Sophocles’ masterpiece “Oedipus the King” is a satisfying Tragedy. A relationship between Sophocles’ masterpiece and oxymorons or moronic phrases is apparent, but to what extent are the two relatable to one another? Definitely the comparability is surprising. Oxymorons are used throughout the play, but the connection is more than innate comprehension. Both are contradictive and provoke intrigue and curiosity. Oxymorons are contradictive; the terms by which they are formed deny one another. When taken out of context such as “paid volunteer”, they often make little sense. “Oedipus The King” is also arguably contradictive.
Sophocles applies Socratic philosophy from Socrates; the life that is unexamined is not worth living. Oedipus is determined to know the truth of his origins; it is obvious that he cannot live with the agony of not knowing. He feels that he must examine his life (the truth of his origins), or his life will be filled with the misery of mystery therefor – “not worth living. ” He expresses this by saying Let it burst! Whatever will, whatever must! I must know my birth, no matter how common it may be- I must see my origins face-to-face, She perhaps, she with her women’s pride may well be mortified by my birth.
But I, I count myself the son of Chance, the great goddess, giver of all good things – I’ll never see myself disgraced. She is my mother! And the moons have marked me out, my blood brothers, one moon on the wane, the next moon great with power. That is my blood, my nature – I will never betray it, never fail to search and learn my birth (602). However, the more he examines his life the worse it becomes; many would say even eventually not worth living. It is easily agreeable that in Oedipus’s situation he would have been better off not knowing.
Both oxymorons and Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” are intriguing. Sophocles brilliantly ignites curiosity. Sparknotes. com says, “Even though the conclusion is given away in the beginning, the audience is still interested” (SparkNotes Editors). This is so because humans are instinctively curious when, especially when intrigued. Oxymorons and oxymoronic phrases also ignite intrigue. Take Shakespeare’s famous quote for example, “Parting is such a sweet sorrow. ” This too cleverly provokes intrigue. Shakespeare addresses parting with its connotation sorrow, this establishes relativeness.
He adds the term sweet, which has the connotation happy. This instinctively ignites intrigue. Last and most amusing, the protagonist of “Oedipus the King”, Oedipus, is portrayed as a witty, intelligent man; he is the only man who is able to solve the evil Sphinx’s riddle. He is also portrayed as unwise, imprudent, and injudicious. The term oxymoron derives from the Greek words oxys, which translate as sharp, and moros which translates as foolish. Sharp can also be used to describe Oedipus in reference to his intelligence, and foolish can be used to describe his ignorance.
Therefore the origins of the term “oxymoron” derive directly from terms that accurately describe Oedipus. The Title “Oedipus the King” also translates to lame king, which is also an oxymoron. Connotations of both oxymorons and “Oedipus the King” are identical. Sophocles cleverly plays upon human emotions to entertain. Ironically, Tragedy is entertaining. He exaggerates common issues among people to emphasizing morals. The brilliance of Sophocles is predictable, but still exceptional. The degree of parallel the play and oxymorons are capable of reaching is thought – provoking.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King The Norton Anthology of World Literature Eds. Peter Simon et al. 1 vols. New York: Norton, 2009. 573-614. Print.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Oedipus Plays.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 29 Nov. 2011.