Oedipus - King of Thebes Sophocles

ISBN: 9781406713756

Published: May 1st 2006

Paperback

108 pages


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Oedipus - King of Thebes  by  Sophocles

Oedipus - King of Thebes by Sophocles
May 1st 2006 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, RTF | 108 pages | ISBN: 9781406713756 | 4.65 Mb

Look and learn all citizens of Thebes. This is Oedipus.He, who read the famous riddle, and we hailed chief of men,All envied his power, glory, and good fortune.Now upon his head the sea of disaster crashes down.Mortality is man’s burden. Keep your eyes fixed on your last day.Call no man happy until he reaches it, and finds rest from suffering.I believe that in one way or another, everyone - at least to some extent - has heard of the story of Oedipus and Jocasta.

Its one of those tales thats been on our collective consciousness forever even though we may not even be able to assertively answer about its origins. The same might be said, for example, of Odysseus and Don Quixote: theyve been so used and re-used, adapted and re-adapted throughout so many generations and in so many different formats that one might as well state they were simply born within us, for theyre public and common knowledge. I, for one, believed Oedipus and Jocastas tale came from the Bible!

As I was never a religious person and therefore never payed much attention to it - and unfortunately never decently studied Greek mythology -, I used to unconsciously attribute to the Bible the origins of all stories which seemed to me as too ancient to properly date. Im terribly sorry and embarrassed about that, Sophocles.

I stand corrected now.Every time I read an ancient text I recurrently find myself to blame because of the same mistake: being surprised by its quality despite being written so long ago. It turns out more and more I agree with an analysis Ive read somewhere that states that, unlike science, there is no progress, no discovery in art. An artist, while he creates, is not helped by the efforts of all the others - like scientists are - and depends upon his own individual truths. The ancient art is in no way a primitive version of the art created by our contemporaries.

So it should not be astonishing to me that a text written thousands of years ago possesses the same qualities or refinement of awarded pieces that only now cracked their fifty years of age mark.Putting the story itself a little aside, its precisely this refinement, this brilliance in the construction of the narrative that impressed me so much. The pace, the development of the action and disentanglement of this intricate plot was written so masterfully that it requires little investigation in discovering the reasons why it became so influential to the subsequent generations.

Now, Im not knowledgeable enough to affirm that Sophocles himself wasnt influenced by other works that preceded him, so Im not claiming unprecedented originality to his name here, but merely(!) talent in using the most appropriate techniques to write so many wondrous predicates into this marvelous play. The ability with which he created, sustained and solved the various mysteries that surround this classical tragedy is very remarkable, as well as a striking mixture of pity and horror that the themes developed here successfully imposes on the reader.Themes such as fate, free will, interference in human life by the Gods (for some that hasnt changed much, has it?) and its inflexible exploration of human nature and suffering are skillfully written in the form of intense dialogues and shocking revelations that could even prove too disturbing had not been Sophocles accurate treatment, much like the reader likely pities Phedres actions instead of automatically blaming her for her fate.

The ever so mesmerizing battle between destiny and logical consequences also plays a big role here: does fate completely control Oedipuss actions - is it all predetermined? -, or is he simply a victim of his own doings, even if unknowingly?Oedipus Rex (also known as Oedipus the King and Oedipus Tyrannus) tells the story of Oedipus, a man thats respected and loved in Thebas, where he is King after solving the riddle of the Sphinx and marrying Jocasta, the widow of the previous king.

After a plague threatens his kingdom, he is begged by a chorus of Thebans for help and Oedipus sends for an oracle in order to find some guidance. As it turns out, Tiresias, the blind prophet, believes the King is the only one to blame for his malady. At first outraged and, because of it, incensed into proving his innocence, he starts connecting the clues that he receives from various bits of information gathered by different sources. (view spoiler)[As it turns out, Oedipus, after leaving his home in Corinth due to a prophecy which stated he would murder his father and sleep with his mother, entered a fight with some men at a crossroads and ended up killing them, before arriving in Thebes.

One of these men was Laius, Jocasta’s husband and previous King. In order to escape the prophecy, Oedipus fell into it, as he was Laius’s son who was sent away to be killed many years ago exactly because he received an oracle that he would be murdered by his own son. Oedipus’s life ended up being spared and, unknown to him, he was adopted by the King of Corinth.

Now it was clear to him that, besides murdering his father, he has slept with his own mother and fathered children that were also his brothers and sisters. Jocasta, upon finding out this complex imbroglio, cant deal with the unimaginable situation and kills herself. (hide spoiler)]



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