Oedipus RexIn many plays a character has a misconception of his her self and/or hisor her world. When this misconception is destroyed it can be a major turningpoint in the story. “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is one such story. In the storyOedipus has such a misconception where he thinks he has a good life, but reallyhis life is morally wrong. This contributes to the theme or themes of the playwhen they serve as the defining climax of the story. When the misconception isstopped Oedipus sees that you cannot escape or change your past, but you canstill do great things even if you have been evil or immoral in your life.
When Oedipus was born it was prophesied that he would kill his fatherand marry his mother. His father naturally feared this and told a shepard totake the boy out and kill him when he was still a child. The kind old shepardcould not bring himself to kill a innocent little boy so he gave him to apassing messenger to take as his own. When Oedipus was older he learned of thisprophecy and left home because he loved his foster father who he believed to behis real father.
A while after he ran away he traveling down a road when he sawa coach coming. It contained his true father, King Laios of Thebes and hisbodyguards. When they almost ran him over Oedipus attacked them killing thebodyguards and his father, thinking that they were highway bandits, and by doingso he unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy.
When he realizes this he isdevastated. This really contributes to the theme, that you cannot escape yourpast. The fact that he killed a king and his father no less, is a major factorin his exile later in the story.When he discovers that King Laios was his real father he sees that bynot running away that he could have prevented this whole catastrophe. This justgoes to show that hindsight is always 20/20, Oedipus saw this and realized hismistake.
Him realizing that he cannot go back and change his past is also a bigtheme of the story. This fact too. plays a big part in his mental breakdownlater in the story.After he kills his father he is walks further down the road when he isaccosted by the Sphinx who tells him that if he cannot answer her riddlecorrectly that she will kill him.
He however does succeed in solving her riddleand she kills herself out of fury. When word gets out the he was the one whocaused the death of the Sphinx the people of Thebes ( whose king he justrecently killed ) adopt him as their new king, thanking that their real king waskilled by bandits, and give him the queen, Queen Jocasta ( his mother ) for hisbride. They lived happily for many years and had four children. When Oedipuslearns of the heinous crime he has committed he nearly dies.
Jocasta uponlearning that she had been married to her son hangs herself and when Oedipussees her body dangling he cuts her down and stabs out his eyes with her brooch.Having disgraced his country he is banished and he and his daughter Antigoneleave Thebes. He later dies in exile at a shrine of Apollo in Colonus. Beforehe leaves Thebes however he states that he will do great things before he diesthe horrible death he believes is reserved for him.
He speaks with greathubris in the end of the play when he tells Creon to care for his daughters andtells of the things he will do before he dies. This, being able to stillaccomplish great things even after doing such horrendous crimes such as incestand regicide.Realization that you cannot change or escape your past and that you canstill achieve great things even after committing awful crimes in your life areall the things that Oedipus sees after his misconception of his entire life isdestroyed and he sees the things he could have prevented. When you look back onyour life and see something that brought about bad consequences you most oftensee how you could have easily avoided the usually small detail that caused thewhole ordeal.
that is usually a great learning experience for you.