Oedipus critical essay

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  1. The Tragedy of “Oedipus the King” Essay
  2. Critical Analysis of “Oedipus the King”
  3. SparkNotes users wanted!
  4. A Summary and Analysis of Sophocles' Oedipus the King - Interesting Literature

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The Tragedy of “Oedipus the King” Essay

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Critical Analysis of “Oedipus the King”

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Lecture on Sophocles' "Oedipus the King."

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However, there was complete silence to his appeal for revealing the truth. Oedipus resulted in anger. He asked Creaon to leave the country as he became unsuccessful bringing forward the final investigation. He terminated the top brass who was not truly interested carrying out investigation. The son of the past king was involved in that royal murder. April 14, Share this: Twitter Facebook. You may also like. Literary Criticism June 28, January 24, How to Write a Literature Review? February 6, There are many reasons why he appears rather impenetrable, not the least of which is that the reader of today is neither a fifth century Greek nor - even less so - an Athenian.

Sophocles, as a poet, would express himself in the fitting way of his art which appeals primarily to the spirit of man. Besides, Sophocles was not necessarily an opinionated man6 : he would not impart his principles or ideas on his fellow-citizens but merely suggest or imply them.


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  6. Because of his sophrosyne he would not risk - like Socrates or Protagoras - a happy, successful public and private life to proclaim his own gospel. He would merely encourage those who would profit by it to guess his meaning. Through his amiable personality he preserved his integrity as well as his peace while achieving renown during his lifetime and fame posthumously.

    He heeded Solon's implied admonition7 and reached a prosperous and enviably creative old age, without ever leaving his beloved Athens either by force or by choice. Sophocles' poetry, being undoubtedly the most rational and the most philosophical of his contemporary tragic poets, must necessarily reflect the primary human values and project a man-centered outlook. On the other hand, these should be presented in such a way as not to offend or antagonize the religiosity of his fellow-citizens.

    After all, one must remember that the Dionysian festival was originally and primarily a religious festival. How would a priest of Dionysus react if he were exposed to anti-religious performances? Above all, in order for a tragedy to win a prize, it must achieve a consensus; and to do so the tragic poet must present his point of view in such a many-sided way as to win the approval, even the overwhelming approbation of the greatest number of people.

    The poet does not sacrifice his integrity; his talent in fact helps him preserve it : he strives toward concentrated excellence through the general and the subtle. However, to attribute to Sophocles primarily religions leanings - especially after one has perused his marvelous.

    SparkNotes users wanted!

    Sophocles, one of the best representatives of the Golden age of Athens, believed in man's ability to achieve any human goal, provided that he acted like a man, that he used his brains and steered his emotions to constructive channels. Such a belief is not necessarily impious.

    On the contrary, if the gods created man, he must certainly be worthwhile, a credit to his creators. But this is secondary to Sophocles' main objective, which is man's world. The gods are only functional, to help him drive home his point of view, to furnish a contrast and to support the cause of man.

    One reason why the tragic hero does not succeed as a man is that he - or she - occupies a very noticeable position, one of leadership : by ancestry or by influence and power he -she- must necessarily be in perpetual prominence; they are not only endowed with superior gifts - for which they presumably deserve to be leaders - but also with even greater responsibilities, especially at critical times. At one point too much is demanded, or demanded at a very unexpected moment; to respond successfully the hero must possess almost divine abilities; that is not always possible.

    It might take only a single false step and tragedy becomes an inevitable reality. In an indirect way Sophocles does seem to be skeptical about prolonged concentrated power, be that religious or mundane. Because it is so difficult for any leader to be consistently and continuously virtuous, as well as wise, and to exert influence rather than control, it becomes almost impossible for any mortal to really deserve continuous and unchallenged prominence, or to justly take prominence for granted.

    And that is probably why democracy, in contrast to centralized leadership, tends to mitigate at least the evils stemming from too much power in the hands of too few for too long a time. Let us take the chorus as a point of contrast : except for an occasional misfortune - plague here - which afflicts everyone, no one in the chorus either undertakes clear action or exercises leadership, nor do they suffer the results of their own bad judgment.

    They are occasionally mistreated but do very little about it.

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    A Summary and Analysis of Sophocles' Oedipus the King - Interesting Literature

    The chorus outlasts the hero. The evidence is rather clear : no eminence - not much responsibility, no serious risks. Obscurity equates security in some measure. But what are the fundamental human qualities that usually preserve men and make survival possible through some kind of attainable balance? The basic aim of survival is survivability itself, and it can be divided into three areas : the survival of the individual as a living entity,.

    The cultural survival to an intense degree is mostly reserved for the very few and is called renown, fame, glory. When a person's survival priorities get either out of order or unbalanced, a conflict usually occurs, possibly spawned over many years and even handed down through the generations, thus becoming a personal or family tendency or characteristic9.

    It may be the cause for the hero's hubris, his main flaw. Or it may be an attitude which distorts his heroic character and leads to alienation. A typical hero, when confronted with a challenge, must respond in such a way as to emerge, if he survives, a better and wiser man. If he succeeds, he is fundamentally the epic hero, even if he may physically succumb in the process Hector, Patroclus, Achilles.

    If he fails, he becomes the tragic hero and teaches his fellowmen to avoid such pitfalls. Usually the tragic hero does not attain glory or fame because of his conflict, but rather a certain renown which at times verges on notoriety; few men would want to be faced with a similar cultural survival. And any effort to understand and interpret it passes judgement on our philosophical maturity. One might even ask : but should any interpretation be attempted at all? It is needless to say that philosophical problems are hardly ever resolved on paper; ultimately they are resolved in the mind of each man.