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What themes of Oedipus Rex do the two little girls at the end of the play reinforce? 

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dawhit | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted September 4, 2013 at 12:07 PM via web

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What themes of Oedipus Rex do the two little girls at the end of the play reinforce? 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 4, 2013 at 7:51 PM (Answer #1)

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Antigone and Ismene are certainly visible proof of the themes of "Knowledge and Ignorance" and "Choices and Consequences." For, by demanding to know the truth, Oedipus comes vis-à-vis with the living consequences of his choice to kill Laius and later marry Jocasta and is made to acknowledge his terrible sins of refusing the truth and pride. Nevertheless, all the consequences are not negative since the girls also provide Oedipus love and devotion that save Oedipus from his dark depression. According to critic Robert Fagles, 

The connection to reality, to touch and feel his children, gives Oedipus a new strength which sustains him in misery and gives him the courage he needs to go on living, though he is now an outcast.

Speaking to his brother-in-law Creon, Oedipus entreats him to care for his girls and asks if he can touch them once more before he leaves Thebes, for their touch will nourish his spirit,

If I could hold them, just once, I'd think
I had them with me, like the early days
when I could see their eyes (1609-1611).

These final words of Oedipus also underscore his nobility of nature as he acquires new insight in making the choice to live apart from them so that they will not be so much in the shadow of his sins.

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