

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