Oedipus Rex Discussion

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Oedipus begins to doubt himself and his actions with Tiresias’ revelation, and ever since then, he has doubted everything he thought he knew. In Scene 3, he figures out Polybus, who he thought was his father, had died from sickness and old age. He was glad that he was not the one that caused his death and did not grieve in any way. Both Oedipus and his wife are joyful about Polybus’ death because it distracts from the guilt that he was feeling about what could have happened, “Wonderful. But I fear the living woman” (938). He is still worried about his mother, who is still alive, which leads him to find out that Polybus was not his father. Oedipus needs to understand what is going on. For example, in line 959, he says, “What do you mean? In the name of God tell me” His constant need for full understanding of situations is what led to finding out the unbearable truth. His wife adds to his self-doubt by begging him to stay unaware of the truth for his own good, “For God’s love, let us have no more questioning! Is your life nothing to you? My own is pain enough for me to bear” (1001-1006). The Messenger makes him doubtful because she also questions his desire to understand the whole truth. Choragos only has a few lines in the third scene, but he caused some anxiety by being the voice of reason. Oedipus ignores it, by saying “let it come!” (1020).

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The strophes and antistrophes appear at the end of each scene of Oedipus the King. In these, the Chorus basically just states how they feel and what they expect to happen. In Scene 3, the Chorus is very eager for the mystery of who Oedipus’ parents are to be solved, “May the god who heals us lend his aid” (1037). They seem to care about Oedipus’ well being or else they would not care who his real parents were. They do see him a position of authority, but they are older and wiser than he is, so they believe that they know better.

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