Examine the significance of this quote from Oedipus Rex:  "And none can be called happy until that day when he carries His happiness down to the grave in peace."

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the Chorus' closing to Sophocles' drama helps to bring some level of comic resolution to a brutally tragic depiction of Oedipus.  It is at this point in the drama when Oedipus has achieved a full transformation from what he was at the start of the drama.  Blind and humble, Oedipus leaves Thebes, a different man than what he was at the start of the drama.  His blindness not withstanding, Oedipus has gained the sense of vision and wisdom to which he was previously blinded earlier.  I think that the significance of the lines is to convey this idea.  The definition of human happiness is most evident here.  Human happiness is seen as the result of how individuals must be able to identify how the fulfillment of consciousness is only seen when promises are fulfilled.  For all of his failures, Oedipus carries out his promise to find the cause of the plague that impacts his people.  His own self- exile and torture represents to what end he carries out this promise.  Never seeking refuge from his own duty, it is this promise that Oedipus carries and through this, peace is evident.  The meaning becomes that individuals must link themselves to something larger than themselves in order to find peace.  Oedipus, the proud ruler who started the drama with so much in way of hubris and a sense of importance, leaves it with the understanding that one must be able to connect their own happiness with something larger, something more binding.  Oedipus' own predicament represents this.