29 September 2014
Oedipus the King by Sophocles focuses on the unfortunate demise and consequences a prophecy brings in the life of Oedipus. From his birth, Oedipus is fated with eventually murdering his father and marrying to his mother. Sophocles inconspicuously inserts symbolism to let the audience investigate the relation between the symbols and the prophecy. One such symbol, the crossroad, represents the calamitous reunion yet to come between Laius and Oedipus. As the symbol of the crossroad signifies the critical moment of Oedipus's beginning of the prophecy, thoughts arise on what meanings this symbol suggests and its importance on a reader's perspective of the play.
Interestingly, the crossroad represents the crucial point where Laius and Oedipus unknowingly reunite. Crossroads are generally a symbol of points at which crucial choices can decide the future of one's life. We come across a road that diverges into different paths.
These so called paths are not manifestation of roads but are analogical separate decisions each with distinct consequences. The decision to chose which path to take is solely up to the individual. Having knowledge which path is the correct decision to take will remain unknown until he embarks on one of the paths. These notions of crossroads draws parallels "to the place where three roads join" Oedipus comes across. It figuratively represents the moment in which Oedipus can accept his destiny or divert away from the prophecy. Oedipus may have the free will to take charge of his life despite the supposed prophecy. The prophecy may describe Oedipus's life to be full of despair, but the crossroads signify the idea by displaying alternative paths.
It is a curious thing that the crossroad where the number of roads that meet is three. Why three roads? The number three...