Analyze the quote below from Oedipus Rex.
What is the significance/importance of this quote? What does it mean?
"Then I shall begin again and make it plain
It was quote worthy of Phoebus, and worthy of you,
To turn our thoughts back to the murdered man,
And right that you should see me join the battle
For justice to our land and to the god.
Not on behalf of any distant kinship,
It's for myself I will dispel this stain,
Whoever murdered him may also wish
To punish me--and with the selfsame hand."
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One of the major distinguishing features of this amazing play is the way that practically almost every line is full of dramatic irony concerning the way in which Oedipus sets out on a kind of detective quest where he is unaware that it is actually himself who is the criminal. This quote you have highlighted is a perfect example of how this operates, as Oedipus publicly declares his intention to find the man responsible for the death of the former king of Thebes, and ironically states that he does this to protect himself. Note how he utters the fear that the murderer might wish to punish Oedipus himself.
Such a quote therefore highlights the way in which Oedipus is clueless about the impending discovery and the tragedy that this unveiling of his own involvement in the present calamity faced by Thebes. The dramatic irony is sharp and biting when Oedipus says that his motive for finding the murderer is to stop himself being harmed and punished, when we know that the very process of finding out the identity of the murder will be the ultimate undoing of Oedipus.
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