Prophecy in 'Oedipus Rex' Analytical Essay by Shaad

Prophecy in 'Oedipus Rex'
This paper analyzes the play 'Oedipus Rex' by Sophocles to depict the theme of the inviolability of divine order.
# 146708 | 750 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | BD

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In this article, the writer analyzes Sophocles' play 'Oedipus Rex' and depicts the central theme to be the subjection of human will to the divine order. Powerful princes are depicted as trying to defy prophecies in order to protect their own interests. The writer explains that their motives differ; in the case of Laius and Jocasta it is mere self protection, while in the case of Oedipus it is noble. The writer discusses that whatever the motives, they are shown to be guilty of human presumption, and accordingly they meet tragic ends. The writer concludes that tragedy is shown to stem from the fact that prophecy is fulfilled, despite all efforts to avert it, and the very act of defiance leads to disastrous consequences.

From the Paper:

"The subjection of free will to divine design is a theme at the center of Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex. Divine order is portrayed as inviolable, and at the same time the arrogance that stands against it is shown to be punished. Oedipus, Laius and Jocasta, each in their turn, after being privy to their divinely decreed fate, are consciously trying to avert the higher will. Yet the prophecies come true in the end, and the human agents are only worse for their efforts.
The first challenge to the divine order comes when Laius and Jocasta, the king and queen of Thebes, learn through a Delphic oracle that their son is destined to kill the father and cohabit with the mother. The royal couple then decide to kill their first-born. The magnitude of this decision reflects the repugnance with which they receive the prophesy. They value their own lives above the will of the gods, and even above the life of their own child. The baby is tied by the legs and given to a servant to dispatch in the forest."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Sophocles. Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex). New York: Filiquarian Publishing, 2006.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Prophecy in 'Oedipus Rex' (2011, January 13) Retrieved February 24, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Prophecy in 'Oedipus Rex'" 13 January 2011. Web. 24 February. 2024. <>