Oedipus Project: Group 3 Ben Fa, Elizabeth Hoang, Adam Houghtaling, Sovannah Thou, Jenny Yu Literal Meaning of the Prompt Prompt: Discuss the sympathy towards Oedipus, Jocasta, Antigone and Ismene, or the people of Thebes. Should the sympathy lie with these characters or the people of the Thebes who watched the entire episode take part? The prompt asks whether we, as the readers, should feel empathetic towards not only the person who is directly affected by tragedy, but also the people around them whose lives were also negatively impacted through association, despite committing no wrongs. How the Prompt Relates to Oedipus Although the prophecy doomed Oedipus to tragedy by predicting that he would kill his father and marry his mother, he is not
the only one who experiences tragedy due to this prophecy and the events it causes. The people around him also had to suffer, such as the family of Oedipus, whose fates were radically changed and had their peace ripped out of their hands, or the people of Thebes, who had to cope with the fact that their savior and king was the murderer of their previous king, Laius. Literary Device #1: Tragic Irony "'Open the doors, someone: show me to all the people of Thebes, my father's killer and my mother's" (Sophocles 94).
Oedipus killing his parents through fate was tragic irony since us, the reader, knew that Laius was Oedipus's father before he was willing to accept that for himself. By the time he knew that he had killed his father, it was too late to change the past and he had to deal with the consequences. Initially there is sympathy towards Oedipus not knowing the truth, but it later just turns to pity as his life spirals. Literary Device #2: Archetype: Father-Son Conflict "In anger, I struck the driver as he tried to crowd me off...I paid him back in full...I killed the whole lot of them...With these hand that killed him I defile the dead man's marriage bed" (Sophocles
56-57). Oedipus fulfilling his fate and killing his father on the road is the ultimate form of conflict as he ends his father's life without even realizing it. The conflict continues in Oedipus as the act of killing his father causes psychological consequences later on in his life. There is sympathy felt for the consequences of Oedipus's actions, but not towards his actual act of killing his father. Literary Device #3: Outcast "Banish me from this country as fast as you canto a place where no man can see me or speak to me" (Sophocles 101-102).
Oedipus is the outcast and has fallen from his position of power and glory from a king to a man who cannot even face his family. He just wishes to hide from his family and kingdom and is no longer the hero who saved Thebes and defeated the Sphinx. His pathetic situation is more pitiful than deserving of the sympathy that is felt for his children who are born of incest and not even directly involved. Literal Meaning of Text "ITopic weep for you see Example
you I cannot when I think of your future, the bitter life you #1 will lead, the way men will treat you. What gatherings will you go to, what festivals, without returning home in tears, instead of taking part in the ceremonies?" - Oedipus (104-105) One can have a great amount of sympathy for Antigone and Ismene, the poor daughters of Oedipus. At the beginning of the play, their father is the determined ruler of Thebes, eager to restore the city to normalcy, but in a matter of a few hours, they learn of their horrible incestuous origins, and weep
finding out their mother has committed suicide and their father has blinded himself as punishment. Their future has been permanently scarred by the accidental yet unfortunate path Oedipus Literal Meaning of Topic Text Example "In God's name, Oedipus, believe what he says. Show respect for the oath he swore by #2 the gods do it for my sake and for these people here" (Sophocles 45).
"In God's name, if you place any value on your life, don't pursue the search. It is enough that I am sick to death" Sophocles (77). In two different parts of the play, Jocasta tries to prevent Oedipus from getting into more trouble than he is already in. During the quarrel between Oedipus and Creon, Jocasta intervenes at an attempt to calm Oedipus down and clear things up regarding the prophecy of Laius's death. After the shepherd arrives at Thebes later on in the novel, Jocasta urges Oedipus not to be so adamant about learning of his true lineage when she begins to realize Oedipus is her son. Oedipus insists, and Jocasta escapes an inevitable eternity of shame by leaving the scene and committing suicide. Although she tried her best, her doom
was forthcoming, and she deserves sympathy Significant Moment #1 Oedipus learns that when the Corinthian Messenger found him as a child, his ankles were bound tightly together. Oedipus connects this event to the scars that he still has on his feet along with his name, Oedipus, which means "swollen foot". Some sympathy should lie with Oedipus at this point because of the fact that as soon as he was born, his parents
abandoned him and tied up his feet so tight that he carries around scars even many years later. These scars serve as a symbol of Oedipus's pain as he begins to understand what he has really done in his life: killing his father and marrying his mother. Significant Moment #2 Once Jocasta realizes that the initial prophecy that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother has come true, she becomes overwhelmed with emotion and commits suicide. We cannot help but to feel sympathetic
towards Jocasta because her fate got the best of her in the end. Although she attempts to change her fate from the prophecy by abandoning her child who is predicted to become a murderer, she faces her harsh fate at the end of the play and ends up taking her own life because of this. Significant Moment #3 At the end of the play, Oedipus wishes to be banned from Thebes to fulfill the promise that he had previously made as king to banish or kill the murderer of Laius. Oedipus deserves a great amount of sympathy at this point because of how quickly he
changed from the ruler of a big city to being publicly criticized and exiled from his own city. He also accepts his punishment of exile and even stabs his own eyes out showing how much remorse he has for his actions which deserves sympathy as well. Connecting to Additional Prompt #1 1977: Choose a character who views the past with such feelings as reverence, bitterness, or longing. Show with clear evidence from the work how the character's view of the past is used to develop a theme in the work. Oedipus shows bitterness towards his past because the prophecy predicts him killing his father and marrying his mother. Oedipus tries to deny his fate, but it doesn't work because everything the prophecy predicted has already come true. Connection to main prompt: Oedipus tried so hard to be a good husband and father, but he only ended up being the killer of his father and husband to his mother. Oedipus gains sympathy because he was
determined to do the right thing by leaving Corinth to make the prophecy false, but he only helped the prophecy occur. However, the true victims of the prophecy were his daughters because they were born into a family that was destined to fall. Their father is banished from Thebes, their mother is dead, and will be outcast for the rest of their lives knowing their father is the son of their mother. The daughters' fate is up Creon. Connecting to Additional Prompt #2 2000: In "Oedipus Rex" identify the mystery and explain how the investigation illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. The mystery was finding the killer of Laius. Oedipus brings in Tiresias, Corinthian messenger, and the shepherd to solidify his innocence, but it just proves he is guilty. It is obvious that Oedipus is Laius's killer once Tiresias says Oedipus is the killer. It was a matter of time before Oedipus believed the truth.
Connection to main prompt: Sympathy was gained for Oedipus because so many hints were put out that he killed Laius and he was adopted that you start to feel bad for Oedipus. He just doesn't understand what Tiresias, Corinthian messenger, and the shepherd are trying to tell him. Jocasta even figures out the truth before him, which causes the gain in sympathy for Oedipus for his slow-paced thoughts in putting the mystery together. Works Cited Antigone & Ismene. Oedipus The King, mayrandoedipus.weebly.com/antigone--ismene.html. Death, Dying, Grief, and Mourning. Sophocles, Oedipus The King ThebesDeath of Jocasta, www.deathdyinggriefandmourning.com/Death-Dying-GriefMourning/8-Sophocles,%20Oedipus%20The%20King%20Thebes-Death%20of %20Jocasta.htm. Gillani, S. N. Oedipus Rex: Tragic Irony. Engliterarium, www.engliterarium.com/2008/12/oedipus-rex-tragic-irony.html. Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Translated by Bernard Knox, Pocket Books, 1994.
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