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Oedipus Rex: Pleasure and Disquietude

            The entire concept of Oedipus Rex is enough to leave a sour taste in a reader's mouth. Murder and incest are the main topic of this play, which on the surface seem as an odd source of entertainment. In present times, when one hears a news report about incest or murder, they do not enjoy hearing about it. In fact, it usually incites disgust. Contrary to this, however, Oedipus Rex is one of the most highly regarded plays in literary history. Sophocles's ability to reconcile the reader's moral values with dramatic irony has made him one of the greatest writers of all time. The mix of pleasure and disquietude create the volatile emotions that make Oedipus Rex a legendary play.
             Before the play even begins, Oedipus murders his father. However, when presented with this information the audience does not look down upon Oedipus nor do they regard him a murderer. They, instead, pity him for his ironic twist of fate; in attempting to avoid his prophecy he fell right into it. In his own defense, on his way to Thebes, Oedipus murders a man that insulted him. He had no idea that the man was actually his father. Nor did he realize that by losing his temper he accidentally set in action his destiny to murder his father and marry his mother. Oedipus's fate is actually what allows the audience to accept all his wrongs. His prophecy is unavoidable; therefore he cannot help that which he does. he dramatic irony of this event actually incites the reader's interest.
             The audience's main conflict between pleasure and disquietude comes in the form of Oedipus's incestual relationship with his mother Iocaste. The audience is forced to make a subconscious moral judgment on Oedipus's transgression. For most, although they do not agree with this on its most basic level, they come it accept for the sake of the story. They are immediately interested in the resolution to this tragic twist of events. They allow Oedipus's behavior, because they know he would not act in that manner if he knew Iocaste was his blood mother.

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