Oedipus Rex and Antigone

Essay by utkgbro56High School, 11th grade February 2005

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There is no curse on the house of Oedipus. Because of the many terrible things that happen to the members of Oedipus's family, a reader might be led to believe that there is such a curse. However, if that person examines the stories of Oedipus Rex and Antigone more closely, he or she will find that the reason so many tragedies happened to Oedipus's family is not because of some curse, but rather because of one common thread. Each person in the line of Oedipus tries to defy authority in one way or another. Oedipus and Jocasta both defy the authority of the gods by trying to run away from a prophesy of theirs, which results in Jocasta's death and Oedipus's dethroning and downfall. Antigone defies the authority of the king by violating his edict, which results in her death. In Ismene's case, the authority that is defied is that of the moral law, and for that she has to live out her days with guilt and regret.

The authority which Oedipus and Jocasta defy is the same. Both the king and his mother defy the authority of the gods by trying to evade their edict. The edict states that a son would be born to Jocasta who would marry his mother and kill his father, as Oedipus says, "How mating with my mother I must spawn a progeny...having been my father's murderer." (OEDIPUS, Oedipus, 44). When Jocasta hears of this, she attempts to kill the baby Oedipus, thus trying to escape the prophesy. Similarly, when Oedipus, as an unmarried adult, hears that he would kill his father, he runs away from his home town, Corinth, never to return. Oedipus and Jocasta both defy the gods' authority, which in this case comes in the form of running away from...