Irony in Oedipus Rex By Group Two, Period J

Example One

Irony Relating to Blindness

“Well, it will come what will, though I be mute.”

- Teiresias

  • Even though Teiresias is blind, he sees better than most around him. His ironic attitude toward the revealing of the prophecy makes Teiresias symbolic of the whole conundrum of the play. A major question happens to be, Is Oedipus responsible for his downfall, or was he doomed from the beginning? Thus, is fate decided from birth, or do human control their own fate by their actions? Is our fate decided from birth or do we have a choice?

Example Two:

Irony Relating to Curses

"And on the murderer this curse I lay (On him and all the partners in his guilt) Wretch, may he pine in utter wretchedness!"

- Oedipus

  • Oedipus’s compulsiveness to finding Laius’s murderer causes him to unknowingly curse himself. He wishes suffering and pain for the former king’s murderer and that is exactly what happens to him

Example Three

Irony Relating to Riddles

"People of Thebes, my countrymen, look on Oedipus. He solved the famous riddle with his brilliance, he rose to power, a man beyond all power. Who could behold his greatness without envy? Now what a black sea of terror has overwhelmed him."

- Creon

  • Oedipus’s claim to fame was that he wandered into Thebes and freed the city from its menacing Sphinx. For the master of riddles to be stumped by one because he so desperately avoids the truth is ironic; not only as Dramatic irony, but through his actions in the play as well. This irony is most notable when Oedipus confronts Creon for a second time, and quips that Creon’s ‘riddles’ are bothersome- nevermind that it's information vital to his city’s health and wellbeing.

Example Four

Irony Relating to Prophecies

"Listen and I'll convince thee that no man Hath scot or lot in the prophetic art."

- Jocasta

  • Despite his desperate attempts to avoid it, Oedipus ends up fulfilling the prophecy laid out for him in his youth. In fact, by leaving his homeland in an attempt to keep away from his supposed parents and his tragic destiny, he ends up living the very thing, killing his father and marrying his mother.

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