PR: Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King written by Sophocles, our first assigned novel for the year. After reading a “summary” of the play, we began reading on page 159. Our first reading assignment was up to page 198. I found myself confused during the first half but quickly catch on during the second half where it was basically two grown man arguing. As for reading assignments were given, I found myself gaining interest towards the play and began enjoying it. As the story develops, we follow the protagonist, Oedipus reveals more about himself in a hilarious fashion through the many ironic situations. I believe this development is the cause of why I found myself enjoy the play and even participated plentifully in class discussions (possibly more then the entirety of MYP 5.)

When we first read the “summary,” I was drawn into the fact that Oedipus killed his father and married his mother and gave birth to many children. However, when we began reading the play, my view on Oedipus regressed. When Oedipus came to Thebes and crowned king of the fight with the sphinx, Oedipus went on, to find the truth behind the killing of Laius, the former king of Thebes. After receiving no luck when giving out the order of finding the culprit, Oedipus summoned Tiresias (a blind prophet), who was believe to “share the eyes” of Apollo (pp. 174-175). After Tiresias is summoned, Oedipus began questioning the blind prophet. However, even after exclaiming “if any one of you know the murderer / Nothing to fear, even if he must denounce himself / he will suffer no unbearable punishment” (p. 171), Tiresias refuses to give the answer. Oedipus continues to pressure Tiresias in giving him a answer for the next 15ish pages despite Tiresias being “equal in a sense.” Although I understand and admire Oedipus’s determination to find the truth, he went to far as Tiresias proclaimed that he is refusing for his own good. After finally making Tiresias speak, he himself was not pleased with the answer and lashes out on Tiresias. However, after sending Tiresias off, Creon came in and talk some sense into Oedipus. Only then do I start finding the charms of Oedipus as the protagonist of a fictional play.

As Oedipus begins learning the truth behind the killing of Laius, his reaction to the irony placed upon him is beautiful. Watching Oedipus slowly descend into madness as he discovers more information then he wanted, was beautiful and made me enjoy reading the play. Oedipus first curses himself by proclaiming “Whoever he is / let that man drag out his life in agony / by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house / may the curse I just called down on him strike me!” (pp. 172). As he continues to learn more about the killing of Laius and his connection to the former royal family of Thebes, he became insane and “cursed” the gods (Apollo). In spite, Oedipus pulled out his eyes and proclaimed it was his doing. After going insane and proclaiming his sins and the curses he laid upon himself, Oedipus became calm. He yearned for his children before his leave and prayed to the god. This made Oedipus a man who you just can’t really hate as many of the things he has done were purely his fate. However, you can’t help but laugh at Oedipus as well.