A mythological world of Oedipus

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

In a mythological world of oedipus the king, the truth is rarely pure and never simple. The motif of the truth is expedited in theme of the willingness to ignore the truth throughout the drama, through characters trying to unveil the truth about the murder of Laius. In the opening of the drama of Oedipus the king, the town of Thebes, has a unsolved murder case without any evidence. Oedipus adventures for the truth after discovering the murder of the previous king, Laius. Believing he is capable of controlling every situation he encounters, Oedipus stresses, “I heard that too, but no one saw the killer” (319).

Oedipus is dubious to the identity of the murderer. As a result, Sophocles successfully validates human beings lack of power in controlling every situation and not being able to hide the truth.

Later on in the drama, When Oedipus and Jocasta begin to get close to the truth about Laius’s murder, in Oedipus the King, Oedipus fastens onto a detail in the hope of exonerating himself. Jocasta says that she was told that Laius was killed by “strangers,” whereas Oedipus knows that he acted alone when he killed a man in similar circumstances. This is an extraordinary moment because it calls into question the entire truth-seeking process Oedipus believes himself to be undertaking. Both Oedipus and Jocasta act as though the servant’s story, once spoken, is irrefutable history. Neither can face the possibility of what it would mean if the servant were wrong.

This is perhaps why Jocasta feels she can tell Oedipus of the prophecy that her son would kill his father, and Oedipus can tell her about the similar prophecy given him by an oracle (867–875), and neither feels compelled to remark on the coincidence; or why Oedipus can hear the story of Jocasta binding her child’s ankles (780–781) and not think of his own swollen feet. While the information in these speeches is largely intended to make the audience painfully aware of the tragic irony, it also emphasizes just how desperately Oedipus and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth: they look at the circumstances and details of everyday life and pretend not to see them.

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