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Oedipus The King

             Through the story of "Oedipus, the King," Sophocles illustrates the irony of tragic discovery and fate. The story of Oedipus was well known to the Athenians. Oedipus is the embodiment of the perfect Athenian. He is self-confident, intelligent, powerful, rich, and strong willed. Ironically, these are the very traits, which bring about his tragic discovery.
             Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx. Sophocles used the riddle of the Sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus" life and to further characterize him as a tragic man. The Sphinx posed the following riddle to all who came to obtain the rule of Thebes: "What is it that walks on 4 feet and 2 feet and 3 feet and has only one voice, when it walks on most feet it is the weakest?" Oedipus correctly answered "Man" and became the king of Thebes.
             This riddle is a metaphor for the life of Oedipus. As a child man crawls on his hands and knees this is the four feet to which the Sphinx refers. Also man is at his weakest as a small child. He depends solely on others for his nourishment and well being. Oedipus was the child of Jocasta and King Laius, who was taken to the mountain by a shepherd to be killed so the omen of the god Apollo that Laius" son would kill him and lay with Jocasta, would not come true. Oedipus was the weakest of his life at this point. If .
             it has not been for the shepherd sparing his life and giving him to Polybus to rise as his own Oedipus would have died. .
             Man walks on 2 feet when he has matured. This is a metaphor for Oedipus when he reaches adulthood and leaves Corinth to escape the oracle. Oedipus meets up with a band of travelers and in a rage kills them. Inadvertently, Oedipus has killed his own father. Oedipus then answers the riddle of the Sphinx and becomes king of Thebes. By becoming king of Thebes he marries Jocasta the Queen of Thebes, who his own mother. .
             Many years later after bearing children with Jocasta, a plague kills many of the inhabitants of Thebes.

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