Oedipus the King

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The setting of Sophocles' play Oedipus the King is such an important element that it is almost impossible to imagine the play taking place anywhere else. Were the events of this play to take place elsewhere, the character of Oedipus would confront them much differently and perhaps be a much different person.


The simple geography of the land is the most obvious part of any setting and in this play that common element contributes to the tragic consequences that befall Oedipus. Oedipus meets Laius at a crossroads that is not only metaphorical, but geographical as well. Had Oedipus not been traveling upon that particular path at the particular moment, he could perhaps have physically avoided the confrontation that leads to murder. Indeed, even had this not been avoided, had Oedipus lived in a geographical area that was different, perhaps he could have jumped aboard a ship and traveled farther away from his date with destiny; or he might have been able to travel to an exotic and foreign land which would further undermine his ability to live out the curse. Although it is a simple matter, geographical consequences factor into the tragic spin of Oedipus' life.
The geography plays in partnership with the times in which Oedipus lived to forestall his ability to successfully escape his tragic fate. Oedipus' tale is an ancient one and it has extended into contemporary time, but rather through the psychological strain of the Oedipus complex than as a plot mechanism. ...
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