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Matt Hoetzl

Updated November 1, 2018

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Matt Hoetzl essay

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Ap English I
Suggestions For Writing – Oedipus Rex
2.) In the prologue of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus learns of Apollo’s latest
prophecy. Apollo commanded that the people of Thebes were to take revenge
upon the murderer of Laios. Oedipus agreed with Apollo, not knowing at the
time that he was the person whom Apollo reffered to, for fear that the same
killer would soon come after him.

Scene one. Oedipus summons Teiresias, a blind seer of Apollo, to
possibly help him in his search for Laios’ murderer. Teresias comes
straight out to Oedipus and tells him that the man Oedipus seeks is
himself, Oedipus. Of course, such an accusation seemed completely
ludicrous, so Oedipus was quick to assume Kreon influenced Teiresias to
tell Oedipus this, in an attempt to follow through with some plan against
Oedipus to at last have the throne. As Oedipus goes about his theory,
Teiresias indirectly states that in time Oedipus will see that Teiresias’
skills as a blind seer shall not be tested, as he speaks the truth, and
only with time will Oedipus realize this. In my opinion, Sophocles
achieved what he desired with plot in the first scene. Sophocles figured
if the killer was to be announced this early in the play that the reader
would not believe it must be true. After all, were would the suspense be
in telling who the killer is in the beginnning. But what some may overlook
is that Oedipus Rex is not commercial fiction, it is literary fiction, and
suspense in literary fiction doesn’t have to be who killed who, with what,
and why. It could be, instead, how a person has killed this person, and
how the knowledge of the events unfold, and what actions will be taken to
ensure justice.

Scene two. This scene starts off with Oedipus and Kreon bickering
amongst themselves and accusing one another of killing Laios. Iokaste
tells them both to stop because the land of Thebes does not need two of the
most powerful and important people in it not seeing eye to eye. Thebes is
sick with of prophecy and search for Laios’ killer.. Everyone needs to
unite to fulfill the prophecy, not fight. After this, Iokaste tells
Oedipus all of her knowledge of the death of Laios. Upon hearing her
description of the time, place, and company of Laios’ death, Oedipus
realizes that Teiresias might have spoken the truth in saying he was Laios’
murderer. There was only one slight problem with Iokaste’s story that
didn’t match with Oedipus’ encounter with the possible Laios. If the
servant, who was the only survivor of the attack on Laios, says his group
was attacked by highway men, then Oedipus is free of all accusations, since
he attacked a group of people by himself, not with highway men. I believe
Sophocles made the servant’s story originally saying he was attacked by
highway men just to throw off the reader. I mean there is always that
slight chance this is all one big mistake, and that Iokaste’s and Oedipus’
stories being so similar are a coincidence. The reader may believe this is
all a major coincidence in hope that this play will have a happy ending,
one in which Oedipus does not have to be charged with Laios’ death.

Scene three. A messenger is sent from Corinth to notify Oedipus that
he is being called to reign as Corinth’s king, since his father and their
kind has passed away. The only problem with this is Oedipus was
prophesized to kill his father, who Oedipus was hoping was King Polybos of
Corinth. King Polybos died of an illness, not by Oedipus, which means
Polybos wasn’t Oedipus’ father, which is making Laios more and more likely
to be Oedipus’ father. Which would mean that Oedipus did in fact fulfill
his prophecy and kill King Laios. Iokaste realizes all of this, but does
not want Oedipus to know any of it. She fears for his life if he learns
the truth and gave Oedipus a fatal warning. Of course, though, Oedipus is
stubborn and summons a shepherd that handled him as a baby. If the
shepherd handed Oedipus over as a gift to Polybos when Oedipus was to be
killed, then the prophecy was fulfilled. Oedipus did kill his father,
Laios. Sophocles had to throw in the death of King Polybos to further
conclude that Oedipus was not the son of Polybos. With this knowledge,
Oedipus is realizing he must have been the son of Laios.

Scene four. The shepherd and Oedipus meet. Oedipus simply
questioned the shepherd about whether or not he gave Oedipus to the
messenger which was given to King Polybos. The shepherd was very reluctant
to answer. But finally the truth was revealed. The shepherd did hand
Oedipus over. When Oedipus learned of this, he had no reason but to
believe he was Laios’ son, and that the prophecies had been fulfilled.

Exodos. This scene starts off with the Iokaste committing suicide.

She could not handle the truth anymore. Iokastes’ death was so drastic
that Oedipus took away his sight so he would not have to see her, or anyone
else he has hurt in his life of lies. Along with losing sight, however, he
was able to see truth. The truth that he was blind to when he actually had
sight. This all goes back to when Teiresias said Oedipus would see truth
with time. Oedipus then decided it would be more of a punishment to leave
self- exiled, instead of dying, to have the rest of his life to see all the
pain he has caused. Oedipus also apologizes to Kreon and begs for
forgiveness in exchange to see his daughters/ sisters one last time. So in
the end, it was not the happy ending a reader might have hoped for. It
was, however, a happy ending in a different sense. Oedipus can finally
live a life of truth, and is free from all the lies. Oedipus now can see
what was unseen, and knows what was unknown. The only problem with that,
though, is he is kind of late in seeing this. He is condemned from Thebes
and is blind.

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