Oedipus the King Notes

Oedipus the King Notes

 

OEDIPUS THE KING

 

  1. Write a brief essay on the dramatic irony in Sophocles’ Oedipus

Or

Elaborate upon the paradox of knowledge/ignorance in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

Or,

 

Elaborate upon the paradox of sight/blindness in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

 

Ans:  The ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus the King by Sophocles presents the paradox between sight and blindness. The theme of “blindness” is so deeply rooted in the play that it enables the readers or audience to think and reflect. Some critics opine that the tragedy of Oedipus is an unfortunate result of Oedipus’ oscillation between “knowledge” and “ignorance” on one hand, and “sight” and “blindness” on the other.

>>> ILIAD QUESTION ANSWER

 

Sophocles cleverly weaves the plot of the play with the help of the concept of “sight and blindness”. Throughout the whole play, Sophocles repeatedly hits the idea of sight and uses it as a metaphor for insight and knowledge. It also amuses the readers to see the protagonist of the play struggling hard to ‘see the truth through his eyes, while on the other hand, Tiresias ‘sees’ the truth that has already occurred in the life of Oedipus being a physically blind person. Again, when Tiresias discloses the fact that he is the murderer.

Oedipus the King Notes

>>>> ILIAD QUESTION ANSWER

 

 

Another incident of the paradox of sight and blindness comes with the intervention of fate in Oedipus’ life. When he comes to know that he will kill his father and marry his mother at a certain point of time, he runs away from his home (i.e. Corinth) to avert the impending disaster. But his situation becomes like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

The ironical plot of the drama impels him to fall into the snare created by his own fate. He tries to elude the grasp of fate but the more tries to do that the more he comes closer to his doom. When he leaves Corinth for an unknown destination, he kills a man, rather a king, who ironically turns out his biological father (Laius). But the fact is, he does not repent for committing a heinous crime like regicide. Some say that the sense of ignorance in Oedipus is so deep-rooted that he overlooks the grave atmosphere of the incident. Thomas Gray rightly puts out that:

 

“Where ignorance is bliss, It is folly to be wise.”

 

Now, the question is what happens to Oedipus at the end? When the ray of knowledge makes him aware of his identity, he cannot bear it and this sense of knowledge leads him to disaster. Some say that Oedipus’ anagnorisis occurs simultaneously with his mother’s/wife’s suicide. With a heart full of despair and a pair of newly opened eyes, Oedipus makes his transformation complete as he exchanges his limited physical eyesight for the spiritual sight possessed by Tiresias; because he thinks that he does not need eyes anymore, as he says:

 

“What good were eyes to me? Nothing I could see could bring me joy.”

Oedipus the King Notes

 

In conclusion, we may safely say that the utter ‘blindness’ in Oedipus is one of the pertinent reasons behind his tragic fate. Though at the very beginning he comes to know that he is “fated to couple with his mother,” and he “will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see,” and most importantly, he “will kill your (his) father, the one who gave you. Chim) life,” but he cannot discover the truth (because of his sheer ignorance) that impels him to make himself blind ultimately. And with this tragic note, the play ends confirming the physical blindness of Oedipus.

>>> PYRAMUS AND THISBE QUESTION ANSWER

 

 

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2 . Discuss Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a tragedy.

Or,

 Oedipus Rex as a tragic play.

Or

A Sense of Tragedy in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

Or,

Discuss the conventions of Greek Tragedy as can be gathered from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

or,

“Oedipus is driven to the summit of passion by the agony of body and soul, and at the long last he returns to humility and selfless resignation”- Assess the character of Oedipus in the light of this comment.

Or,

Fate is an overreaching presence in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. Discuss.

Or,

Discuss Oedipus as an ideal tragic hero of the Aristotelian type.

Or

Critically analyze the character of Oedipus to bring out the elements of hubris and hamartia in his character.

Or,

“The tragedy of Oedipus lies in his knowledge of the guilt rather than the guilt itself”. Do you agree? Justify your view.

 

Ans. Nobody will disagree with the fact that Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is a tragedy. Whether it is a ‘tragedy of fate’ or a ‘tragedy of character’ is a debatable issue. Whether it is the omnipotent and omniscient God who is playing his role as a ringmaster or it is the “karma” of Oedipus himself, that is, again, very controversial indeed.

 

First of all, this is not a play about free will versus determinism. Oedipus is both free and determined as he says at the beginning of the play:

 

“…Here I am myself, you all know me, the world knows my fame: I am Oedipus.”

Oedipus the King Notes

>>>> PENTHEUS AND BACCHUS QUESTION ANSWER

According to Aristotle, a tragedy should be serious; now, if we read the play diligently we will never overlook the “grave” and “serious” issue of plague which consumes the people of Thebes little by little. Apart from that, the ironic riddle of Delphi maintains the serious air of the play very well.

 

. The play has a beginning, a middle, and an end which are peculiar to tragedy.

 

According to Aristotle, a tragedy becomes successful only when it leaves an invisible excruciating, rather, titillating pain of “catharsis” in the minds of the readers or the audience. By reading the text we can assume easily the amount of pain that Oedipus has gone through.

 

 

In the very first scene, the Theban priest invokes Oedipus as the “savior” from the plague, when in fact he is its cause. Later, Oedipus will curse his savior, the man who saved him from death when he was exposed on the mountain in infancy.  It is ironical to see Oedipus blind at the end of the play while at the very beginning of the play he castigates Tiresias for his blindness as conspicuous from his speech:

 

“You (Tiresias) have lost your power, Stone-blind, stone-deaf-senses, eyes blind as stone!”

Oedipus the King Notes

 

If we call Oedipus Rex a ‘tragedy of fate’ then some pertinent questions will arise, like, why did the plague not break out immediately after Oedipus’ marriage to Jocasta? Why did Oedipus never mention his crossroad-incident to anybody? And why did Jocasta not tell Oedipus about the little child that she and Laius left to die on the mountain? And most importantly, why Oedipus took so long to put two and two together to discover the truth (about the murder of Laius and his identity) when especially after Tiresias had told him that he was the murderer, (“I say you are the murderer you hunt”)……

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INDIAN CLASSICAL LITERATURE

 

VYASA:

  1. MAHABHARATA MARKS-10
  2. THE TEMPTATION OF KARNA MARKS-10
  3. THE TEMPTATION OF KARNA MARKS-05

 

SUDRAKA:

 

  1. MRICHHAKATIKA MARKS-02
  2. MRICHHAKATIKA MARKS-05
  3. MRICHHAKATIKA MARKS-10

 

 

BANBHATTA:

 

  1. KADAMBARI MARKS-10

 

KALIDASA :

  1. ABHIJYANAMSHAKUNTALAM MARKS-02
  2. ABHIJYANAMSHAKUNTALAM MARKS-05
  3. ABHIJYANAMSHAKUNTALAM MARKS-10

 

ILANGO ADIGAL :

  1. THE BOOK OF VANCI MARKS-02
  2. THE BOOK OF VANCI MARKS-05

 

EUROPEAN CLASSICAL LITERATURE

 

HOMER : THE ILIAD MARKS-10

SOPHOCLES : OEDIPUS THE KING MARKS-10

OVID : METAMORPHOSIS BOOK-III , BOOK-IV, BOOK-VI— MARKS- 02, 05 & 10

PLAUTUS : THE POT OF GOLD MARKS-02

THE POT OF GOLD MARKS-05

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