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September 29, 2005

Rix, ''Was Oedipus Framed?'' -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

"The destiny Oedipus is typically "tragic" in the way we often find it in Greek plays, because the disaster that finishes the play is revealed to have been deteremined for the protagonist all along. It is simply required that, at the end, Oedipus should be found guilty in order for the tragedy to work."

Rix points out in the article that Oedipus may not have even committed the murder at all. I find it really interesting that this whole time we believed the killer to be Oedipus, there is a chance that it wasn't. Rix says that the readers infer that Oedipus himself committed the murder because Oedipus believes that he did it. Also, most if not all of the evidence points in Oedipus's direction. He says the only secret left is if there was one killer or many.

Karl Harshbargerhas pointed out in the article "the possiblilty that someone else than Oedipus might have killed the old king. From this asserstion, he develops, at some length, Oedipus's own accusations in the play against Creon and Teiresias of complicity in the murder."

This to me does seem to be stretching it a little far. However, it doesn't seem that many readers never really challenge the outcome of the play because we know that in Greek tragedies, the protagonist is supposed to fall. Does anyone else think that it could have been a setup? Or am I just an idiot?

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at September 29, 2005 08:58 AM


I like when Rix says that we believe Oedipus did it because he believes that he did it too. That's a good point. I think that can happen with anything. Kind of like, "If you believe you, you can." I also wanted to comment on when you said that it doesn't seem that many readers challenge the outcome of the play because that is what's supposed to happen. I don't think that readers challenge for the simple fact that we are just READERS! We didn't write the play, we watch/read it because we want to, who are we to challenge what the writer says happens? Does anyone know what I mean? I'm having a hard time putting it into words. Haha...but essentially what I am saying, is that the play is the play. We can't change the outcome or what happens. It was the writer's idea, he/she wrote the play the way that he/she did for a reason. That is how they want it to be. Whats the point of challenging it?

Posted by: Chera Pupi at September 29, 2005 12:23 PM

No Andy, you are not an idiot...but I feel that Oedipus has to be guilty. The idea of fate is so strong, so much so that even the idea is just as inescapable as fate itself. And if Oedipus didn't really kill his father, then the prophecy was not actually fulfilled, yet at the end of the play, Oedipus certainly THINKS that it has. Why would the prophecy say "you will kill your father and marry your mother" and not "you will be framed for the murder of your father after marrying your mother"?

I don't think that Sophocles would have made the point that fortune "rests in the hands of higher forces" if he were trying to undermined that very idea, by making it inaccurate within his own work. If Oedipus really hadn't killed his father, then the prophecy was not totally fulfilled and the idea that Oedipus' could not keep the events from happening would be lost.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at September 29, 2005 01:45 PM

I can see where the idea comes from-the evidence doesn't completely point to Oedipus. But then what would be the point of the play? If Oedipus didn't kill his father, than the whole purpose of the work would be discredited.

Posted by: Katie Lambert at September 29, 2005 09:15 PM

Yeah, I don't think Creon and Teiresias offed the king either. The reason this play is so cool is because Oedipus is the one responsible.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at September 29, 2005 09:37 PM

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