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Oedipus The King

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Oedipus, at the beginning of the play speaks to the young people of Thebes and asks them why they are all there when the city is in need of help. Thebes has been cursed with a plague and the people need their god to tell them what they need to do to save their city. Oedipus sees an old priest bowing at his feet and he asks him to speak for everyone of the reason they are bowing down to him in such a manor. Oedipus says he is ready to help with whatever it takes to help his people. He said he would do anything, be "blind to misery" not to see that these people are in desperate need of his help.

"Oh, my children, the new blood of ancient Thebes" (line1) Oedipus used the phrase "my children" to emphasize that his people mean as much to him as his own children. "The new blood of Thebes", would tell the reader that they are the new young generation of Thebes. As the prologue continues, Oedipus asks his people why they are there on their knees and faces, bowing and begging for such extreme help from him and the city is dire need of help. He says the city "reeks with the smoke of burning incense, rings with cries for the healer and wailing for the dead" (lines 4-5). The city is dying fast, like incense that you burn. It has gotten so bad that it is as you could not see the great city Thebes once was, like thick reeking smoke in a building that is on fire. People are begging to get help from the healer, Apollo, the god of music, poverty, and prophecy. "Here I am myself, you all know me, the world is my fame: I am Oedipus" (lines 7-9). Here, Oedipus is showing his cocky side, he is telling his people that there is nothing that he cannot handle. Everyone knows him, he is the great riddler, and he is the man of all men in so many words. As he tells the priest to speak for everyone, he says "You can trust me. I am ready to help, I'll do anything. I would be blind to misery not to pity my people kneeling at my feet" (lines 13-15). Oedipus shows how concerned he is about his people and lets them know that they can trust him. He said he will do anything to make this better to who and what he love so dearly. He states that he would be "blind to misery" meaning that he wants to be compassionate to misery.

The first fifteen lines in the prologue are important because it sets the tone what has happened to Oedipus's city. The word "blind" is used several times throughout the text in many different ways, and many of them refer to Oedipus. When Oedipus says that he would be blind to misery, he did not think that he would be literally blind. He simply stated that he was compassionate to misery. It could even mean that he was blind to the secret of the truth that he indeed was the murderer of Laius.

In lines 359-375 Tiresias and Oedipus are discussing the condition of the city of Thebes. Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is not going to tell him any information about what he sees in the divine world. He tells Oedipus that only in darkness you will see the light.

Tiresias says, "how terrible- to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees! I knew it well, but I put it from my mind, else I never would have come" (Lines 359-362). He is saying that he sees the truth in his divine way and it is terrible to see the things that lie ahead. There is much pain for Oedipus, and Tiresias sees what is to come. He is telling Oedipus that he only thinks he wants to know the truth; Tiresias had to do what he knew he had to by meeting with Oedipus. Oedipus continues to try to get as much information out of Tiresias, Tiresias tells him, "I fail to see that your own words are so well-timed. I'd rather not have the same thing said of me..." (Lines 368-370). Tiresias literally cannot see, the gods gave him the divine sight to see the future because of his literal eye problem. He knows that Oedipus is



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