Oedipus Rex Sophocles is able to accomplish to achieve several objectives in his play, Oedipus the King. Sophocles magnificently retells a classic Greek tale while also describing the characters and their motives in great detail. Of the characters Sophocles naturally spends the most time characterizing the protagonist of the play, Oedipus. Sophocles conveys Oedipus’ ideals, moral, and opinions about several topics throughout the play. Among the most important and prominent of his beliefs that are revealed dealt with Oedipus’ value of reasoning, intellect, inquiry, and measurement.
Sophocles portrayed Oedipus as an amiable character that the Greek audience could sympathize with and perhaps even relate to. The audience saw a respectable figure, who did not seem to commit any blatant evil, come to his destruction. They saw an indubitable tragedy. Sophocles ensured that the audience would view Oedipus as a respectable and plausible hero by giving Oedipus many of the popular sentiments of the time. These ideals were brought about by a philosophy that was thriving in Greece during Sophocles’ lifetime. Most of Oedipus’ notions, can be traced back to either the dialectic Socrates in who appeared in Plato’s several works, or Plato’s student Aristotle. These notions were being circulated throughout Greece during the time period which Oedipus was thought to be presented, making them common knowledge for the audience of the time (Friedlander 7).
Of all the virtues that the Greeks, especially the Athenians held dear was wisdom…
…comachea”. Introduction to Aristotle. Ed. Richard McKeon. Trans.W.D. Ross. New York: Random House Incorporated, 1947.308-545.
Friedlander MD, Ed. “Enjoying Oedipus the King by Sophocles”. 1 Aug.1999. Online Posting. 2 Nov. 1999. .
Plato. “Apology”. Plato’s Famous Works. Trans. Stanley Lombardo and Karen Bell. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1992. 194-223.
Plato. “Protagoras”. Plato’s Famous Works. Trans. Stanley Lombardo and Karen Bell. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1992. 121-183.
Plato. “Republic”. Plato’s Famous Works. Trans. Stanley Lombardo and Karen Bell. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1992. 30-110.
Sophocles. “Oedipus the King.” Trans. Robert Fagles. The Three Theban Plays. New York: Viking Penguin Incorporated, 1982. 155-252.