Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Oedipus Rex: Fate, Truth and Self-will/OEDIPUS REX : DESTIN, VERITE, ENTETEMENT

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Oedipus Rex: Fate, Truth and Self-will/OEDIPUS REX : DESTIN, VERITE, ENTETEMENT

Article excerpt


The myth of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex is revolved on the three interactive perspectives of fate, truth and self-will, making the play a most remarkable one in the fifth century Greece when all the plays focused on the manifestation of God's will under which man's behavior was undoubtedly directed. What gives the play its tragic intensity is not the horror it arouses of patricide or incest but the meaning of fate that God bestows to Oedipus in his endeavor of truth seeking. What's most important, it is the sentimental self-will of Oedipus that makes the play distinguished from other plays during the age of Sophocles' and makes him an outstanding figure in the fifth century Greek. Though Sophocles' plays could not detach themselves from the influence of religious requirement, namely, the divine will, a theme prevailing during his age, he endeavors to present a comparatively different approach of morality, a refusal to compromise of the hero's fate confined by god in literary works of the fifth century Greece. It seems that Sophocles employs the oracles not for the sake of worshipping the Gods, but rather, for the presentation of man's inner strength seeking truths about the conditions of life or about human character based on truth.

Key words: fate, truth-seeking, self-will, oracle

Résumé: Le mystère d'Oedipus Rex de Sophocles réside dans les trois perspectives interactives : destin, vérité et entêtement, qui rendent ce drame l'un des plus remarquables du XVe siècle de la Grèce où toutes les pièces se consacraient à manifester la volonté de Dieu par laquelle le comportement de l'homme était incontestablement guidé. Ce qui donne à cette pièce son intensité tragique, ce n'est pas la horreur de parricide ou d'inceste, mais le sens du destin que Dieu accorde à Oedipus dans sa recherche de vérité. Ce qui est le plus important, c'est l'entêtement sentimental d'Oedipus qui distingue cette pièce des autre de l'époque de Sophocles et le rend la plus célèbre figure du XVe siècle de la Grèce. Bien que les pièces de Sophocles ne puissent se détacher de l'influence de la demande religieuse, à savoir la volonté divine- un thème prédominant de l'époque, le dramaturge a cherché à présenter une approche relatively différente de la morale, un refus de faire le compromis sur le destin du héros déterminé par Dieu dans les ouvrages littéraires grecs du XVe siècle. Il semble que Sophocles emploie l'oracle non pour vénérer Dieu, mais pour montrer la force intérieure de l'homme dans la recherche de la vérité sur les conditions de vie ou sur les caractères humains basés sur la vérité.

Mots-Clés: destin, recherche de la vérité, entêtement, oracle


Some twelve years before the action of the play begins, Oedipus has been made King of Thebes ingratitude for his freeing the people from the pestilence brought on them by the presence of the riddling Sphinx. Since Laius, the former king, had shortly before been killed, Oedipus has been further honored by the hand of Queen Jocasta.

Now another deadly pestilence is raging and the people have come to ask Oedipus to rescue them as before. The King has anticipated their need, however. Creon, Jocasta's brother, returns at the very moment from Apollo's oracle with the announcement that all will be well if Laius' murderer be found and cast from the city.

In an effort to discover the murderer, Oedipus sends for the blind seer, Tiresias. Under protest the prophet names Oedipus himself as the criminal. Oedipus, outraged at the accusation, denounces it as a plot of Creon to gain the throne. Jocasta appears just in time to avoid a battle between the two men. Seers, she assured Oedipus, are not infallible. In proof, she cites the old prophecy that her son should kill his father and have children by his mother. She prevented its fulfillment, she confesses, by abandoning their infant son in the mountains. As for Laius, he had been killed by highwaymen years later at the junction of three roads on the route to Delphi. …

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