Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers

Sophocles

Read real teacher answers to our most interesting Oedipus Rex questions.

When was Oedipus Rex written?

Sophocles's tragic play Oedipus Rex was written in 492.

How are the three types of irony used in Oedipus Rex?

When Sophocles wrote Oedipus Rex, he used three forms of irony; verbal, situational, and dramatic.

Sarcasm is a form of verbal irony when a person says something but it means or is interpreted as something else, usually the opposite. We find verbal irony in the character's speeches. Teiresias and Oedipus have a conversation in which Teiresias uses sarcasm. He refuses to “reveal the troubling things inside me, which I can call your grief as well.” Teiresias is trying to tell Oedipus that he will not divulge that Oedipus is the one who killed Laois. Oedipus does not understand this, and he thinks that Teiresias is withholding information about impending doom.

Another type of irony that Sophocles used was situational or tragic irony which entails the action in the play. Situational irony occurs when an unexpected event takes place. Oedipus runs away from his parents, but ends up getting closer to his real parents. He blames others for killing of Laios, but he finds out he is the one who murdered him.

Dramatic irony happens when the audience is privy to information that a character is not.In the case of Oedipus Rex, the audience is told in the introduction that he is the murderer, but Oedipus himself does not know this and blames others. The irony occurs when he learns that he was the actual murderer.

Sophocles uses irony throughout Oedipus Rex to both amuse and teach. He attempts to instruct the audience about the strength of fate, and that one can never be too sure of oneself. He warns people to be humble because you never know when you could be in the wrong.