Discuss-thoroughly--the role of foreshadowing in the play “Oedipus the King.”

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In answering this question, I would suggest that a closer reading of the text is of critical importance.  The Prologue might be able to give some level of guide in this quest.  Pay attention to why the people have gathered, and the type of people that are present.  Ask how this would impact the resolution of the play.  How it is started is similar to its end.  At the same time, the role of Tiresias is the characterized embodiment of foreshadowing.  His prophecies and the surrounding commentary operate as giving indications of what is to come.  Lines such as "How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that's wise" would indicate as such.  Analyzing how the structure of the play foretells what will happen might be another good step in this process of answering this question.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The opening scene of the play is very memorable. There is a huge plague that is causing destruction on the people. There is suffering and death. There is also religious impurity. In short, there is an ominous feel to it all. I think this setting is forecasting what will happen at the end of the play. As is clear to all, this play does not have a "feel good" ending. As the play unravels, the reader is more and more aware of what will happen. Just as the play starts with death and impurity, so it will end this way. Oedipus is a plague to his people and he must be banished and so he is.

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Oedipus Rex

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