The Plague In Oedipus The King

1797 Words 8 Pages
While a powerful tragic piece departs its reader with a sense of relief, it first derails the reader 's emotions into a frenzy of fear, pity, and sorrow. In Sophocles’ tragic play, Oedipus the King, Oedipus must save Thebes from the dreadful fortune cursed upon them. What Oedipus fails to realize is that he caused the plague through his fulfilled prophecy: to exchange rings with his mother and to terminate his father’s life. Over the course of the play, Oedipus slowly unravels his origins. His curiosity drives him to search for answers and reveal the truth, while the audience fearfully anticipates each step. For Oedipus, however, the truth that will haunt him the most and cause the greatest pain. Throughout the play, Sophocles twists the overlapping …show more content…
Even so, the king does not connect the story and prophecy, and remains oblivious to the situation. He proceeds to express interest in summoning the herdsman, although there is sufficient evidence of the prophecy coming true. Watching Oedipus blinded by his explicitly obvious storyline elicits pity in the audience. As Sophocles portrays Oedipus as almost naïve, the audience naturally sympathizes with his misfortune and oblivion to the truth. Following the pity is the fear of Oedipus’ suffering. Once Oedipus begins gorging out his eyes, the messenger describes the incident by saying, “Black blood came pouring like a shower of hail” (l. 1238). The image of Oedipus’ blood spurting out of his eyes is an abnormally gory and abhorrent idea that unsurprisingly induces fear. It is one manner to say Oedipus ripped out his eyes, but the imagery that Sophocles paints causes the audience to fear Oedipus’ reaction and what else he might do. Next is the audience’s sorrow when Oedipus speaks to his daughters. As Creon brings the daughters for Oedipus’ final goodbyes, Oedipus says, “Then who will marry you? /No-one, my children. Marriage is not for you” (ll. 1453-1454). Oedipus’ daughters are still pure and innocent, oblivious to their father’s horrendous life. Even so, Oedipus’ plague affects his daughters, and no one will touch a woman with an ill family history. The misfortune brought upon the young girls causes the audience to feel sorrow once seeing untainted, harmless babies, stained and doomed by her their father’s destiny. At last, when the chorus ends the play, the audience’s emotions are purged. Oedipus finally leaves Thebes, and the chorus imparts the ending by stating, “That is why we wait until we see the final day, /Not calling anybody happy who is mortal/Until he has passed the

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