What is the irony of the story? (there is more than one main irony example)

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oh, indeed, this play is replete with irony. Oedipus flees Corinth, believing he's escaping the prophecy by running away from his parents, but he doesn't know that Polybus and Merope are his adoptive parents. Oedipus then runs right into Laius, his real father, whom he kills, and is awarded the queen of Thebes, Jocasta, when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx. She, unfortunately, is his mother. So although Oedipus thinks he has thwarted the prophecy, he has actually fulfilled it, yet he doesn't discover this truth for several years. The blind prophet Teiresias can "see" the truth while the sighted Oedipus cannot, another example of irony. Oedipus declares that he will banish the murderer of Laius, even if he is a guest in his own house, and in fact, he has banished himself because he is the killer though he does not know this fact. Eventually when Oedipus does learn the awful truths, he blinds himself, unable to look on the children he has fathered with his mother. Now, ironically, although he can no longer physically see, he can metaphorically see and understand that the gods have the ultimate power and it was useless for him to try to thwart the prophecy.