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King Oedipus Analysis

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  • Essay length: 1440 words
  • Submitted: 29/10/2004
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AS and A Level Classics

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King Oedipus Analysis

Themes

Destiny and Freewill

* This is one of the most important themes in the play and leaves the reader with the engrossing question of whether or not freewill is an illusion. The play doesn't actually answer this question, but it shows the complex interplay of fate and freewill that culminates in Oedipus' tragic plight. Jocasta, Laius and Oedipus all try to escape the prophecy but they are unwittingly led into their seemingly unavoidable fate. This element of the play is intended to show the reader the power of prophecy and the supreme authority of the gods in contrast with the futility of human beings.

* The play also shows how human nature plays a vital role in the fulfilment of the prophecy. Compassion and pity on the shepherd's behalf prevents Oedipus from dying as a baby. Oedipus' own impetuous temper results in the murder of his own father, Laius. His momentary display of intelligence in solving the riddle is his ultimate triumph as well as his seed of destruction as it results in marriage to his mother, Jocasta. In resolving to find out the truth about his birth, he brings

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