Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles around 430 BC, is one of, if not the most, important and influential tragedy ever written. It became the base for most of the tragedies written since. In spite of the fact that some of the story line may seem a little out of place now, parallels can be very easily drawn with the present time. Even though it was written over 2000 years ago, Oedipus the King is still fitting and applicable in today’s society.
In ancient Greece, the people believed that the gods already decided upon their fates and destinies. They believed that nothing that they could do could change them, no matter what they do (Fagles, 152). Oedipus tried to change what he knew to be his destiny, to kill his father and marry his mother, by moving away from the city and family that he knew to be his own. He found out later in the play that by moving he had actually fulfilled his destiny. His parents tried to change their destinies, but that too backfired on them. In modern times, most religions that have beliefs similar to this are in the eastern part of the world. Most people in the west believe that they are in charge of their own fates and destinies and that they can be altered by things that they do or don’t do (Donn, 231). Walton notices this too. He states that “Oedipus is not a turannos at all. He is the legitimate son of the previous king (119).
Another thing that may be found similar between Oedipus and modern life is that people can and do change themselves internally and develop themselves over time. Changes are usually unmotivated. The motivating factor for Oedipus was after he realized that he killed his father, married his mother, and found her dead. He then blinded himself be jabbing brooches into his eyes. After this traumatizing event, he seems to have developed his personality further. He is calmer, and seems to “see” things better now that he is blind. Th...
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Sophocles. "Oedipus the King." Trans. Robert Fagles. The Three Theban Plays. New
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Donn, Jeff. History of Religion. New York: Plume, 1991.