Enjoying "Oedipus the King" by Sophocles

(Str. 1)
Races of mortal man
Whose life is but a span,
I count ye but the shadow of a shade!
For he who most doth know
Of bliss, hath but the show;
A moment, and the visions pale and fade.
Thy fall, O Oedipus, thy piteous fall
Warns me none born of women blest to call.

 My masters, tell me where the palace is Of Oedipus; or better, where's the king.

My children, latest born to Cadmus old,
Why sit ye here as suppliants, in your hands
Branches of olive filleted with wool?
What means this reek of incense everywhere,
And everywhere laments and litanies?
Children, it were not meet that I should learn
From others, and am hither come, myself,
I Oedipus, your world-renowned king.
Ho! aged sire, whose venerable locks
Proclaim thee spokesman of this company,
Explain your mood and purport. Is it dread
Of ill that moves you or a boon ye crave?
My zeal in your behalf ye cannot doubt;
Ruthless indeed were I and obdurate
If such petitioners as you I spurned.


The full text of Sophocles' ancient play Oedipus Rex.

Yea, Oedipus, my sovereign lord and king,
Thou seest how both extremes of age besiege
Thy palace altars—fledglings hardly winged,
and greybeards bowed with years; priests, as am I
of Zeus, and these the flower of our youth.
Meanwhile, the common folk, with wreathed boughs
Crowd our two market-places, or before
Both shrines of Pallas congregate, or where
Ismenus gives his oracles by fire.
For, as thou seest thyself, our ship of State,
Sore buffeted, can no more lift her head,
Foundered beneath a weltering surge of blood.
A blight is on our harvest in the ear,
A blight upon the grazing flocks and herds,
A blight on wives in travail; and withal
Armed with his blazing torch the God of Plague
Hath swooped upon our city emptying
The house of Cadmus, and the murky realm
Of Pluto is full fed with groans and tears.
Therefore, O King, here at thy hearth we sit,
I and these children; not as deeming thee
A new divinity, but the first of men;
First in the common accidents of life,
And first in visitations of the Gods.
Art thou not he who coming to the town
of Cadmus freed us from the tax we paid
To the fell songstress? Nor hadst thou received
Prompting from us or been by others schooled;
No, by a god inspired (so all men deem,
And testify) didst thou renew our life.
And now, O Oedipus, our peerless king,
All we thy votaries beseech thee, find
Some succor, whether by a voice from heaven
Whispered, or haply known by human wit.
Tried counselors, methinks, are aptest found [1]
To furnish for the future pregnant rede.
Upraise, O chief of men, upraise our State!
Look to thy laurels! for thy zeal of yore
Our country's savior thou art justly hailed:
O never may we thus record thy reign:—
"He raised us up only to cast us down."
Uplift us, build our city on a rock.
Thy happy star ascendant brought us luck,
O let it not decline! If thou wouldst rule
This land, as now thou reignest, better sure
To rule a peopled than a desert realm.
Nor battlements nor galleys aught avail,
If men to man and guards to guard them tail.


Events before the start of Hamlet set the stage for tragedy

After Oedipus talks about killing Creon, the chorus begs for him not to cast Creon out. Oedipus replies that if that is what the people want, then they might as well want him to be banished from the land. The chorus says no at the time, but it couldn't be truer after the truth is revealed.

Postmodern terms – Oedipus Complex to Romanticism

To put it into a more traditional philosophical vocabulary, Sophocles raises for his audience questions surrounding the notion of moral responsibility in the light of a person choosing without knowledge of his action’s context or its consequences. Knox has argued that Oedipus is not only free, but also responsible for his actions, for strictly speaking, the gods and Fate do not force his individual choices. Oedipus freely chooses to kill Laius, although he does not know his identity. Oedipus marries and begets children with Jocasta, not as a result of any specific external force, but as a result of his own internally driven actions. Knox writes of Oedipus, ‘The autonomy of his actions is emphasized by the series of attempts made by others to stop the investigation … The hero is not only free but fully responsible for the events which constitute the plot.’ In one sense, Knox is correct that Oedipus is free in that the source of his action is internal. However, the play’s supreme dramatic tension arises from a figure who somehow both acts freely and yet, in such ignorance that he seems incapable of genuine freedom. Moreover, his ignorance itself seems not to be culpable, as it was unavoidable, despite his best efforts to gain it. The audience, then, must ask even deeper questions about the constitutive nature of freedom, questions that his audience must engage in if they are to make sense of the narrative of Oedipus’ life.

Free manifest destiny Essays and Papers - 123HelpMe

The play raises not only the question of individual moral responsibility in the light of ignorance, but, as importantly, the effect of our vulnerability to ignorance upon the wider community. begins with the city suffering a plague on account of its king’s still unknown transgressions. By the end of the play, Oedipus is insistent with Creon that he must leave Thebes, and equally concerned that his daughters, especially, will suffer a curse as a result of his actions (1493–6; 1517). Thus, the audience is also encouraged to consider how and whether vulnerability to ignorance affects the larger political community as well. At moments, Sophocles points toward the possibility of despair as one response to vulnerability. For example, the Chorus in even declares, ‘Not to be born is best of all: when life there is, second best is to go hence where you came, with the best speed you may’ (1410–13). However, ultimately offers a quite different set of answers about encountering human vulnerability through the notion of hospitality to the stranger.