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Free Oedipus Rex Essays: The Role of Characters

The Role of Characters in Oedipus the King

Characters play a very important role in the play “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles. Without characters, the play would lack a certain dimension and be very difficult to read. The presence of characters in the play make it more easily understood. If characters did not appear in the play it would be close to impossible to understand it since everything that takes place is through the words of the characters. Also if there were no characters the outcome of the play would be different. The significance of characters in the play is very obvious. Without them the play would be much shorter and much more boring. The role of characters is very important to the play.

Characters make the play possible just by the virtue of existing. If they did not exist the play would not either. If the play did not exist then the characters would not either. The characters and the play are codependent and need to have a symbiotic relationship to ensure their mutual survival. A lack of characters in the play would make very difficult reading and perhaps more difficult viewing. A lack of characters would necessitate some other device to be used and a substitute has not been found that replaces the role characters play in a play. An example from the play is when Oedipus was speaking to Teiresias: “I did not know then you would talk like a fool­or it would have been long before I called you”. If there had not been any characters in this play, this could not have happened.

If the play did not have characters the outcome would be much different. All the actions and conversations could not have taken place without the use of characters. Characters made the play and its tragedy possible. Without characters nothing could have taken place. They made it possible for Oedipus to kill his father and have sex with his mother and for everything that was bad to happen. If Jocasta or better Oedipus did not exist within the context of the play everyone would have been much happier and the tragedy could have been avoided. Even if the herdsman who saved Oedipus as a child did not exist or the messenger from Cithaeron the tragedy of the play would have been avoided and made for a much happier ending.

tragoed Free Essay: Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) as a Greek Tragedy

Oedipus the King as a Greek Tragedy

The Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), adheres to Aristotles (384-322 B.C.) definition of a tragedy.

The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the Greek tragedy Oedipus is also an aristocrat. Born of the King and Queen of Thebes he is of true nobility. Oedipus on the other-hand believes his parents are the King and Queen of Corinth. Oedipus was abandoned as a baby and adopted by them. Because that information is known to the audience, and not to Oedipus prior to the start of the play, it is a perfect example of tragic irony because when he declares that he will find the murderer he is the man that he pursues. Here he is told by Tiresias,” I say you are the murderer you hunt” (1235). The theme of Oedipus the King is not clear-cut. The theme in this tragic play seems to be you can‘t escape your fate. Contentment leads to ignorance as Oedipus lends fate a hand in his bitter end. This trait is touched-on in these lines spoken by Creon. “Look at you, sullen in yielding, brutal in your rage- you’ll go too far. It’s perfect justice: natures like yours are hardest on themselves”(Sophocles 1242-1243). Oedipus is a true hero in the Greek tragedy. He has the fate of the community in his hands along with the noble character to take care of it himself. He announces his convictions to take this problem into his own hands and do whatever is necessary to lift the curse. Oedipus addresses the priests assembled before him, “ You can trust me; I am ready to help, I’ll do anything (Sophocles 1225). The city has this faith in him and the priest come to tell him so he will help them lift the curse. “Now we pray to you. You cannot equal the gods, your children know that…But we do rate you first of men,”(1226). He also appears to have Apollo’s ear, which makes him seem all-powerful to the audience; this is another standard of the classic Greek tragedy. Oedipus told his people, ”After painful search I found one cure: I acted at once.

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