A Dramatic Conflict in Oedipus the King Essay
The exposition in the play Oedipus the King is a dramatic conflict, the crowd congregated in front of his palace and he supplants surrounding him, including an old Priest. On his inquiry, the Priest informs him that Thebans have been suffering, and it is the King, who had earlier rescued them from the deadly Sphinx, and now it is he, who can liberate Thebes from this curse. Oedipus notifies that his brother-in-law, Creon is already on his way to Delphi for looking into the matter.
Creon returns from Delphi and informs Oedipus, that this plague is a cause of the anger of Gods on Thebes, owing to the unavenged murder of Last King, Laius whose, the killer is still at large and unpunished. According to Thebans, King Laius was killed by a gang of robbers on his journey. Oedipus then decides to take the charge of finding the murderer as he believes that his own life is also at stake, similar to King Laius was.
Oedipus’ ego and pride, was the main cause of conflict. His character likes recognition and being conspicuous, his desire for praise. The climax comes at a point in time, where Oedipus realizes that the person he has killed is his father, and the lady he slept with turns out to be his mother. The complicated situation in this play is because, Oedipus starts to think that he is entwined into the murder of Laius, more and more he becomes involved in the play. The complex sequence of events (denouement) unrolls when Oedipus realizes what he has been involved in, and begs for his exile from Thebes.
The second question in the dramatic sequence, other than who killed King Laius, I believe is why was King Thebes fearful of the murderer?
Oedipus’ ego and pride proofs that he possesses an inherent weakness of character, hamartia, or tragic flaw. The proof of this controlling nature is visible when he killed Laius and his fellow travelers. He quotes “Swinging my club with this right hand I knocked him out of his car, and he rolled on the ground. I killed him. I killed them all.” His temper is also displayed when Teiresias reveals his fate and the answer to the question that he has posed to all of Thebes. “…Damnation Take you! Out of this place! Out of my sight!”
The choral interludes in the play contribute to the unity of the plot. The choruses, dance, song, and poetry were well versed and merged to reflect the feelings, ideas, and actions of the characters in the play.
In the play, there are many examples of dramatic irony, in one situation, comforting the grievances, of the residents of Thebes, he curses the murderer of King Laius, this verbal dramaticism occurs because of the fact that he himself was a murderer…the words he quote are:
So will I fight on the gods’ side,
And on the side of the slain man!
But my curse be on the one who did this, whether he is alone
Or conceals his share in it with others.
Let him be free of no misery if he shares my house
Or sit at my heart and I have knowledge of it.
On myself may it fall, as I have called it down!
-Oedipus from Oedipus Rex
Freud’s Oedipal theory talks about humans’ animalistic sexual instincts, he believed that these sexual drives are driven from the ancestry since childbirth and are hidden in the subconscious. According to him in these stages of self-gratification, the desires are built and developed. The Oedipal complex though is essential in the developmental stages of children, but still, it cannot be accepted because even science and surveys showed that Freud’s oral, anal, Oedipal, and genital phases cannot be confirmed by the behavior of children and when they grow up to become adults from their childhood experiences.
Aristotle’s catharsis is a process of purgation, in which pity and fear as emotions are provoked by tragedies and dramas and then is eliminated by obtaining the aesthetic pleasure one derives from an intricately constructed piece of art.
The play does end in total gloom, with the characters dying, with Oedipus’s wife and mother, Jocasta dead. The fate of Oedipus is disappointing and tragic for the audience, and the author attributes human suffering to the will of the Gods. Though a moral lesson is left for the viewers by showing how Kind Oedipus was a victim of shame and dejection in his life.