What is the irony in Oedipus's statement: "until now I was a stranger to this tale, as I had been a stranger to the crime"?

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There are many layers of irony in this statement; they are mostly situational and dramatic irony.

The statement is ironic because while Oedipus hadn't known the tale, and hadn't known the specifics of the crime, he had been involved in it, and so isn't really a stranger to it. It is doubly ironic because he did the crime because he was a stranger to his real father when he met him, and trebly ironic (the point of greatest dramatic irony) because the Athenian audience would know his story, and know that he was still a stranger to the whole tale--that he didn't yet know all of it.

 

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