Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

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What is the major situational irony in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex?

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think an argument can be made that the major ironies of Oedipus Rex are dramatic ironies more than situational ones. Keep in mind, the story of Oedipus would have been famous among the Ancient Greeks, and so ancient audiences would have been well aware of the intricacies of Oedipus's own history and tragedy. They would have known that Oedipus murdered his father and married his mother long before Oedipus himself learns that truth, and this, I would suggest, is the chief ironic tension that hangs over the play.

In any case, rather than reiterate what has already been written by earlier contributors, one example of Situational Irony I find quite interesting is the play's use of blindness as a motif. When Oedipus is investigating the murder, he summons Tiresias, the famous blind prophet of Greek mythology. The situational irony of this scene lies in the realization that it is the blind man who has the clearest vision as to the reality of Oedipus's own life, about which Oedipus himself is blind.

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