Nature of Family in Sophocles' Play Oedipus

Topics: Oedipus Rex

Family creates a sense of identity for each individual. In the case of Oedipus the King, identity is a very important concept as it helps one establish one’s integrity. One of the themes of the play is the importance and value of family; this gives the tragedy the sense of ‘not knowing’ as it coincides with any prior knowledge that the characters may have of their fate. Sophocles creates the concept of family as an idea of origins; Oedipus enters a journey in which he tries to find himself, through this he subconsciously is on his way of finding his real family, even though he is not aware of it.

In the play Oedipus Rex, the idea of the parent’s sins being passed onto their offspring is tested in the sense that Jocasta and Laius did not listen to the oracle, and that is why Oedipus ended up the way that he did.

“Character is destiny” was a quote said by Heraclitus, which means that the character or personality of a certain person will affect their fate.

In Oedipus’ case his character was predestined by the acts of his parents prior to him being birth. Jocasta and Laius received strict rules about having children; they did not listen to the oracle, which therefore lead to the death of Laius, which was done by his son, Oedipus. That also led to Oedipus and Jocasta falling in love and having children of their own. Laius and Jocasta were told by the oracle that if they were to have children, that child would kill the father and marry the mother.

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In order to prevent this Jocasta and Laius had someone send Oedipus into the mountains where he would die. However, they weren’t informed that Oedipus was actually given to another royal family, where he would grow up to be the prince of Corinth. Thinking that Oedipus has passed, the couple led their normal life. When Laius was murdered, it was not known that Oedipus was the person who committed the crime as they thought that he has died. Oedipus is aware of the message that the or…

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Nature of Family in Sophocles' Play Oedipus. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

Nature of Family in Sophocles' Play Oedipus
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