Oedipus the King "Ankle Theory" The classification of "Oedipus the King" as a tragedy requires it to meet certain criteria pertaining to the main character, Oedipus. Oedipus must have no control over the situation which he is in, he has to have been harmed by someone for doing nothing or doing what is just, and he must come to an end in which he is utterly lost, or dies without resolving the situation. I believe all three of these criteria can be found represented under a symbol, and that symbol is the piercing of his ankles as a child.
The first of the criteria, having no control over the situation he is in, can be met in several situations, and is symbolized by the ankle piercing because he could not stop his father from piercing his ankles as a baby. Due to the Greeks strong belief in set destiny, the moment the Seer told Oedipus real father what would occur, his life was set in stone.
Try as he might, we know that Oedipus could no more have avoided killing his father than he could breathing. It is an unconscious act that is controlled by a force not in his realm of understanding nor his ability to stop or avoid it.
Next, the criteria of having been harmed for no fault of his own, is one of the major themes of the play, and reiterated by Oedipus' ignorance to his own problem. Though his father may have had a reason to want Oedipus dead, after hearing what the mystic had to say about young Oedipus' future, it was not Oedipus fault that he was destined to do what he was. A second example of this, when Oedipus does in fact kill his father, he is met at the crossroads and...