Oedipus Rex and the Unfolding of a Tragedy The Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex may be considered in a sense, the first crime drama in the history of Western culture. It unfolds as a mystery of the highest order that folds back in on itself, as a King seeking a killer responsible for the plague ravaging his beleaguered city of Thebes comes face to face with himself. Perhaps the most impressive element of Sophocles’ masterpiece is his novel use of dramatic irony in ways that both prefigure and foreshadow the tragic events that lead to his ultimate undoing. In their article “Ambiguity and Reversal: On the Enigmatic Structure of Oedipus Rex,” Jacques Vernant and Page Dubois fix the first and foremost example of dramatic irony in the play where...The end:
..... act that changed the notion of what was possible with dramatic literature forever. In the various elements of irony that he embedded within his narrative, he turned the mirror of self-examination back onto the audience in a way that no speech by politicians like Pericles ever could. It is a singular achievement whose narrative techniques are often seen repeated even now. It is yet another extraordinary achievement for a play twenty-five hundred years old. Works Cited Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature : Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2008. Vernant, Jean-Pierre, and Page Dubois. "Ambiguity and Reversal: On the Enigmatic Structure of Oedipus Rex." New Literary History 9.3 (1978): 475-501.