The Greek Tragedy as Seen in Oedipus the King, a Play by Sophocles

Last Updated: 04 Jan 2023
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Sophocles, I am filled with ancient greek tragedies such as Oedipus the King. In the play Oedipus the King, we follow Oedipus as he makes an endeavor to save his city. Thebes, from a curse that is causing deaths among the cattle and people. In order to save Thebes he has to find the murderer of the past King, Laius. Oedipus goes to a wise elderly blind man, Tiresias, to find out who the murderer of Laius is. Tiresias, tells Oedipus the prophecy of Oedipus. He shall be proved father and brother both to his own children in his own house to her that gave him birth, a son and husband both; a fellow sower in his father’s bed with that same father that be murdered". This means that Oedipus has slept with his own mother and murdered his own father who was the last king of Thebes. Oedipus does not believe Tiresias, however, soon he starts to doubt himself.

Jocasta, his wife, tries to discourage him from finding out the truth about himself. Jocasta knows the truth about Oedipus, yet she refuses to tell him. Jocasta is the main female role in Oedipus the King. Unlike other greek tragedies, Jocasta is knowledgeable and wise. She plays the role of a wife and mother to Oedipus. As a wife she loved Oedipus and gave birth to their four Children two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene. As a parent she tried to shield Oedipus from the truth of his prophecy. Before Oedipus, Jocasta was married to Laius. Jocasta and Laius had a happy marriage together. When Oedipus was born they received the prophecy that Laius is going to be killed by his own son.

This caused Jocasta and Laius to take Oedipus and tie his ankles together and left him outside to die so the prophecy will not come true. They continued to live until Laius was killed by a group of thieves. After his death Jocasta marries Oedipus. Jocasta did not know that the prophecy came true Jocasta believed that her son has died and Laius has been killed by thieves at the crossroads. When Oedipus tells Jocasta she tells Oedipus “Do not concern yourself about this matter listen to me and learn that human beings have no part in the craft of prophecy”. After Oedipus tells her the prophecy she begins to suspect her marriage. After the messenger tells her that Oedipus was found as a baby with swollen ankles by him and then he gave the baby to Polybus she started to realize the truth. Once Jocasta realizes she has done incest she tries to shield Oedipus from the truth. She continues to tell Oedipus that“

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But, see now, he, the king, was killed by foreign highway robbers at a place where three roads meet”. She also tells Oedipus in his birth King Laius pierced his ankles and by the hands of others cast him forth upon a pathless hillside. So Apollo failed to fulfill his oracle to the son death at his son’s hands, never came to pass” so the prophecy never came true, Jocasta thought that after telling these stories he would stop looking for the truth. However, Oedipus continued to look for the truth. Once Oedipus knows that the prophecy has come true, Jocasta hanged herself with bed sheets. Jocasta kills herself after Oedipus finds out the truth because she doesn’t want to face. Oedipus, her kids and the public, Jocasta does not want Oedipus to know that she was the one that left him to be killed when he was a baby so he would not kill his father, her husband Laius.

She is scared about that Oedipus will know that was lying to him and try to manipulate him into thinking the prophecy was not true. Her children will also know the truth about their birth, and will know that they are children of incest. She will not be able to live knowing that her husband sees her as a bad person and her children know their origin, Jocasta would rather let her husband and kids live blissfully in a lie than for them to know the truth about Oedipus‘ past. She would have been able to live knowing to she has slept and had kids with her own son as long as she was the only one to know. In Closing, did not want Oedipus to know that the prophecy has came true. Wanted him to continue to believe her story about Laius death and the lie that the prophecy has come tniel Jocasta knew the truth but felt that she needed to protect Oedipus from the truth.

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The Greek Tragedy as Seen in Oedipus the King, a Play by Sophocles. (2023, Jan 02). Retrieved from

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