Oedipus: Sophocles’ Character


The analysis of the literary works of ancient times is the necessary element of the understanding of the culture and the mode of life of people at that time. The plays of Sophocles take an important place in the historic and cultural legacy of Ancient Greece. The plays Oedipus as a King and Oedipus at Colonus represent one of the best tragedies of Sophocles.

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Sophocles was a great dramatist of Ancient Greece. Unfortunately, not all his works were preserved. A number of his plays were lost with the flow of time. However, those which we read today were highly appreciated by the Ancient Greek philosophers.

The analysis

The main idea behind the plays Oedipus as a King and Oedipus at Colonus is that a fat rules the wills of people and predetermines their actions and future. Interestingly, the detailed analysis of the actions taken by Oedipus by Sophocles became the background for the development of the physiological concept by Sigmund Freud. In addition, the synopsis of the plays was used for the plots of several movies.

Oedipus, the heir of Thebes’s throne, is the principal character of both plays. Through the description of his life path, Sophocles shows that people cannot change what was predestined by supernatural power. Oedipus was born to the royal family. The foreteller said to the parents that his son would kill his father and marry his mother. To avoid the embodiment of the prediction the parents decided to kill Lepidus. However, Oedipus was saved and he was adopted by other people. When he grew up he was told about the story of his life. Oedipus decides to leave his home because he is afraid of the destinies of his foster parents.

On the path to his new life, Oedipus is attacked by the horsemen. In the fight, Oedipus kills one of them. Later he would know that the killed man was his father and that he the widow who he married was his mother.

Oedipus pricked out his own eyes. He considered that he could not kill himself because he thought that death is an insufficient penalty for him. He passionately wants to help people and bring benefits to his nation. That is why he made substantial efforts to overcome destiny and to set things right in his state. People did not support him. They considered him a dictator.

The tragedy of Oedipus is that he became the victim of his destiny. The blindness of Oedipus has a rather symbolic meaning. Sophocles wanted to say that even before he picked out his eyes Oedipus could not see the reality. It can be said that Oedipus had been deceived by the fat. When he had a vision he saw an invalid picture of life.

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The plays Oedipus as a King and Oedipus at Colonus influenced essentially the further development of world culture. The unwillingness of Oedipus to surrender despite all troubles he faced in his life shows that even when destiny is unfavorable to you should not give up. The leadership skills helped Oedipus to sustain.


In conclusion, Sophocles was a great dramatist of ancient times. Even thousands of years after their writing the plays make a significant influence on the further development of culture and playwriting in particular. The moral which underlies the two plays is important for modern society as well.

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