Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

Blind to Freedom College

Athenian citizens believed they had no volition in life, but rather contended with a lack of free will and choice as they struggled with the presence of oracles and belief of destiny. They accepted that deities could foresee the future and select individuals as intermediaries who were able to access and communicate this information to the populace. Both the confines and possibilities of knowledge of the future pose a problem for the definition of free will. The tragedy, Oedipus Tyrannus, first performed in 429 BC and written by Sophocles, examines a time of blurred boundaries between supreme knowledge and man upon the discovery of truth. Sophocles’s orating becomes the base for techniques and claims made by Aristotle in Poetics and Longinus in On the Sublime, in order to understand transgressions and limits. The pursuit and gain of knowledge, as the primary barrier that frames the play, violates the didactic interest, as Oedipus falls into the tragedy of his destiny, unable to thwart or escape the wickedness that threatens him, questioning the existence of choice, and thus, ethical significance.

Riddles, being intentionally phrased to require wisdom to solve, force man to question his capacity of intelligence. The desire for...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1156 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8944 literature essays, 2367 sample college application essays, 392 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in