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Theme Of Irony In Oedipus The King

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Irony is often thought of as entertaining, but it also serves a different purpose. In the play of Sophocles titled Oedipus the King, irony is present in every scene, if not every line. When the protagonist runs away to avoid killing his father and marrying his mother, only to kill his father on the road and go on to marry his mother, it can only be ironic. He is a brave and smart man. He killed four men by himself and outsmarted a Sphinx, and became the great king of the city he rescued from her claws. Being the king, when they begged him for help, even though it involved solving a murder that was many years old, he spared no effort trying to outsmart this problem too. It is this investigation into the murder of the previous king that reveals just how blind he has been. All of the irony that is dripping off the lines of this play makes it powerful to its audience. Irony impact’s Sophocles’s Oedipus the King by developing characterization, exposing a theme, and appealing to an archetype. The irony in Oedipus the King helps to develop the character of Oedipus throughout the play. It accomplishes this by the situational irony of his situation. For instance, Oedipus says, “I take the son’s part...I’ll find the hand that [killed Laius]”(Sophocles 251-255). He says this in a passionate speech about how he will save the city, but later regrets his rash words. When he finally accepts the truth of his parentage and marriage, he cries “Is there a sorrow greater”(1260)? He must also
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