Irony

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Sophocles, Oedipus the King (Up to Scene III) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

You know the drill: go read and comment. Imagine I'm a sad, forlorn puppy with only one leg that derives my only joy from your comments. You wouldn't want to make a crippled puppy sad now, would you?

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

OEPIDUS: I say I take the son’s part, just as though I were his son, to press the fight for him And see it won!”

Irony is the foundation of Oedipus the King. Without it, there would be no plot. It involves the audience and shows foreshadowing.

OEPIDUS: Thus I associate myself with the oracle And take the side of the murdered king. As for the criminal, I pray to God – Whether it be a lurking thief, or one of a number – I pray that that man’s life be consumed in evil and wretchedness. And as for me, this curse applies no less If it should turn out that the culprit is my guest here, Sharing my hearth. You have heard the penalty.”

Oedipus knows, or thinks he knows, that he didn’t kill King Laius. When he makes this proclamation, he’s really addressing the “marauders” that everyone thinks are responsible for the murder. He doesn’t know that he’s just convicted himself (I think his only real crime is having been born, poor guy).

TEIRESIAS: Listen to me. You mock my blindness, do you? But I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind: You can not see the wretchedness of your life, Nor in whose house you live, no, nor with whom.”

There are several references to sight, which is ironic because Oedipus is both blind to his odd inbreed situation, and will soon be blind – literally.

3 Comments

I definetly just blogged about the irony of his referring to Teireseias as blind and how Oedipus is blind in his own way. I agree with you kayla.

I like the use of irony in the play. Kayla, I think your right... without it they will be no plot..no play basically. Oedipus was just a character who didn't know what was going on in his life as far as the death of the old king. In a way, Oedipus was destined to do these act...for what? Beats me.

Way to ruin the end for those who haven't finished reading it Kayla!...luckily I have read it all and I have read it before or I would be mad at you right now about the blind thing! Anyway, yep the irony is important. I already blogged about it on my blog for the second half.
I have to say that the characteristic of classic Greek tragedy is that it is plot-propelled. The irony does not make the plot, but the irony within the plot is what makes the play interesting to read and what evokes pity and fear in the readers (which is the point).

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