Oedipus the King': A Critical Summary

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In the beginning, I want to introduce the background information about this play. First, the name of this filmed performance is 'Oedipus the King' It is written by Sophocles, the most famous playwright of ancient Greece. He is one of the three tragic writers in Athens. He not only believes in the supreme power of God and destiny but also requires people to have an independent spirit and be responsible for their own actions, which is the feature of ideology in the period of democratic political prosperity in Athens. His representative works include Oedipus king, Antigone, Oedipus in colonos, as, the young girl of Tethys, etc.

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As the play opens, the citizens of Thebans beg their king, to lift the plague that threatens to destroy the city. And the king sends his brother in law to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi to ask the Pythia what should be done to solve the plague. When he returns, Creon announces that the Delphi Oracle instructs them to find the murderer of Laius. The discovery and punishment of the murderer will end the plague. Oedipus set to work immediately. King Oedipus severely cursed the murderer and ordered the whole country to trace him. But the prophet said that Oedipus himself was the murderer, and the truth was uncertain. In fact, Delphic Oedipus was born with an Oracle saying that he would kill his father and marry his mother in the future, so he was cut through his heel by wire and abandoned in the wild. It was only because the shepherd who carried out the order took pity that he survived. At a fork in the road, he quarreled with an old man and killed him by mistake. This old man is his real father. These experiences of Oedipus coincide with the Oracle's saying that killing the father and marrying the mother. His doom of killing his father and marrying his mother came true, but he knew nothing about it. In this tragedy, Oedipus tried to avoid the disaster, but he still couldn't escape the fate.

In his plays, Sophocles shows that the king of Oedipus is not only a hero but also a noble character. Oedipus is intelligent, honest, upright and brave. He is brave to challenge and fight against the unreasonable fate. However, fate doomed such an outstanding person to be a sinner. He had to bear the guilt of his predecessors and be punished by misfortune. In fact, all these were caused by fate's teasing and Oedipus's self will. But he also has his shortcomings. He is suspicious and irascible. People like Oedipus are not very good, but they are not very bad. Such a human role is more close to ordinary people, making readers more empathic. Oedipus had a conflict with his biological father at the crossroads. Because he was angry and impulsive, he killed his father, which was also his fault in behavior. In fact, he didn't want to kill his father, but in that case, he didn't know the truth and the impulse could not be restrained. So he killed his biological father in his fault His tragedy also began in negligence. Compared with Oedipus complex, tragic consciousness, self-destruction spirit and so on, I prefer the view that this great work is Sophocles' questioning and Reflection on fate.

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Oedipus the King’: A Critical Summary. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/oedipus-the-king-a-critical-summary/
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Oedipus the King’: A Critical Summary [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Apr 13]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/oedipus-the-king-a-critical-summary/
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