Oedipus Rex Themes at a Glance

Oedipus Rex key themes:

  • Oedipus Rex explores the tragic consequences of knowledge and ignorance: Oedipus seeks knowledge as a solution to the problems plaguing Thebes only to discover that it is his own incest and patricide that have led to the plague decimating the city’s population.

  • Oedipus Rex demonstrates the triumph of the gods' prophecy (fate) over individual will; while Oedipus might try to act against the prophecy of the gods, he is helpless in changing his fate.

  • Oedipus's desire for transparency of information comes into constant conflict with the determination of Jocasta, the priest, Creon, and Teiresias to hide the truth. Oedipus's search for truth and openness is admirable yet also tragic.


Oedipus Rex is the story of a king of Thebes upon whom a hereditary curse is placed and who therefore has to suffer the tragic...

(The entire section is 725 words.)