Oedipus Dramatic Irony

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The classic Greek Play; Oedipus the King by Sophocles is an intricately put together play that uses dramatic irony to toy with the audience’s emotions. The dramatic irony throughout the play allows the audience to know certain details that the main character, Oedipus the King, does not. The prophecy that claimed him from the very beginning, what he’s been trying to get away from the majority of his life, that makes him essentially blind, reads that; Oedipus will shed his father’s blood and sleep with his mother. Oedipus does fulfil his horrible fate before he knows he has already done it and the events that lead and entice the reader along the way make the dramatic irony in this play surreal. This changes how the audience perceives Oedipus,…show more content…
Sophocles introduces the plot with a tragic murder that had engrossed itself around The City of Thebes. Laius, King of Thebes, had been murdered and in addition there is now plague in the city that is diffusing. Oedipus sends Creon (his brother in-law) towards Apollo to discover a solution and end this awful plague that has been killing crops and people. Oedipus wants there to be an end to this calamity and lucky for him, Creon approaches Thebes from Apollo’s with a solution; find the murderer of King Laius to stop the plague. The audience knows that King Laius is Oedipus’s real father and is also aware that Oedipus is the murderer since his prophecy. Oedipus, upon hearing this news decides to curse the murderer if he does not come forward with his wrongdoings. The curse begins with; “…Banish this man – never shelter him, never speak a word to him…drive him out…he is plague...”(266-279) The dramatic irony makes the audience more sympathetic towards the tragic hero because Oedipus did not know that it was himself that murdered and shed his father’s blood. The audience pities and sympathizes Oedipus for he tried to find the murderer by going so far as to bestow a curse on the killer then ends up being the killer. Oedipus put the curse on himself and all he has been attempting to do is to find the murderer to put an end to the…show more content…
Ironic faults and mishaps are his forte in this Greek tragedy especially on page 216; a scene in the play that illustrates Oedipus’s meeting with a messenger from Corinth. The messenger came from Corinth with dire news; Polybus, king of Corinth, has passed away. Polybus was Oedipus’s “father”. This brings grief to Oedipus and joy because, Oedipus knowing his prophecy, believes that he has broken his thought to be fate because he did not kill/shed his “father’s” blood. His father died of old age. On lines 1050-1080 Oedipus expresses his emotions on Polybus’s passing; “…sickness then poor man…all those prophecy I feared – Polybus packs them off to sleep…” (Lines: 1050-1080) Oedipus makes peace and realizes his worries were nothing but infantile except the dramatic irony in this entire conundrum is what evokes sympathy from the depths of the audience. The dramatic irony of this situation is that Polybus is actually Oedipus’s adopted father and King Laius is his real one, so he did fulfil his prophecy. The messenger informs Oedipus; “You were a gift, years ago – know for a fact he took you from my hands…Laius…the king who ruled long ago…”(p.216) The dramatic irony makes the audience more sympathetic/benevolent towards Oedipus because Oedipus spent so much of his time trying to stay away from Polybus, who Oedipus thought was his “father”, because of the prophecy, but instead he ended up running straight into his real parents and in the end

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