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Show how irony becomes the very structure of Oedipus the King

Uploaded by lgdaughter on Sep 09, 2004

Life is filled with series of irony.Therefore,it goes without saying that irony becomes the very structure of good Greek tragedies,which always reflect the reality of human life.Among those is Oedipus the King,written by Sophocles.Dramatic irony,the contrast between what a character knows and what the reader or audience knows,stnads out and permeates this great work of dramma.
First,the irony comes when the audience knows that the tragic outcome can not be avoided.The two different attempts to change the fate:Jocasta and Laius killing of infant Oedipus and Oedipus flight from Korinth later on,nevertheless,are absolutely futile.King Laius abandoned Oedipus to his death,but Oedipus lived and murdered him without knowing who he was.Oedipus left Korinth in the fear of what had been predicted for him that he would kill his own father and sleep with his mother.However,by doing this,he carried out the oracle words.And paradoxically,Jocasta soon found her son restored to life,herself married to him.No matter how hard they tried to avert the future,it still affected them.
Ironically,Oedipus is the person who ignorantly killed King Laius and brought the plague to Thebes.He said that whoever was involved in Laius death would be banished from the kingdom.But the audience knows that the culprit is Oedipus himself and that his blood polluted this land.By unraveling the Sphinx riddle,he saved Thebes and thus was chosen to rule Thebes.People in the city considered him their savior.However it was because of him that their land was destroyed.Although Oedipus is a clever man,a hero,his bravery and intelligence can not win the fate,neither escape it.

The frequent use of "eyes","sight","see",and "light" helps show another dramatic irony:Oedipus is blind to the truth."To which thy own is mated,canst not see"_Teirasias;"No jot of all I see.Listen!I see"_Oedipus;"That lights thee now,speak not to these or me"_Teirasisas and "blind eyes,blind ears.."Teirasias is a blind man but he can foretell Oedipus destiny.Oedipus is opposite.Although he was the only person who could see the answer to the riddle,he did not know anything about himself.Oedipus will soon switch the role with Teirasias,becoming a man who can see the truth but lose his sense of sight.Oedipus,a tragic hero,a great man,is just a puppet in the celestial workings of fate.
The ironic structure of "Oedipus the King" may be one of the factors that make this play immortal.Although it was written a long time ago,the topic is never old and in fact,it is controversial.Many questions come up:is it true that fate is more powerful than...

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Uploaded by:   lgdaughter

Date:   09/09/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   2 pages (451 words)

Views:   1386

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