Literary Analysis.docx - ENGL 205 Oedipus the King is a...

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ENGL 205 Oedipus the King is a classic Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. This play is unique among ancient literature in that it does not unfold like a dramatic tragedy. Rather, it plays out more like a modern detective novel with a shocking twist near the end of the story. It is this twist that puts the whole of the work into perspective for the reader or viewer. Up to this point the story has unfolded thusly. The king of Thebes receives a mass of concerned citizens led an old priest. They are asking their king, Oedipus, to deliver their land from the plight of famine and sickness that threatens to overcome them. Oedipus, ever the hero, has already sent Creon, his brother-in-law, to the oracle. As the King addresses the crowd, Creon returns with the Oracle’s message. The famine and sickness will end when the murderer of Laius, the former king, is sent out from the land. Oedipus sets to work and summons the whole of Thebes to assemble before him so that he may inquire about Laius’ murder. A late arrival to the throng, Tiresias the blind prophet, is questioned by the king. The Prophet refuses to help in this endeavor and replies to the king’s accusation that he had taken part in the deed with the statement that Oedipus, himself, is the murderer of Laius. Oedipus brags of his previous accomplishments in self-defense and sends the

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