Oedipus Rex as Social Commentary Essay

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Oedipus Rex as Social Commentary


Oedipus Rex, written by the Poet Sophocles in the Golden Age of Greek Theatre, was described by Aristotle to be the greatest tragedy of all time. It encapsulates the very essence of the Greek cultural milieu, and it is these ideologies which are translated into the play. The very essence of Greek society; the political democracy, a moral belief in the power of the Gods and social recognition of hierarchy, are portrayed when the society is pictured in a state of chaos.


The Ancient Greeks formulated what they believed to be a true democracy. Everyone was to have a say in the political scene, every man had a vote and no one should be disadvantaged. At the same time, however, the
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While they respect that she can quell the conflict between Creon and Oedipus, the eventually condone the disrespect Oedipus shows to her. She constantly pleads him to "leave well enough alone". However, little attention is paid to her at the time.


Another essential facet of Greek culture was its religious and superstitious nature. Oedipus Rex and the other Greek tragedies were written for the purpose of performing at a religious event, where the Gods were to be pleased. It follows, therefore, that the generic conventions would be aimed at constructing a meaning related to a pre-determined fate; often viewed as the cornerstone of the Greek religion. The prologue and the retelling of myths were essential to the construction of this meaning. As the audience already had an understanding of what was going to happen to the characters, they could see that any effort to change fate was futile and fraught with danger.


Furthermore, the understanding of the characters was used. In a dialectical argument, Jocasta implores that "no man possesses the secret of divination" and Oedipus challenges by saying that the Oracles words are "unfulfilled and lies." As both reach a higher understanding however, they realise that the Gods do indeed control their lives. As Oedipus and Jocasta represent the (albeit

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