Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

Oedipus Rex book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Oedipus develop and change throughout Oedipus Rex?

Oedipus's development over the course of the play, Oedipus Rex, is dramatic. He starts the story as a proud and respected ruler, then ends it as a shame-ridden and humbled outcast.

Expert Answers info

David Alberts, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Kent State University

bookM.A. from West Virginia State University

bookPh.D. from Bowling Green State University


calendarEducator since 2019

write800 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

Everything that happens to Oedipus in Sophocles's Oedipus Rex happens as a result of the will of the gods. The changes in Oedipus's life, from his birth to his tragic downfall and exile, are the result of circumstances forced on him by the gods and by Fate, one of the goddesses who controls human destiny. The seeming changes in Oedipus's mental and emotional state arise less from his own character than from the effects of the forces acting on his life.

Fate is referenced by Oedipus and others in Oedipus Rex, but Fate doesn't appear as character in the play. Instead, Fate works "behind the scenes" to enforce the will of the gods and control the direction of Oedipus's life.

Laius, King of Thebes, is told by the oracle at Delphi that if Laius and his wife, Jocasta , have a child, it would be a male child, and that child would one day kill Laius. Thereafter, Laius and Jocasta abstain from sexual relations, but the will of the gods is not so easily denied, and Laius imposes himself on Jocasta one...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1,644 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseLibrarian


calendarEducator since 2018

write1,276 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,094 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Keri Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write867 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial