In Oedipus at Colonus
In Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles continues Oedipus’ journey of life following his exile from the land of Thebes. Led by his daughter/sister, Antigone, he now is a blind beggar. Through the duration of the play, the former king undergoes a dramatic change from a beaten down wanderer into a figure of divine power. While reading the play, I found myself discovering connections between the play and myself. Some of my view and opinions were challenged, but overall this play was a great read with themes and lessons that proved to be very impactful. The lessons Sophocles stresses enhanced my views and opinions of universal issues of the world today. In the following analysis the book, How to Read Like a Professor by Tomas Foster, will be referred to through his chapters in parenthesis.
While reading this play, I found myself relating to multiple themes. The specific one I genuinely connected to was the relationship between Oedipus and Antigone. I find her loyalty to her dad/brother inspiring. I occasionally work with children who have disabilities and see the type of work it takes another person to keep these kids functioning. Experiencing this helps me somewhat understand what Antigone might be going through. This play also addresses matters that I believe are key virtues in life. These are loyalty, togetherness, helpfulness, and thankfulness. The characteristic that that I was most impacted by was the virtue of family. To be clear, I am referring to the relationship among Antigone, Ismene, and Oedipus (not Oedipus’ sons/brothers). They represent a sense of communion in literature that author Tom Foster stresses in his book (Chapter 2; “Nice to Eat you: Acts of Communion”).
This play embodies many lessons and themes, some of which I, personally, agree with and some I do not. I stood behind the general themes of guilt, truth, and justice. These themes, that were stressed to a great extent, are ones that I stand behind; truth especially. However, the failure of Oedipus to forgive his son, is something I had trouble with. I believe, as a Catholic, that forgiveness is so vital in one’s way of life. Holding grudges takes a mental and physical toll on a person.
In all, while reading, my views and opinions enhanced throughout the play. This became evident through the duration of Oedipus’ life and how he dealt with his fate. He did not accept his fate at first, proven in Oedipus’s question, ” Do you still have hope that the gods will have some regard for me, so that someday i will be saved?”. However’ his act of final acceptance of his prophecy, which was very Christ-like (Chapter 14; “Yes, She’s a Christ Figure, Too”), later followed to redemption, truly communicated to me. This backed up my belief that there are somethings in life, where there’s nothing you can do to fight them, and have to just accept them.
Overall, I believe this play is considered a classic for a reason. The themes it stresses are universal and can be related to in modern times. This specific play, out of The Oedipus Cycle, included many scenes of action, to which kept me entertained for the entirety of the play. The use of symbolism allowed my mind to wander and interpret the many themes of this play (Chapter 12; “Is That a Symbol?”). What appealed to me most; however, was the use of irony. We come to know that Oedipus’ enlightenment ultimately led to his blindness. By his lack of sight, other characteristics are enhanced beyond the level of sight (Chapter 22; “He’s Blind For a Reason, You Know”). I believe this play was very well written and the themes were very impactful. I would definitely read another piece of this genre. I would recommend this play to the audience of readers who enjoy dramas, tragedy, and the power of family.