Oedipus The King: The Allegory Of The Cave

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Imagine a world where everything that one sees, feels, and hears is under the rule of a higher power, a world where one’s actions are meaningless as the end result is up to the discretion of another. This is the world that is described in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This allegory reflects the ancient Greek mood that describes the gods as puppet masters, manipulating all that the Greeks experience. This attitude is prevalent throughout their culture, especially in their dramas. One such drama is Sophocles’ Oedipus. In the play, the titular character Oedipus, king of Thebes, seeks aid for a plague decimating his city. He soon finds out that the plague is due to the unsolved murder of the previous king, and to cure it, he must seek retribution…show more content…
The inciting incident of the play is the plague that sparks the investigation of the previous king’s death. Such an investigation occurs after an oracle decrees that the plague would alleviate if the citizens of Thebes “banish the man [killer of the previous king], or quit slaughter with slaughter/ In cleansing, since this blood rains on the state” (101-102). This reveals that the plague is the product of, or under the influence of, the gods, and that the purpose of the plague is to eventually bring the downfall of Oedipus. If the gods, instead, decide that the plague is not necessary, or the prophecy is not necessary, or that the condition for relief should not end with Oedipus’s banishment, Oedipus’s fate could have been drastically different. The gods, however, do not make decisions rashly. Years before Oedipus became king, before he is born, the gods state that the former king “would be at his son’s [Oedipus’s] hand to die” (698). This statement of intent from the gods reveal that Oedipus is predestined to murder his father, an event that condemns Oedipus to hardship. No matter what choices Oedipus makes through his life, the gods intend for him to murder his father, becoming destitute as a result. The gods have a direct hand in Oedipus’s life through prophecy, removing any agency Oedipus may have over his…show more content…
Oedipus grows up without knowledge of his biological parents because his parents “pierced and tied together his ankles,/ And cast him by others’ hands on a pathless mountain” (693-693). As a result, a chain of people spirit him away to Corinth, making possible every future event in this play by ensuring Oedipus remains ignorant of identity of his true parents. After growing up believing that his parents are from Corinth, not Thebes, an oracle tells Oedipus that “I [Oedipus] should kill the father who begot me” (767). This terrifies Oedipus who does not want to harm his “family.” So he flees Corinth, to Thebes, where his biological parents reside. Because he was influenced by the gods by prophecy and morality, he unknowingly walks into their trap. He does everything that allows him to murder his father and have an incestuous relationship with his mother. Oedipus’s course is set by the gods, through indirect or direct means, Oedipus merely navigates himself to the fated

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