Irony in Oedipus the King - The irony of this situation is...

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The play Oedipus the King is filled with irony which Sophocles uses in order to develop his theme about the conflict of fate and free will. The irony points to the theme that one cannot escape fate. One good use of irony is when Oedipus calls Tiresias to tell him who killed Laius. Upon hearing that he, in fact, is the murderer, Oedipus becomes blind to the truth "Hear this, since you have thrown my blindness at me: / Your eyes can't see the evil to which you've come"(417-418). As hard as Oedipus tries, he cannot escape the fate placed upon him by the gods. Another situation contrasting the ideas of free will and fate is when the messenger who was told to kill Oedipus, saved him. The messenger acts out of free will and passibely allows fate to take its course "Herdsman. 'In pity, master. .. But what he did was save him for this supreme disaster. .. - Know your evil birth and fate!'"(1183-1186).
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Unformatted text preview: The irony of this situation is that a good deed (Oedipus' life being spared) leads to something bad (Oedipus fulfilling the prophecy). Sophocles used mostly Dramatic Irony in order to appeal to the audiences of the day, which most of the time, knew the myths and stories being reinacted as plays. Sophocles creates the idea that the blind can see the truth (Tiresias) and someone who can see (Oedipus) is "blind" to his own destruction. this idea is reinforced when Oedipus stabs his eyes out after realizing the suffering he caused "He snatched the pins of worked gold from her dress, / with which her clothes were fastened: these he raised / and struck into the ball joints of his eyes" (1278-1280). Overall, Sophocles uses clear examples of irony. Each use helps to back up his theme of fate against free will and the fact that one cannot escape fate....
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course ENGL 261 taught by Professor Albritton during the Spring '07 term at Jefferson Davis Community College.

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