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Oedipus the Detective Analysis Essay (Book Review Sample)


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Trace Oedipus struggles to find the truth as a detective might, asking who, what, when, where, as he seeks information about the murder of Laius, and, later, information about who he is. What kind of evidence does he find most important? What kind of evidence does he miss? Why is this important? Choose 2-3scenes that illustrates his strength as a detective and his weakness


Oedipus the Detective
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Oedipus the Detective
In Sophocles’ play, “Oedipus the King,” the author portrays the protagonist as someone, whose unreluctance to determine the evils plaguing his city, leads to his final downfall. Before coming to Thebes, Oedipus had murdered a man, out of rage, at the crossroads. He came to Thebes in an attempt to escape a horrific prophecy made about him of killing his parents. The Oracle had hinted that he would kill his father and engage in an incestuous marriage with his mother.
His first quality as a detective is evident in the capability to solve a riddle that had bewildered the residents for quite some time. The citizens of Thebes were terrorized by Sphinx, a monster whose extermination depended upon answering its riddles. Oedipus' reputation spread across Thebes and was rewarded with a bride, Jocasta – the queen, who had offered a hand in marriage to whoever solved Sphinx’s puzzle. So the prophecy came to pass as it happened that the man Oedipus had killed at the crossroads, Laius, was his father, and Jocasta, his mother. The two had banished their son based on the prophecy that he would cause anguish to his family. Oedipus was raised in a different kingdom, Corinth, saved by a shepherded
Having succeeded Laius as the king, a great plague struck the city of Thebes in Oedipus’ reign. His brother-in-law, Creon, had learned from soothsayers that the city was plagued for harboring the murderer of the previous king. “I will tell you then, what I heard from the God…” “By banishing a man, or expiation of blood by blood, since it’s murder guilt which holds our city in this destroying storm” CITATION Ber78 \p "15, line 100" \l 1033 (Grene , 1978, pp. 15, line 100). At this point, we see Oedipus exhibit his sleuth-like tendencies, acting on the tip provided by Creon to get into the bottom of the matter. “Who’s this man whose fate the Gods pronounces?”CITATION Ber78 \p "15, line 100" \l 1033 (Grene , 1978, pp. 15, line 100) he asks. In his characteristic self, we see him seek a solution by getting to the root cause of the problem. As with any detective instigating an investigation, he sought a ground for the investigation by contacting a blind prophet, Tiresias, to offer more insights. He pleads and reasons with the prophet to share the information he has when he becomes reluctant. “For God’s sake if you know anything, do not turn from us; all of us kneel to you, all of us here, your suppliants.” CITATION Ber78 \p "24, line 325" \l 1033 (Grene , 1978, pp. 24, line 325). Oedipus pleaded with Tiresias.
Contrary to his expectations, Teiresias blatantly proclaimed that he was the source of the misfortunes, and restated the prophecy he’d heard in Corinth, claiming that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Rebuffing the accusation, Oedipus blindly disregards the prophet and begins his investigation to unravel the murder mystery. He follows on leads, develops theories, and interrogates different witnesses until he lands the truth.
In the plot, Oedipus exhibits his reluctance to consider a one-sided story. He listens to the oracles but also finds interests in the human bit that other characters can grant him the necessary information. In numerous dialog with his brother-in-law, Creon, Oedipus frantically tries to investigate the character to determine his knowledge behind the mystery. As a native of Thebes, he believes that Creon knows everything concerning the historical past of the city. He mercilessly cross-examines the character, which makes him burg under pressure. He gives replies that cast doubt on the value of information given by the oracles. For instance, when requested to name the suspect in Laius murder, Creon’s reply shifts focus on the subject as he begins on the story regarding the former king’s reign, in a means that remotely portrays any relevant information at stake CITATION Ber78 \p "15, line 100" \l 1033 (Grene , 1978, pp. 15, line 100). Oedipus ha

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