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Oedipus Commentary Corruption of Power

University/College: University of Arkansas System
Date: October 30, 2017
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Oedipus Commentary Corruption of Power

Power, in the right hands can be a very rewarding thing. But when given to the wrong person, that power can blind one’s Judgment. In Oedipus pages 15 to 16, Sophocles portrays this exploitation of power and authority through the use of characterization, diction associated with death, and dramatic Irony. Through the use of characterization, Sophocles Is able to mold Oedipus’ character into Aristotle definition of a tragic hero.

Oedipus is a very admirable character as he is a compassionate man (lines 11-12), and one who wants justice (lines 21-22). Although Oedipus has good intentions, in doing so, he corrupts his power to frighten his people, by putting himself above everyone else, so they “respect” him. Through this respect, he can gain knowledge and truth from the people who are essentially the witnesses, to uncover justice. This is shown through lines 6-18. Oedipus calls down a curse, and threatens the people who do not oblige to his measures.

This was an impulsive act, as even those who don’t agree with Oedipus will be sentenced with death. Imagine what kind of curse he will call down on those who not only disagree with his actions, but act against them. Ironically, this curse he called down was to be destroyed by the present plague, which Is what Oedipus Is ultimately trying to rid the land of. Through the use of diction associated with death, pollution, sickness, and unnaturalness, Sophocles is able to amplify the state of Thebes and their state of desperation.

There is a widespread sickness in Thebes, which brings an unnatural disturbance to their land. In order to rid the land of this plague, Oedipus has to find the murder of Alias, and in this search for the murderer, Oedipus’ curiosity takes over and he is soon threatening to torture his people for information. This diction associated with death corresponds to the behavior of Oedipus, and can foreshadow his eventual death as well. Through this, Sophocles suggests the dangerous effects of abuse of authority.

Sophocles uses a lot of dramatic Irony to suggest the effects of this corruption of power. As It is only the beginning of the play, and Oedipus Is already showing signs of abuse of his authority, the reader can anticipate much more of It further along the play. This puts the reader In the position of the gods, as they know what is coming next. The audience knows that everything Oedipus states from nines 5-8 and 10-11 is true, but there is also a second meaning to it that Oedipus does not know of.

Oedipus does not know that his wife is his mother, that his children are his siblings, and that Alias is his father. Oedipus said all of this for the purpose of proving his power equal to that of Alias and validate his kingship, yet ironically, he makes himself look like a fool to the audience. This adds a sense of humor to the play, and also makes the audience pity Oedipus, the tragic hero. In Oedipus, Sophocles highlights the effects of exploitation of power, through the SE of characterization, diction associated with death, and dramatic irony.

He illustrates the Importance of a good leader being one who does not gain control by frightening his people, but by respecting his people In return for their respect. By Behoove characterization, diction associated with death, and dramatic irony. Through the use of characterization, Sophocles is able to mold Oedipus’ character into Aristotle definition off tragic hero. Oedipus is a very admirable character as he is a compassionate man (lines 11-12), and one who wants Justice (lines 21-22). He witnesses, to uncover Justice.

This is shown through lines 6-18. Oedipus calls destroyed by the present plague, which is what Oedipus is ultimately trying to rid the of abuse of authority. Sophocles uses a lot of dramatic irony to suggest the effects of this corruption of power. As it is only the beginning of the play, and Oedipus is of it further along the play. This puts the reader in the position of the gods, as they illustrates the importance of a good leader being one who does not gain control by frightening his people, but by respecting his people in return for their respect.

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